As we are inundated with ever-increasing ads each day and consumers are becoming “banner blind,” many businesses are turning to paper to separate themselves from the pack, but why? Branding is everywhere; it’s in our phones, in our ears and, in restaurants like BurgerFi, it’s even on our food. We’re in an age where everyone has a brand; from large clothing brands to youthful YouTubers to stay-at-home bloggers.
As a result, society has adapted to tune out ads and only let in real content, which has made authenticity more important than ever. According to StopAdBlog, a website dedicated to decreasing the number of ads the general public sees, the average person is exposed to roughly 5,000 ads per day. They cite the New York Times and build upon their research from 2007, suggesting that it’s likely the number of ads we see each day has only increased. This has lead to consumers tuning out mass-messaging and cookie-cutter advertisements while brands are discovering that what they say is just as important as how they say it.
Some brands are using different mediums to prove their legitimacy and have since realized the value of putting something physical back in their consumers’ hands, others are even farther ahead, having discovered the advantages of putting their brand on paper.
In order to distinguish yourself from the crowd, brand recognition is key—it must be quick and impressionable, or you risk losing customers to competitors or being filtered out by the banner blind. Those who look to paper as their solution have realized that not only can it convey all the visual messaging that they want, but it can also add more messaging through touch and texture, allowing branding to be even more intentional and effective. Sunbrella, an industry leader in performance fabrics like indoor and outdoor upholstery, is a believer in the powers of paper. According to company spokeswoman Stephanie Cizinsky, Sunbrella took a look at their brand and decided they wanted to do several things:
- Elevate its look, style and mood
- Make the product more clear to consumers
- Differentiate themselves in the market by standing out and creating desire
These are goals that brands and advertisers have been chasing for ages by countless means, but Sumbrella chose paper because “Paper is such a tactile experience. The reason it is so interesting for us, for paper and the selections we use in paper we are that we are actually a textile company. So that touch, feel of the hands, we call it, the hand of the fabric, is extremely important to our customers. So if we are elevating the brand and we don’t use a paper that evokes this sort of tactile sensory experience. We are not doing the actual product, the fabrics justice. Because it is such a tactile experience, and selecting a fabric that goes on your furniture. So there is a connection between those for me that I think is very important to convey in the work that we create.”
Despite their previous success and industry place, they chose uncoated paper to further elevate their brand. Sunbrella is evolving their identity by creating a tactile experience that evokes their name every time you pick it up. They knew they needed a medium that created an experience, not an advertisement, and their research led them to uncoated paper.
Discovering what paper can do for you and your brand may be just what lifts you from the masses and provides you with an easily recognizable identity that helps your brand trend and your message spread. While Stephanie and the rest of Sunbrella are using paper to heighten and talk about their fabrics, the applications of paper to a brand can be applied to any industry. While more and more consumers are becoming banner blind, they are also growing paper-ready, as they look for tactile and real experiences in a world of advertisements.
Branding in 2020 and beyond will be about detail, and not overlooking an option that can give you a step up, especially not one so impactful as paper.