Peter Tielemans Head of Marketing Communications, Sappi Fine Paper Europe

New media may be changing our lives and the marketing landscape, but printed products will always have a special power to enchant and persuade, set apart by their tactile qualities

The world of media has undergone a revolution over the past 20 years, with so many more ways to influence people on a very personal level. Mobile phones, PDAs and the Internet have widened the media arena, but print continues to be as powerful as ever, with many top advertising and design groups using it as part of impactful integrated marketing campaigns. So why does print still have such an edge?

The Power to Provoke:

Print has an unrivalled power and holds a special place in all our lives. It can evoke every emotion without moving or talking. An e-blast or an SMS broadcast is quick and cost-effective, and has a very important role, but the printed page brings so much more to life.

Some of the most remarkable advertising campaigns highlight what can be done with paper and printing techniques. A recent print campaign by creative duo Vera Stankovic and Marina Bucar from Slovenia – which received grant funding last year as part of our Ideas That Matter initiative, which enables those in advertising to develop creative paper-based fundraising or awareness campaigns for charities – was designed to improve awareness of domestic violence and literally stopped people in their tracks. The campaign featured a sticker cut out as a woman’s figure in bright yellow, with the text saying ‘1 in 5 women is being trampled on’. This was then stuck on the pavement. This bold approach worked because of the print medium – it was meant to be thought-provoking, and it was meant to invade your space.

We’re used to being communicated with every second of the day, but how much will we recall? How much will prompt an emotional response or provoke us into taking action? Designers face the tough challenge of winning ‘mind share’ and are rising to this challenge through the use of big ideas that work hard on many levels, online and offline.

The Direct Approach:

A printed mailer starts an intimate one-to-one dialogue in which the brand converses directly with the recipient. It’s one of the few marketing media that gets truly physical. With printing techniques like gold foil, metallic ink and embossing, you can hold it, interact with it, touch it and keep it, and with innovations like scented inks, even smell it.

A joint report by the National Retail Federation, retail consultant JC Williams Group and BizRate.com indicates that retailers employing multiple channels sell more per customer than single-channel retailers – 51 per cent of online shoppers who received a retailer’s catalogue looked for something online that they had first seen in the catalogue. Print has the power to shape opinion and now, more than ever, we have the tools to create maximum sales impact.

Connecting with Consumers:

Magazines have a special ability to connect with consumers. At the heart of this connection is the passion and commitment readers have for their favourite titles. When you consider that the minimum average reading time for a magazine is 25 minutes, and add to this the fact that readers come back to the title time and time again, then it’s small wonder that magazine advertising still delivers a great return on investment.

When Reebok UK developed a print campaign to coincide with the London Marathon which featured an eight-page supplement called Inspired To Run, published in key magazine titles, almost 2000 new runners registered to find out more about Reebok’s products. This targeted approach connected with runners and inspired them to interact with the brand.

Bringing Brands Alive:

Food that seems so alive I can eat it. A pool so inviting I could dive into it. I am not alone in soaking up imagery, and printed materials have great power to make sensory connections.

Newer reproductive screening techniques facilitate the move towards exact photographic reproduction, combining with the tactile senses to create tangible and emotional responses. This requires highest quality coated papers, allowing absolute colour fidelity so consumers can select ‘real’ items. High-value decisions continue to demand time and attention – varnishing and finishing techniques can set a brand apart and address counterfeiting.

Global brands – especially in the luxury market – require reproduction consistency across the world. Consistent paper substrates like Magno help meet this need. Sappi’s Tempo paper is designed to reduce the need for protective coatings. The benefits are not only visual – the result is also a smoother touch and more natural feel that will further enhance the brand experience.

Life With Print:

I recommend anyone interested in the evolving use of print media to get hold of free copies of our Life with Print books. They are published each year and are full of up-to-the-minute trends, facts and figures to support the communications industry.

They have featured direct mail, brochures and catalogues, Internet integration and corporate communications, and the next in the series, out in May 2009, will be about integrating digital natives and digital immigrants in the media mix and will cover social e-networks and viral marketing.

These books take an unbiased view, but reinforce our belief that there is a powerful role for print, for now and forever more.

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