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Print Is More Real To The Brain

According to the case study “Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct Mail” by global branding agency Millward Brown, physical media like print leave a “deeper footprint” in the brain. This was true even after controlling for the increase in sensory processing for tangible items.

“The team from Millward Brown and Bangor University came up with a powerful and innova­tive approach to help us understand how both physical and digital media are processed by the brain. They successfully turned cutting-edge neuroscience into a practical marketing project, and delivered completely new insight identifying fascinating differences in levels of brain engage­ment for the two types. We have put the findings at the heart of our communications about the intrinsic power of direct mail, and how physical media have a place in any fully rounded market­ing campaign.”   – James Kitovitz, Insight Manager, Royal Mail

For example, material shown on cards generated more activity within the area of the brain associated with the integration of visual and spatial information (the left and right parietal). According to the researchers, this suggests that physical material is more “real” to the brain. It has a meaning and a place.

“This research strongly suggests that greater emotional processing is facilitated by the physical material than by the virtual. The “real” experience that the physical media provides means it’s better at becoming part of memory. It generates more emotion, which should help to develop more positive brand associations. The real experience is also internalized, which means the materials have a more personal effect, and therefore should aid motivation.”

Physical material is better connected to memory because it engages with its spatial memory networks. The study also found that the tangible materials involved more emotional processing in the subjects, important from a branding and ad recall standpoint.

To read the case study go to: http://www.millwardbrown.com/Libraries/MB_Case_Studies_Downloads/MillwardBrown_CaseStudy_Neuroscience.sflb.ashx

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