The growth of fast food and the plethora of quick and easy meal so­lu­tions has spawned a com­pet­ing move­ment for slow food, which is fo­cused on qual­ity and the deeper ex­pe­ri­ence as­so­ci­ated with cook­ing and eat­ing. These same prin­ci­ples are echoed in a growi


Over the last decade, the per­va­sive­ness of dig­i­tal has gone to another level. There’s a de­vice and/or a medium to help us chat, so­cialise with friends, find part­ners, busi­ness net­work, sleep, ex­er­cise, eat, keep up with the news, watch our favourite pro­grammes and pretty much ev­ery­thing we may want to do in life. This has changed the way we con­sume those com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rected to us. It’s had a big im­pact on the com­mu­ni­ca­tion in­dus­try, and we, like most de­sign and brand­ing agen­cies, have learnt to adapt, ap­ply­ing our ex­per­tise across both dig­i­tal and print chan­nels.

For many clients, go­ing dig­i­tal is about num­bers. For them fre­quency and reach is ev­ery­thing and dig­i­tal al­lows their spend to go fur­ther. For oth­ers, com­mu­ni­cat­ing dig­i­tally is about the au­di­ence. To get heard you must go where those who’ll lis­ten are, and with many groups – like youth – that place is on­line and so­cial.

For some clients, the dig­i­tal move is about bet­ter align­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion ex­pe­ri­ence with the prod­uct or ser­vice be­ing of­fered. Dig­i­tal medi­ums al­low sound and move­ment and this can be bet­ter suited for ex­press­ing emo­tions or driv­ing per­cep­tions and be­hav­iour that are led from the heart.

But for many of our clients, we’ve found the move to dig­i­tal has been driven by the sense that e-mar­ket­ing is cheaper than tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing. And while in most cases it is true, the sac­ri­fice in cut­through and ef­fec­tive­ness means that dig­i­tal doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily de­liver bet­ter bang for buck.

And so, we are see­ing a bit of a move back to that slow com­mu­ni­ca­tion form, print. Whether it’s nos­tal­gia or per­sonal pref­er­ence, it’s a slow move­ment I’m happy to see build mo­men­tum. Ev­ery day my email in­box (like my brain) is full but still try­ing to squeeze more and more in ev­ery minute. Most emails get a quick glance over be­fore be­ing phys­i­cally dis­carded (some­times with­out open­ing) or left for­got­ten, over­whelmed by the vol­ume of more re­cent emails. My so­cial me­dia feeds move so fast that un­less some­thing is of real in­ter­est, or get­ting a lot of re­peated at­ten­tion, it’s likely to get the ab­so­lute min­i­mum of mine.

In this world of in­for­ma­tion over­load, how do mar­keters get no­ticed? There are ways, but that’s a sub­ject for another day. One thing we’ve been telling clients to con­sider is go­ing back to phys­i­cal medi­ums. A good ex­am­ple of this is staff or client news­let­ters. They of­ten get marked for later read­ing, but the re­al­ity is, they never do. With less phys­i­cal mail com­ing through our in-trays, there is an im­me­di­ate cut-through ad­van­tage in hav­ing your au­di­ence phys­i­cally open your com­mu­ni­ca­tion, hold it in their hands, scan it with their eyes, mak­ing a con­nec­tion with a head­line or im­age. There’s a level of res­o­nance that comes with phys­i­cal­ity that an e-news­let­ter can’t achieve, es­pe­cially when it’s one of many in your in­box.

This idea of emo­tional res­o­nance goes fur­ther when we think about how we en­gage with au­di­ences to drive ac­tion and be­hav­iour. We do lots of work with clients on cul­ture, val­ues, be­hav­iours and staff en­gage­ment. Clients of­ten rush to put these com­mu­ni­ca­tions up on their in­tranet and then won­der why staff haven’t en­gaged with them. We al­ways rec­om­mend putting en­gage­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tions in peo­ple’s hands, on their desks, and in places like kitchens, near pho­to­copiers and other high traf­fic ar­eas where staff can in­ter­act with the com­mu­ni­ca­tions re­peat­edly. We re­cently rec­om­mended posters on the back of toi­let cu­bi­cle doors to de­liver qual­ity one-on-one face time!

We’ve heard more about the im­por­tance of brand en­gage­ment in re­cent years. It’s not a new idea. I can’t help think­ing that this grow­ing call for brands to con­nect with con­sumers comes be­cause ex­ces­sive dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions aren’t al­low­ing deeper en­gage­ment to oc­cur ear­lier. I can think of sev­eral or­gan­i­sa­tions I deal with now, whose only re­la­tion­ship with me is via their web­site and the auto-re­sponse emails that fol­low. It’s a trans­ac­tional ex­pe­ri­ence, based more on con­ve­nience than love. Am I just wait­ing for some­one bet­ter to come along?

Mar­keters have known for the long­est time that most mar­ket­ing de­ci­sions are emo­tional. Af­ter all, the ra­tio­nal part of the brain is way down the back, so by the time it’s called into ac­tion, the de­ci­sion is largely made. Of­ten we use ra­tio­nal de­ci­sion-mak­ing to jus­tify the emo­tional con­clu­sion we’ve al­ready come to. We need to en­sure that our com­mu­ni­ca­tion mix in­cludes chan­nels that build emo­tion and en­gage­ment for our au­di­ences and there are a num­ber of sce­nar­ios where print does this bet­ter than on­line.

I love new eat­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, try­ing new foods, new in­gre­di­ents, new restau­rants and mar­vel­ling at the mas­tery of a high-qual­ity din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. But some­times, I just want some­thing big, fast and greasy. It’s the same with com­mu­ni­ca­tions. We have to go back to need and what will best de­liver on it. In most cases print and dig­i­tal should co-ex­ist, each one com­ing to the fore for dif­fer­ent au­di­ences, dif­fer­ent types of mes­sages and at dif­fer­ent parts of the en­gage­ment process. En­joy them both.

In­sight Cre­ative is a brand­ing and de­sign agency with over 40 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in de­vel­op­ing and work­ing with some of NZ’s best brands. They are a strate­gic cre­ative agency, de­liv­er­ing big think­ing and ef­fec­tive de­sign – across both print and on­line medi­ums – that changes per­cep­tions, drives be­hav­iours and de­liv­ers re­sults for their clients.

For many of our clients, we’ve found the move to dig­i­tal has been driven by the sense that e- mar­ket­ing is cheaper than tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing. And while in most cases it is true, the sac­ri­fice in cut- through and ef­fec­tive­ness means that dig­i­tal doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily de­liver bet­ter bang for buck.

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