Companies devote an enormous amount of money and attention crafting a distinctive corporate personality so that consumers have positive thoughts or feelings when seeing the company name or logo.
Advertisers and agencies try to raise consumer awareness and interest in a product or company through brand marketing, and they use a variety of media: television commercials, billboards, glossy magazine ads, and, recently, digital channels. Marketing Mail, on the other hand, is often considered only for direct response, a type of advertising that asks the consumer to take an action, like apply for a credit card.
But could mail be just as effective as other branding media? We set out to test that theory.
We teamed with Temple University to examine the neurological and behavioral response to brand advertising. Similar to our previous neuromarketing studies, this one used self-reported measures, behavioral responses, and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) technology to measure the brain’s response to digital ads and physical ads.
Our research found:
- Physical ads outperformed digital ads in several brand advertising measures, such as brand name recall and brand association.
- Consumers needed less time to review digital ads compared to physical ads – a seeming advantage if audience attention is limited.
- Both physical and digital ads designed using symbolism unrelated to the product were generally more effective than ads that demonstrated what the product does. For example, when advertising green tea, rather than showing a cup of tea, the ad shows people playing in a green field with big trees.
These findings demonstrate the power of physical ads for many brand advertising objectives and can help the U.S. Postal Service guide advertisers in designing mailpieces that support their brand.
One challenge might be how the Postal Service and the mailing industry can best communicate these findings to companies and advertisers so they consider mail as a tool for branding.
How would you tell that story?