PostNord recently published the study “Behind the Mind 2”, which looked at how our subconscious responds to administrative communication, such as invoices. The communication items examined were both in physical and digital form, and the focus of the study was how design can affect the perception of such communication and how people want to receive such information. The study was conducted in Sweden using eyetracking and brain scanning, as well as traditional interviews. The results showed that people are sensitive in terms of how we take in administrative communication and that digital communication has the best impact if it is digitalized – according to the recipient’s terms.
“We have been aware of the benefits of the physical channel for some time, such as greater focus and longer viewing values. We are also aware of the relatively high cognitive stress of digital channels, which makes it difficult for the recipient to absorb large amounts of information. However, what is interesting in this study is that we see a competitive alternative with the digital mailbox, which in a number of aspects is as effective as printed administrative communication,” says Nordic Insight Manager at PostNord’s Communication Services business area, Karin Nilsson.
The study’s results can be summarized in three main points:
Use print to gain attention
Print is the channel that provides the most consistent positive emotional response regarding administrative communication. It is effective if the recipient needs to get an overview of the information, taking in the text and the message. Print’s visual attention leads to the information being read, both overall and regarding specific details in the message regardless of age group and gender.
Relationships rather than just transactions
When communication contains relation-enhancing messages, and not just transaction details, the emotional response increases. Unique and individual communication helps the recipient to find the transaction-related information, i.e. the recipient does not need to read for as long. Special print also wins in terms of personalizing the message, which allows the recipient to more easily take in the transaction-related information.
Adapting to digital
Each digital channel has its particular impact. The digital mailbox is especially promising for administrative communication. The cell phone is a channel that requires the content to be extremely adapted to the platform, focusing on speed, choice and relevance.
“The result is interesting for companies and organizations that wish to use their administrative communication to carry out more than just a transaction. By adapting the content to also include elements that form the basis for establishing a relationship between recipient and sender, we can improve the receptiveness of the recipient,” says CEO of the communications agency House of Friends, Magnus Widgren, who developed the test material.
“Behind the Mind 2” was carried out by PostNord in collaboration with Ipsos, Neurons Inc. and House of Friends. For more information, see the short clip on Youtube.