By John Blyth, Marketing and Communications Manager, Commercial & Industrial Printing, Ricoh Europe
Trust, Tactility and Intelligence – Why Print Works
The Power of Print seminar in the City of London last month, organised by Two Sides, Print Power and the BPIF (British Printing Industries Federation) carried a strong thread through the day. Trusted, tactile, intelligent – why print works.
A stellar cast of speakers began with Dave Birss who was a creative director at some of Britain’s leading advertising agencies before starting his own business: Right Thinking, focused on the idea generation process.
His animated and highly engaging presentation explored the advances in technology and the consequences for humans’ ability to make their own decisions. While doing so he touched upon “The Google effect” where information that is read on a screen is less well absorbed and remembered than information taken from a printed source. Dave summed it up by saying: “You remember better in print than in pixels”.
If you didn't pick up Dave's book, or would like additional copies to share with colleagues, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
John Brown Media
Next, the broadcaster, author and editor, William Sitwell, well known as judge on the BBC’s hugely popular Masterchef TV show. He shared some compelling data on the link between supermarket magazines around the world and buying habits.
The propensity to buy among readers can be as much as five times higher than among non-readers. It’s because of the “visceral connection to print” many people form, William claimed.
With print, he said “you can cuddle it, you can take it to bed. You can own print.”
Research was used by Abba Newbery, marketing director of Lumen Research, to reinforce the case for print in advertising campaigns.
The world’s largest eye tracking panel has demonstrated that people look at print ads for a lot longer than they do at digital ads. Furthermore, this superior “dwell” time means greater engagement and therefore advertising recall and response.
Abba’s plea to the audience was: “Be confident about print because print kills digital on these metrics”.
Royal Mail MarketReach
Next on, Seirian Hanner, who heads up the insight team at Britain’s Royal Mail MarketReach, explained how the MarketReach research programme is showing how many items of direct mail are shared with others, picked up, looked at, handled, or read far more than just once, suggesting that direct mail makes a lasting impression.
The research is helping to uncover the true role mail plays in today’s multichannel world. Seirian asserted that “mail and digital make a close and perfect partnership”.
Jaguar Land Rover UK
Ashley Masefield of Jaguar Land Rover gave the brand owner’s perspective, explaining how the humanisation of a brand is a vital differentiator. And Jaguar Land Rover uses print to achieve this – specification brochures are accessed online but to communicate the authenticity and personality of the marques, print is the medium.
Magazines are massively popular among customers, who enjoy their warmth and tactility.
The renowned photographer Clive Booth provided a glimpse of the extraordinary portfolio of photographs he created on the Scottish island of Islay and with the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) operating around its shores.
He has a deep love of print, believing that high quality print is able to bring out the full depth of photographs.
Why have agencies and brands mistakenly fallen out of love with print, and what needs to be done to relight the fire asked Dino Myers-Lamptey of MullenLowe Mediahub media agency. He stated that fundamental disruption is a commonplace phenomenon, that the print industry is just one of many that that have been affected, caused by global competition and innovators like Spotify, Amazon, Apple, Google and Netflix.
Print though has many strengths and can prosper. While the use of digital ad blockers is increasingly widespread, print can organise information, tell stories, take the reader on a journey, command attention and provide context better than digital media.
Further, Dino added, it is read by people not bots. And long term research shows that it is becoming ever more effective over time.
Is print doomed to go the way of obsolete technologies, supplanted by more modern, immediate digital media? Or does the revival of Polaroid cameras, cycling and vinyl records show that reality is more nuanced than the narrative of new technologies consigning old to history?
Ed Gillespie, co-founder of Futerra, one of the first specialist sustainability communications agencies, talked about waves of creative destruction that unleash new technologies and new lifestyles.
He also focused on how sustainability makes print a business with a purpose – and the future belongs in part to purposeful businesses in what Ed called the Meaningful Economy.
We are entering the post digital world according to the last speaker, music journalist, writer and publishing industry analyst who has launched several successful British magazines, David Hepworth.
The paper and print products that flourish in this new environment will have adapted to meet the needs of our changing habits.
David sees a bright future for print.
It is no exaggeration to say that this diverse range of speakers from many different disciplines and sectors shared a single standpoint. That the innate and inimitable qualities of print mean that it “works” and will continue to work as an integral component of the communications landscape of tomorrow. Operating in close conjunction with digital media. I left the historic hall where the seminar took place inspired just like, I am sure, the other seminar delegates.