Haptically Speaking, Why Print Works So Well

Haptics – you know it as that satisfying little bzzzt you feel on your phone or your tablet that lets you know your input was received. In a digital device, it’s absolutely not necessary for operations, so why include it?

The answer is because it adds a layer of communication between us and our devices that render the experience more human and relatable.

“You may wonder why, in today’s digital world, marketing communicators should care about haptics,” writes Pat Friesen, a multi-channel direct response copywriter, in Target Marketing.

“As it turns out, there are plenty of reasons starting with this: According to neuroscientist/haptics hotshot Dr. David Eagleman, ‘Human touch represents a powerful form of non-verbal communication,’” Friesen explains.

Dr. Eagleman worked with the team at Sappi to more fully understand the role of human touch in marketing. Their collaboration resulted in the report “A Communicator’s Guide to the Neuroscience of Touch,” and explores how touch impacts how people perceive brands.

Friesen shares some of the findings from the report, and it strengthens our belief that print is a powerful medium. More than half of the brain is devoted to sensory processing, much of that focusing on touch. As Friesen notes, “my words on paper are likely to get extra attention from my reader’s brain.”

Touch also triggers reactions. “You feel differently about what you touch. You begin to feel you own it,” Friesen continues. They also confirm what we’ve learned before, that people place a higher value on what they can touch.

For brands, this translates into more effective messaging for your campaign. It also can translate into positive feelings about your brand itself.

“What you touch shapes what you feel, and this influences perceptions —consciously and subconsciously — related to what you read,” Friesen notes. “Savvy paper companies, printers and designers who understand print are capitalizing on this.” (In fact, we can thank the digital age for helping to make print better.)

The more you know about the role of neuroscience in marketing, the more obvious it becomes that not all media are created equal. Me, I get a little bzzzt out of print, every time.