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Why our expectations are changing

It’s been fascinating to watch how the internet has changed human expectations and responses in other areas of communication. The influence of technology is changing our expectations, and those in the advertising, design and marketing communication businesses need to pay attention.

Have you noticed how textures have become popular? We see this influence in the kind of papers used for brochures and packaging, to interior decorating trends, to the strong textures showing up in clothing styles. I believe this trend is directly related to the growth of Internet communications — a flat, untouchable medium that looks pretty but never offers any real tactile essence.

This isn’t the first time a communications trend has affected us culturally. The growth of television in the late 1950’s had a similar impact, though in those days it was checkered tablecloths, wrinkled chiffon dresses, silk shirts, and corduroy pants.

People have had enough experience with the internet and interactive presentations by now. The excitement that characterized the 90’s is fading. The internet is now an everyday tool. Meanwhile, people are getting tired of the pretty pictures behind glass. They are yearning to touch something real. They want to feel blind embossing and corrugated cardboard. They want to watch the shadows interplay from die-cut openings and edges. They want to run their fingers along unusual bindings and shapes of annual reports that look more like packaging than business documents.

Advertisers who wish to maximize the psychological impact of this trend should combine their internet strategy with extra effort on production of collateral materials. The most effective strategies will probably involve the use of highly tactile print communications combined with highly interactive and informative online communications. Especially if one requires or supports the other to complete the message.

Watch as social media continues the transition in our expectations. We now want our brands to interact with us, not to talk to us in a one-way message, but to demand a two-way dialog. Ignore these developments at your own peril.

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George Pytlik

George Pytlik has been involved in the advertising industry for over 30 years and designed his first website when the Internet was one year old. He was an internationally recognized speaker on advertising and branding and served on a number of communication committees at various times throughout his career, as well as writing a regular column for Marketing magazine.

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