Touching something, like a paper catalog, tips the psyche toward “ownership imagery.” Scientific studies show that merely touching an object—or imagining touching it—can make people exhibit a sense of ownership of that object. When customers touch your product, even when it’s just in a printed magazine, they could be one step closer to actually buying it.
We assign more value to the things we feel we own and, according to scientific study, this is hardwired into mammalian brain architecture. It’s a cross-species phenomenon: A monkey will take his banana over your oats, even if oats are his favorite food.
Even something as simple as a direct mail piece with your customer’s name on it could start turning the wheels toward valuing your brand or product more.
Touching things with distinct physical qualities—heavy or light, hard or soft, rough or smooth—can also lead people to assign those same characteristics to other people and things. In a recent study, an object’s feel influenced a person’s interpretation of something else they were looking at. Subjects who held a heavier clipboard, for example, rated a job candidate as more qualified than those who didn’t, assigning more weight to that individual.