The more ‘physical’ the media channel was, the more ‘solid’ was the impression it formed in the respondents’ brains. The signage on the storefront was the most trusted, followed by the billboard. They outperformed, by far, the print ad and banner ad. Not only was there greater trust for the fictitious insurance company when viewed on a building or a billboard, the volunteers also expressed a stronger emotional relationship with it.
Perhaps more surprisingly, people also felt a stronger sensory relationship with the brand that they saw on the shopfront and the billboard. When asked what senses they linked with Insursafe, the storefront and billboard registered three times more sensory connections than the print or banner ad. Bear in mind that no one had ever heard of this brand before and exactly the same logo and message appeared in all four options.We have been led to believe that, as the world transitions to all things digital, we will naturally embrace whatever is on offer. This is far from true. Our brains regard a physical presence as a more reliable and trustworthy conveyer of messages and we also log more sensory impressions to the brand. Why, you may ask, is that so important? When I was conducting fMRI experiments for my book Buyology, I learned that the more sensory impressions a brand conveys, the more likely we are to remember it. This perhaps goes some way to explaining why that handshake is so important.
What occurs when we’re consistently deprived of sensory cues? My theory is that, for example, when we sit in front of a screen and push away at order-confirmation buttons, we need to find a way to compensate for the absence of touch.”