Paper based communication

Posted in: News

Advantages of paper based communication

Humankind has communicated through printed messages since primitive times. Symbols were developed during the Stone Age, and used in cave paintings. The oldest known cave paintings are within Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave in south-eastern France, and are considered the first known masterpiece of humanity.

Technology is so deeply integrated in our society that we cannot escape it: we must embrace it. As humankind moves increasingly to digital-first formats, the art of paper-based communication, is, it seems destined, for the annals of history.

Letter writing is the stuff of classic novels. Postcards are passé. Royal Mail reports a continuing downward trend in written communication. In the period 2020-21, Royal Mail delivered 7.79 billion pieces of post. This represents a 54% decrease in the period 2011-2012.

Digital communication may be cheaper and faster than ever before, but paper communication still packs a punch. It remains a vibrant way to communicate, and brings advantages for those who take the time to create paper-based content. Read on, to learn how paper-based communication can make your message more effective.

Engage the senses

The smell of a book is a complex bouquet of volatiles organic compounds (VOCs). Old books often give off notes of flowers, or almond, or vanilla (lignin), as the book ages and the chemical compounds break down. New books smell of the ink, paper, and treatments used to create them.

print for the senses

We’re particularly proud of the brochure we created for luxury travel company Carrier. We infused the pages of this high quality story-book format brochure with a fragrance that evokes memories of exotic destinations as the pages are turned.

In a 2021 survey conducted by Oxfam, 25% of adults surveyed said they like the smell of a book. Aroma creates connections, and awakens memories.

In the same survey, more than 40% of adults surveyed said they like the feel of books (over e-readers) in their hands.

Dr Elena Touroni, consultant psychologist working with Oxfam, said: “People prefer… physical books because they offer something more tangible and grounded. There’s something that can feel more “permanent” …over digital formats.”

Certainly, tangibility creates a stronger psychological response in the reader than digital can. Paper-based communication has the flexibility to offer touch marketing techniques, such as textures and finishes to your products. Touch-based marketing causes more brain activity in areas tied to value and desire. Paper beats digital when it comes to touch, every time.

Printed copy is far easier on the eye than digital, and here comes the science bit to prove it. Digital content causes more interference with blink rate – we blink up to 50% less – and this increases dry eye symptoms. Glare from a digital screen tires eyes more quickly than paper versions. In short, digital reading leads to greater discomfort.

The noise of paper changes according to the dimensions and thickness of the sheet. Older books have thin pages, which whisper as they are turned. Contemporary printed pages slap against each other when flicked through. Heavy covers sigh when they are closed. Paper based communication stirs every sense, and that gives marketeers a distinct advantage over digital communication.

Seeing is believing

Despite the migration to electronic format, neuroscience research shows that paper based content connect with our brains better than digital.

A recent study performed by Canadian neuro-marketing firm TrueImpact proved that physical marketing better engages memory than digital media. Using conventional questionnaires, eye-tracking, and high resolution EEG brain measurement, TrueImpact evaluated three key metrics: Ease of understanding (cognitive load), persuasiveness (motivation), and how long content was looked at (attention).

The results speak for themselves. Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process. This suggests that it is easier to understand, and easier to remember.

Time will tell

The study showed that participants were 70% better at recalling brand information from direct mail pieces than digital ads. This demonstrates a higher emotional response to paper communication, which in turn improves memory of its content.

Paper based communication has a higher review time. If content is engaging, it will be harder for the recipient to disengage. It’s also more likely to be looked at again than a digital communication.

Paper does have its limitations. It can’t engage viewers with audio or video, and viewers process digital ads more quickly than paper ads. However, it does not require a special gadget like a phone or computer to access it, which means it can be read immediately, and anywhere.

If you’re ready for effective paper based communication, we’re ready to speak to you! Call us on 01625 870000: our friendly print and media specialists are just a phone call away.

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