As Valentine’s Day approaches, love is in the air, and on the mind.
Most people would agree that an actual hug and kiss are much better to have than a series of XOXO’s on a page, or in a card. Both convey the same sentiment but the first one is more tangible and personal.
If I can have the first I won’t settle for the second from any loved one. We humans like to have our senses stimulated by touch, sound, and smell, not just sight. It’s why we shake hands, pat a buddy on the back, caress a cheek and speak to each other. (notwithstanding some young peoples’ propensity to text you while you are both in the same room).
This also holds true for how we relate to companies and brands. We are daily bombarded by messages, many of them digital. We can see them, we can hear them, but we can’t touch them. There is this tactile component that is missing from the experience. Have you ever watched television and wished it could be smell-o-vision? We see a lovely steak on the grill and want to experience more of it. Our minds come alive when we can perceive with more senses.
Think about making popcorn.
You hear it popping in the maker, you see the kernels flying into the air, you smell the toasted corn, you touch the warm morsels and taste the finished product that is lavishly sprinkled with melted butter and salt. It’s a complete experience that involves all the senses. Your brain gets hooked and the next time someone is making popcorn in the next room your brain starts wanting it before the smell even begins to waft into the room.
If your brand were popcorn, people would be lining up to consume. We are like Pavlovian dogs over it. When movie theaters can sell a bucket of inferior quality for north of $10, you know that we are conditioned to be hooked on the stuff.
If you just saw a picture of popcorn on a magazine page would you be as prone to want some? Doubtful. You are only experiencing it with one sense, and as great as sight is it doesn’t communicate the full embodiment of all that fresh popcorn is.
So, if your brand is mostly digital, or print, or broadcast, what is missing from the user experience?
I call it tangibility.
That is a sweet word that communicates all the interconnected ways that our senses build a complete picture of a message. When our brains have more to latch onto we get a richer, fuller experience.
You ask, how can brands be more tangible? Good question, wise one. You blend print messages with tangible products and in the process, you create mental staying power, and lasting impressions. Look at your desktop or briefcase right now. I bet you have a pen with a hotel name on it (those are free, right?); or a notepad from the last conference you attended; maybe you are wearing a garment with a logo on it.
You are already experiencing those messages in more tangible ways. Your Starbucks mug, your Audi keychain, your Eagles cap (sorry, Pats fans) are all ways that we build relationships with brands. We like the brand, we like the gear. The one feeds the other in a reciprocating relationship.
As a business owner or marketer, you are looking for ways to raise brand awareness, create lasting connections between your message and your audience, and grow revenue. In our digitally saturated world, going old school can help. Start sending hand-written notes again. Build excitement and anticipation by mailing dimensional products to your prospects. Everyone likes to open a box. It reminds them of getting presents as a child.
Use custom branded apparel and company logo gear to reward key team members in public. It will be remembered long after the gear is gone. You are creating experiences for people to engage your brand, your message, and your culture.
And while you are working on creating stronger tangible connections, don’t forget to hug and kiss those you love the most this Valentine’s Day, and every day.
If you want to see how being more tangible can help your brand, talk to us today. We like to help brands create stronger connections and make lasting impressions.
Aly Salz, CEO