Buyers have been slow to pick up on digital’s image problem.
While printers have had to face up to many challenges over the past few years,
consumer trust hasn’t been one of them.
If anything, the proliferation of ‘fake news’ from online media has downgraded the
general public’s faith in digital sources,
and consequently boosted print’s standing.
Recent research published by paper and print advocacy group Two Sides found that the majority of people polled
(almost four-fifths of 10,700 consumers) are more trusting of information provided in printed formats than they are of digital equivalents,
while nearly three-quarters of respondents were worried about fake news being propagated on digital platforms.
Most respondents also had concerns about hacking and leaks when their personal information was stored digitally, with almost
three-quarters of those polled keeping paper copies of documents at home for safety and security.
BPIF chief executive Charles Jarrold says print tends to be more trusted than digital formats because of the “time, effort and
expertise required to produce and publish something in print that means that there’s a value attached to it”.
“And it’s that sense of value that connects with an audience. Digital is great for fast and immediate, but it means that anyone
can produce electronic communications and, frequently, too many people do,” he says.
“If you’re doing something in print, you will often be attaching that content to a brand, whether it’s a newspaper or a magazine for
example, and that brand has a reputation and an audience, which adds a lot of credibility to the whole process.”
He adds: “It’s been particularly clear recently that you simply can’t believe everything that you read, and if you haven’t got a good
idea of what the source of that information is, it should be treated with a very high degree of scepticism.
“When you read it from a trusted source – a newspaper for example – then you have a higher level of comfort that it’s going
to have gone through more review processes and may be more reliable.”
The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation will help print’s cause even further as marketers will
be able to use ‘legitimate interests’ to contact consumers by post.
The digital age may have inadvertently enhanced print’s status and gravitas, and there are numerous opportunities on the horizon,
but the industry now needs to get out there and shout about THE POWER AND VALUE OF PRINT in order to reap the benefits.