Go beyond the screen to reframe your brand experience

The world has changed, and everyone’s online. And while it may at first seem counterintuitive, this could be the best time to send your customers something physically irresistible. After all, in an increasingly virtual world, having something that we can touch, smell, see and experience, feels almost magical.

If it’s not a bill, it’s already exciting for your customers. And if it’s creative, even better. Mail is the antidote to our virtual lives, creating real world connections and giving people something they can hold onto. That’s why people love receiving, sharing and discussing mail. And because touch generates surprisingly powerful and long-lasting memories, when you send mail, your brand stays top of mind for longer.

Research backs this up. People of all ages engage with mail. As much as 94% of mail is opened, read, or filed. And for 70% of customers, mail gives a better impression of the company that sent it.

This is especially relevant in the current climate. As we come out of lockdown, the market is shapeshifting and more opportunities for businesses are emerging. Now is the time for marketers to seize them. And there’s no better way to do it than with direct mail. After all, mail can help you make personal connections with your customers, and is visible in the home for weeks after it is received.

Mail complements other channels and is proven to amplify results as part of a multi-media campaign:

  • It shapes behaviour and drives action. It speaks directly to your customer, in a way no other medium can.
  • Mail allows for longer, and more convincing brand narratives. It’s perfect for sparking conversations. People value receiving it, engaging with it, sharing it and keeping it.
  • Mail can be highly targeted. It adds reach and frequency and converts attention into action. 
  • It’s also measurable – so you can track and optimise your campaigns.

Mail can be personal, funny, interesting and disruptive. And if it’s any of these, it’s done its job, because it becomes a conversation starter. But how can brands use mail to create powerful communications like this? Something that’s physically irresistible, that does all, or at least some of the above? We explored 5 areas that are rich with possibilities:

1. Paper - make the medium the message

As you already know, paper doesn’t just come in one form, it has a range of different thicknesses and textures. It can be scented, and be edible. And even if it is as plain as the A4 sheet that comes out of your printer, it can still be cut, and folded in many different ways, all of which encourage interaction.

Paper has so many possibilities and can be used to build a more immersive customer experience – like in this campaign for the Gothenburg Homeless Aid in Sweden.


2. Technology - who says it’s only for laptops, tablets and smartphones?

Mixing tech with a physical format like mail creates a surprise and delight effect that engages the customer’s attention, and ultimately builds brand memory. This includes sending videos or holograms in the mail, but also delivering digital experiences in a surprising way. All this comes from a good understanding of customer journeys and harnessing valuable data to maximise touchpoints.

Like Notonthehighstreet, who have achieved a seamless transition from mail to online purchases with some intuitive tech and a thorough understanding of consumer behaviour.


3. Multi-sensory - makes perfect sense

If you don’t engage more of the senses, you don’t have a complete experience. That’s as true of Zoom meetings, as it is for your brand experience. Mail engages so much more than the eyes and ears. It has the potential to deliver a tangible, visceral experience that influences all five senses.

You can play with textures and printing techniques that invite touch, include sound chips and videos, use scented paper for smell and even edible paper for taste. See what behavioural expert Crawford Hollingworth has to say about the power of multi-sensory experiences.


4. Personal - take one-to-one to a whole new level

Of course mail is already personal, because it is usually addressed to individual customers. But now, with digital printing, you can take personalisation to a really micro level, and use sophisticated data that’s specific to every customer.

German pet food company Josera did this by including personalised maps from every customer’s home to their nearest retailers. Reducing barrier to purchase, one mile at a time.


5. Simplicity - the what, as much as the how

Mail doesn’t have to be expensive or use complicated technology or printing techniques to be effective. Sometimes, it’s more about your message and idea, and less about how you’re delivering it.

The message can work its magic, even if it’s printed on the plainest of papers, in the simplest of formats. See what Robin Garton, Executive Creative Director at Sky has to say about the power of simple ideas.



This content for this article has been derived from the Royal Mail MarketReach eBook. It’s a comprehensive guide on mail in 2020, showcasing brilliant examples of award-winning work, and articles from top experts in the business. To find out more about why you should make mail part of your media mix, download it now.