The tactile power of print in a swipe and scroll world

For most magazine and media companies, print is one of a complex, interlocking network of instruments to communicate their media brands. People buy print magazines – even millennials – because of the subjective value of print, the sensual experience of print, and because of the value of cover mounts, Kallenberg outlined.

“I asked my 12 year old daughter why they spend their pocket money on Mädchen – she said while it’s cool to flip back and forth, if you finish the magazine, you get the feeling you’re done,” he explained.

Print is trusted. Right now in Germany, Kallenberg explained, the top five trusted brands are print brands. When it comes to serious information, people trust in print. Print is also incredibly durable. It never runs out of battery, and is likely to be picked up a couple of times.

Kallenberg outlined that there is a sensual experience to print – from the smell of the paper, to the tactile feel of it under one’s fingertips. And, publishers have taken advantage of this. Recently, a German comic book publisher, put turf on the front of the publication in advance of the World Cup, he said.

“That wouldn’t exist without print,” he said. “Imagine that on a website. It wouldn’t work.”

Kallenberg suggested that a cover mount is an often overlooked tactile experience for readers that can be incredibly successful for media brands. A few examples from Germany included women’s monthly magazine Jolie who added an eyebrow pencil as a product sample on their cover, and Axel Springer’s MusikExpress who added a vinyl record to their cover in 2017. This value-add sold more than 80 per cent more than the previous issue, Kallenberg said.

Another tip: “Sugar is a trigger when it comes to selling things,” he said. “For example, every December, Playboy Germany sells an advent chocolate calendar, which sells 30 or 40 per cent more than the previous issue.”

For media brands and magazine publishers looking to add some ‘touch and feel’ to their print publishing strategy and increase their brands’ value and revenue, Kallenberg suggested, “you might want to consider what’s the subjective value of your print product to your audience, what is the sensual experience and what is the cover mount?”

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