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From the Editor: Elaborate and Listen

As technology continues to evolve, how can your print shop's graphics grab (and keep) people's attention?




It seems every month I talk about creativity and innovation. How are you improving your print shop? How are you adapting your processes? How is your shop changing with the times?

Does this storyline get old? Maybe. But, my job (and I love it) is to bring you the latest in this evolving industry. Simply put, I’ve constantly got my “eyes peeled” and my “head on a swivel” so I can share new ideas that benefit you and your clients. My sensitivity to this environment has led me to a dry, academic concept that you need to consider: mental elaboration.

Most of us know the term “sandwich board”: an advertisement composed of two boards, each displaying a message, typically carried by a sign holder. These advertisements have been around since the mid-19th century, when advertising posters in London were no longer subject to tax, and wall space became limited. Charles Dickens once poetically described these advertisements as “a piece of human flesh between two slices of pasteboard.”

This past weekend I saw the 21st-century sandwich board: a man on a hoverboard, riding down one of Cincinnati’s main streets, wearing an advertisement promoting his new, local business. And, the ad was digital. If that’s not literally mobile advertising, I’m not sure what is. This modern-day sandwich board is not something I see every day. And, because of that, I slowed down, stared at him and his dynamic sign, and even took a video while we both waited at a red light.

As I reflected on this form of advertising, I wondered how effective, how persuasive it was. Did it motivate me to act, to remember the business, to engage emotionally? Did the stimulus elicit a response? This led me to do some research. The result? The aforementioned mental elaboration.

Mental elaboration is a psychological concept that evaluates the length of time that a message causes a person to think, reflect, or elaborate upon the message and the message’s purpose. The longer a person elaborates on an idea, the more likely he or she is to act. Your printed message, followed by longer mental elaboration, equals better chances of engagement from the consumer. Think of vehicle wraps, for instance. Individual vehicle advertising generates 30,000 to 70,000 daily vehicle impressions, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. Are you using this type of data when selling your shop’s offerings?


As technology advances, and I continue to keep you abreast of new innovations, I encourage you to remember the end goal: help your client’s message drive their intended audience to act. How are you showing your clients just how effective your print work is at causing a person to stop, stare, elaborate, and engage?

Read more from Editor-in-Chief Adrienne Palmer or follow her on Twitter for wide-format event coverage from around the world.



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