Every time I went to the mailbox I hoped I would find one…one of those cool holiday cards with photos of friends and families afar wishing me a wonderful holiday season.
I opened them up with glee like presents, and smiled at the faces staring back at me from the cards. I posted them on the kitchen wall and vowed to reconnect with those faces each time I passed by. In fact, now long after the holidays have passed, the cards are still displayed. I just can’t bring myself to throw them away.
This meaningful experience clearly contrasts the e-cards that came my way. I viewed them briefly on my computer. Then I did what I am eager to do with most e-mails; I deleted them. The few seconds I enjoyed the dancing Christmas trees and falling snowflakes were gone forever. The friends now out of sight were slowly out of mind.
Funny how most of the printed cards I enjoyed so much came from young families in an age group the pundits target as putting print in the past. They’re the same pundits who discounted other meaningful experiences and predicted they would soon become extinct; like shopping in malls, visiting movie theatres or making personal phone calls.
In fact, while online shopping, movies and holiday greetings have increased dramatically among all of us, they have not eliminated the visceral experiences of shopping in Time Square or Union Square, taking the family to the movie theatre, or sending photo-infused printed holiday cards or personal thank-you notes to the people we love.
Ledbury men’s clothing, for example, just expanded its print catalogue depth and reach, since as they put it, their brand experience lasts much longer with the customer with a print catalogue than it does online. Stores like The Gap are signing new leases in Time Square, in the belief that the brick-and-mortar brand experience is still alive, engaging and profitable. And millennials are still coming to DDCC for both online enhancements to their young businesses, and engaging, attractive print business cards, invitations and leave-behinds to hold a customer’s attention and “experience” well beyond an e-mail.
No matter how much high-tech helps businesses grow and prosper, the “experience” of living cannot be minimized or become extinct. Of course, online conveniences are on the rise; yet they are still most effective in combination with a more visceral experience. Shopping and lunch with friends at the mall, eating popcorn at the theatre or holding an event invitation, brochure or personal note card in your hand is part of the joy of living. And, as it turns out, it’s very good for business, too.