Haptics: The power of touch

The power of touch

Have you heard of haptics? The word “haptics” comes from the Greek “απτω,” meaning “I fasten onto, I touch,” and in the modern world is any form of nonverbal communication involving touch. Haptic sense provides information about surfaces and textures and is vital in interpersonal relationships in relaying intimacy. Touch is the earliest sense to develop in utero. Every culture has a set of haptics traditions, and the sense of touch is both physical and emotional.

Now that you’ve learned something new for the day… how will it be useful to you and your business?

Social Media

Storytelling has been a crucial part of human culture. New technologies are enabling new ways for companies to market themselves, and the largest companies are moving from creative excellence to content excellence. Content excellence is a practice of storytelling, which is now made easier through social media, and serves the purpose of creating ideas so contagious that they cannot be controlled. To monetize content excellence, companies need to link their business objectives and brands to consumer interests. The end goal is to provoke conversations through stories and earn a disproportionate share of popular culture. In the new social media culture, companies then act and react to these conversations every day. What this is missing, though, is a physical presence – touch.

Wynn Resorts has made touch a cornerstone of their brand. Sensory marketing, or marketing that engages consumers’ senses and affects their behavior, is especially important for companies that provide a service rather than a physical product because it gives their services a physical presence. Wynn Resorts considers what their customers will physically engage in while in their hotels as much as their brand as any of their direct, obvious marketing, down to the items in the rooms like menus and notecards.

Choosing the right paper accentuates your messages to the guest. It says you care. Having something tangible in your hand that feels good, from the gift card, letter, invitation, or marketing offer we send, holding it and touching it has a more lasting impression. Print is not deleted from their mind as easily as a “click.”

Doris Young, Creative Director, Wynn Resorts

An application of sensory branding using haptics is legal stationery. BurdgeCooper’s legal printing has been strong since the founding of Stuart F. Cooper, and continues to be in the digital age. In the context of what you’ve just learned, this begins to make sense. Law firms offer a service, one that is often as conceptually faint as it is physically. To make their services more concrete with clients, law firms will use engraved stationery – a highly sensory and touchable printing process that evokes a feeling of quality. This translates emotionally to clients as quality service from a quality firm.

If I haven’t already convinced you of the power of touch, have you ever felt letterpress paper? It’s one of my favorite textures. If you haven’t, I suggest you you find some and feel it. If you have, I’m pretty sure your fingers itch when you look at pictures of fine paper. Or letterpress work. Or engraving work. Or foil. Or anything that looks textured. In an age of digital printing and worlds within screens, texture has an increased appeal and a association with craftsmanship, high quality, and money (it is on a cotton-based material, after all). Because of this association, a well-crafted print piece can tell a client you appreciate and value them (and their business), without explicitly saying it.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area and would like to learn more about how you can combine the science of haptics and the art of printing for the benefit of your company, you’re in luck. The Los Angeles Printers Fair is October 5th, from 9 am to 4 pm. Many paper and print vendors will be there with samples and information about their products, services, and printing demonstrations.

Written with help from Mohawk – thanks for telling us about haptics!

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