Despite preconceptions, a research study by the Rochester Institute of Technology shows that the millennial generation, who makes up close to 25% of the U.S. population, is showing signs of holding onto a more tangible society. Why should corporations care?  At 25%, they currently form the single largest generational group in the U.S. and account for $170 billion in purchases each year, making them one of the most powerful buying groups in today’s consumer market.

Known for driving the consumer landscape to be greener and more digitally inclined it can be surprising to hear that they still have a powerful attachment to paper and the information it holds.

Part of the Culture

The Millennial attachment could possibly stem from childhood. Paper has helped drive levels of literacy and communication worldwide for centuries. In fact, according to Pew Research, 81% of parents believe it is “very important” that their child read print books, citing the importance of print’s unique sensory and tactile experience.

Why is this? Combined paper and print tell a story beyond the information it holds. The tactical experience of capabilities and processes such as UV soft touch coating, heavy paper weights, engraving and more allow the recipient to grasp an emotional connection while a digital screen leaves these impressions to the imagination.

Integrity & Trust

If it’s printed, it’s true. 77% of millennials stated that documents are less trustworthy in a digital format since they can be altered without your knowledge and 90% prefer to have hard copies of important documents (Rochester Institute of Technology). When it comes to your corporate invoices, company announcements, letters and more this can be imperative. Especially if your customers can’t recognize that it’s coming from your brand. A good rule of thumb is to lay out all your corporate branded materials and see how they compare. Check for consistency, placement, color, typography and more to get you started.

Environmental Awareness

Millennial consumers are drawn to brands that reflect their personal values. An online study done by A.T. Kearney and NPD Group found that 47% of millennials value a product that is inherently sustainable when purchasing a product. While corporations have been moving to a more sustainable society to fulfill the wants of millennial consumers, misconceptions about electronic communication have been formed.

Electronic communication isn’t necessarily more environmentally friendly than print and paper. In fact, it is estimated that globally, 20-25 million tons of e-waste are generated each year and the amount is still growing rapidly (Two Sides). While “going paperless” sounds good in theory it actually hinders sustainable forest management for wood fiber.

By promoting sustainable forest management policies across the globe paper manufacturers are able to maintain a dependable market for wood fiber and avoid selling forestland to developers for non-sustainable uses. “Avoiding the use of wood is not the way to protect forests for the long term. It’s the areas of the world that consume the least wood that continue to experience the greatest forest loss.” – Two Sides  

In a digital world, paper and print continue to be highly effective and can be a sustainable way to communicate when produced and used responsibly.

Communicating in a Digital Realm

Influenced by social media, the economy and environment millennials are transforming the way corporations do business. While digital communication is at the forefront of organizations minds it’s good to remember that there is still a place for the tactile experience. To help make your branded corporate stationery a tangible experience they will remember, consider these print trends and how they can align with your industry.

White Space: It’s all about balance. White space increases readability and reminds us that simple designs are effective. Clean modern designs communicate how effectively you work while the easy to read text enhances the recipient’s memory of you and what you offer.

Paper Stocks: Double thick stocks are becoming popular for those companies looking for something to set them apart. Heavier weights give off an instant impression of quality that will hold up over a long period of time. Vibrant colors can also be utilized to catch the eye and make your card something to look at twice.

Soft Touch: Give them an experience. Velvety soft touch paper or UV coatings can be applied to your stationery to give off a look of elegance and sophistication that leaves your recipient picking it repeatedly to be touched and read.

If you have a question about how to make your corporate stationery more sustainable or need ideas on how to implement one of these trends comment below or reach out directly.

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