Trust & Tactility: The Power of Print in a Digital World

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April 8, 2018



Time to read: 4 minutes
The Power of Print - Hook Research

How strong is the power of print in a primarily digital world?

That’s the question Hook Research were tasked with answering for Canopy Media – the UK’s biggest media inserts sales house.

In this project, we spoke with senior figures across a number of industries – from media companies like the Guardian, Time Inc UK, John Ayling & Associates, and All Response Media as well as consumer brands like Mahabis and Easylife – to shed light on the role of print in their sales, marketing, and advertising strategies in the UK.

Want to learn more? Check out the video of our findings below!

What is the power of print?

‘At Canopy Media we sincerely believe in the power of print, and feel it is incumbent upon us to protect our main market. To prove its effectiveness, and to challenge common misperceptions, we commissioned research with industry experts to explore their attitudes to print and the power of the medium going forward. This was a key project for us, and the engaging video Hook produced is currently the centerpiece of the Canopy website, reinforcing the power of print in a digital world. We’re incredibly pleased with Hook’s design-led approach to research (and their quick turnaround!) – we’ll certainly be using this video to drive our marketing moving forward!’  – Jenna Walcott, Marketing Director, Canopy Media

Print is proven media

“Media professionals have never had more choice and we always chase innovation. And sometimes you chase innovation at the expense of what might be proven” – Nick Hewat, Commercial Director, the Guardian

In a period dominated by smartphones, tablets, and e-readers it may be easy to believe the adage that ‘print is dead’ – but print still has a very important place in the modern media diet.

Print products have been a staple of the media industry for hundreds of years, and for this reason they are erroneously perceived to lack the spark of newer digital products. Yet our experts argue that the medium’s longevity is also a sign of its quality: unlike newer media formats, print is proven media with a long and successful track-record.

Advances in paper technology further challenge the staid perceptions of the medium. Innovations in the print space – from developments in paper stock and texture through to the integration of new tech (like augmented reality) – have created novel, exciting experiences for print consumers.

Moving beyond the screen

“Your ability to actually grab and own that audience and get your message across at some level is much easier if someone’s holding something… It’s not just merely the content. There’s something about that physical property that’s hugely important”Sam Finlay, CRO, Time Inc. UK

Print’s tactility should not be overlooked.

In a digitally dominated landscape, physical media products are becoming increasingly rare. Used to disembodied blogs or transient videos, consumers are paying more attention to those paper objects that end up in their hands – they’re pausing, lingering, and investigating these (slightly) novel creations.

And this tactility is associated with another important quality of print media… trust.

The Power of Print - Hook Research

Trust is implicit in the print medium

“We have some struggles with online. It’s a lot harder to gain that trust of the user” Richard Tudor, Account Manager, John Ayling & Associates

Trust and authenticity have been the major buzzwords of 2017 and 2018 so far.

Over the past year, we at Hook have spent a great deal of time exploring what these qualities look like in modern media products: our blogs and conference panels have attempted to shed light on how different forms of media can fulfill audiences’ needs for honest-feeling content.

In part, this need has been fueled by consumers’ increasing awareness of the heightened artifice in online spaces – they are becoming more aware that a highly curated Instagram account may only have a tenuous relationship to the actual life of its creator.

Fake news has exacerbated this issue: in the digital space, it’s quick and easy to create and distribute erroneous content (maliciously or otherwise). An article can be written, advertised to thousands of people on Facebook, and removed again in the space of an afternoon.

Print doesn’t work like that. Our experts point out readers’ perceptions that print takes time and work – writers, artists, photographers, editors, printers (depending on the product) all touch and work on these creations – and with these qualities comes trust.

So where does print go from here?

We’re excited to see how the medium grows and changes over the coming months and years. Do you want to learn more about the power of print, and how your brand can develop and reach new audiences in this space?

Get in touch with us today and let us take you out for a coffee and a chat. And be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn!

*This research was conducted in conjunction with Altheo Insight.


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