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Top 5 ways print media can boost your brand awareness

“Print is dead! It’s all about digital media marketing now!”

I bet you’ve heard this phrase a lot in the last five years. It is true that we have digital media in our lives and it’s here to stay, but ditching print altogether is a little shortsighted - as many have found out in recent years, kickstarting a resurgence in print. We love digital media, but we think both print and online should rub along nicely together and it shouldn’t be one or the other. We have seen a number of businesses and brands who diverted budgets away from print to online some years ago turn their attention back to print to compete in a very overcrowded online marketplace. Just last week, the bosses at WHSmith said that sales of paper books are on the rise as many ditch the KoBo or Kindle. We are, it seems, sentimentally attached to paper and it is a factor that digital cannot compete with. 

There really is something wonderful about print.  

Ok, straight away you’re probably thinking that this all seems very biased, considering we’re a print company. We’re not saying that digital marketing is a waste of time, certainly not, we’re saying that traditional print marketing still offers a range of benefits that – to ignore them – would be a big loss for your business or brand. So, here are our top 5 reasons why print should remain in your marketing plan and how print can boost your brand awareness.


1. Print holds authority

Traditionally, print publications have been the home of marriages, deaths and huge announcements. The phrase ‘hitting the front page’ often means it’s big news that we should all pay some degree of attention to. This doesn’t stop with just newspapers. Any sort of magazine publication holds some sort of authority, as it makes people think “money has been spent on this, it must be worth reading!” A printed product catalogue, company newspaper or book - anything along these lines are all great ways to boosting your brand awareness through authority.

I recently came across this great statement that might help prove my point here. If print media is dead, why do the big companies use it for apology adverts? 

Facebook apology advert 

(NEIL HALL, EPA-EFE)

Kfc newspapper apology

(YahooNews, 2018) 

Oh, and there is the issues of “fake news” which is largely associated with online activity. Online articles these days use a lot of…questionable sources…to get their particular message across. However, it is of a wider acceptance that the sources used in a printed publication are solid sources. And of course, there are publishing rules in play. YouGov polls this year have found that “74% of respondents agree that they trusted the news and information in their local newspaper”. (Thedrum.com, 2018)

Having your materials printed can instil a certain amount of credibility to your brand. Credibility and authority are very powerful ways to increase your brand awareness effectively.

2. Digital is free (kind of). So, it’s everywhere…

Anyone can create a website and start generating content for the masses. It can be done for free and the only cost is the creators time. However, this does mean digital content is absolutely everywhere! On average, people see 1300 commercial messages a day but only recall 3. Print puts you directly in front of someone - especially when this is direct mail. You have a far greater chance of getting some attention when print is delivered directly to your target audience. 

Also; I think some people forget how people end up online anyway. A lot of people see something in print or on TV and that creates this ‘micro moment’ that drives them online. For example, an article in the local newspaper might lead them to search for something specific online - for example, an event in their city or an advert for a sofa. A TV advert for a holiday will spark interest in holidays and lead to a search for “holidays to the Maldives”. Not everything starts with a Google search. Interest needs to be sparked from somewhere. Print is one touchpoint on a journey a customer has with your business and brand. 

3. Young people love print

There is a huge assumption that young people are all online and they would dismiss print but actually, this perception is wrong. Royal Mail have said that the biggest successes in Direct Mail campaigns are by brands targeting Millennials. They say this is because receiving anything by mail was unusual for this demographic, so they paid more attention when something dropped through their letterbox. Other surveys and reports suggest there is much more to this connection with print than the novelty factor. One survey found that more than half of Millennials ignore digital advertising, preferring instead to pay greater attention to direct mail and print advertising. The report also suggests that more than half of Millennials made a purchase because of something they read about in printed media. However, the attraction to print goes much further than advertising; not only are these younger generations apparently seeking respite from digital content, they actual consider print media as more trustworthy and authoritative and report a stronger emotional connection with content delivered in print – a trend that is no doubt set to continue with the heightened awareness of fake news delivered largely via digital channels.

4. The emotional connection

Print creates a more valuable emotional experience and I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this. Most people I know would rather receive a birthday card in the post than a social media message. And a handwritten letter is surely much more valued than an email? Emotional connections are largely made by appealing to our senses; the ability to see, touch and even smell printed media gives it a head start over digital. Imagine a restaurant that handed you a shabby sheet of A4 paper instead of a well-designed menu, you’d immediately question the quality of the food and the people making it. Touch and feel play a big part in our perception and increasingly businesses are returning to print and paying much more attention to how their collateral feels rather than just how it looks.

5. Context in location

This leads me nicely onto my final point. Print has the advantage of having some context in its physical placement. Got a poster that advertises a new STI clinic? Putting it up in the toilets has the potential to increase your brand awareness because you’re advertising a service that could immediately affect the action they’re doing at that precise moment in time.  A huge poster put up in the London underground that is a child saying, “I’ll be 6 feet deep underground as well soon” with the ‘don’t drink and drive logo’ would not work as a facebook advert seen at 7:30pm whilst watching the X Factor.  It won’t make you think in the same way because it will be totally out of context. 

Print can open up countless opportunities for your brand. Talk to us about how we can optimise your print marketing strategy and how print can work with your digital and online marketing plans. We have decades of experience under our belt so please get in touch! 

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