Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Paper Gossip

I confess—I just love going to the hair salon. Not only do they torture my stubborn, naturally curly locks (temporarily at least) into a sleek, straight and shiny mane, but I get the guilt-free chance to catch up on many of the celebrity/gossip magazines that stock the salon’s “library.”

So, there I was, somewhere in between the latest news about Angelina and Brad, when an ad caught my eye. “Young people do everything on line—like order millions of magazines…” The message of the ad went on: “Contrary to popular misperception, the phenomenal popularity of the Internet has not come at the expense of magazines…Readership is actually increasing and adults between 18-34 are among the most dedicated readers. The medium that some predicted would vanquish magazines is actually helping fuel their growth. And vice versa.” The tag line read “The Power of Print.”

This short but meaningful message got me thinking about NSS’ own recently launched marketing campaign Paper Power. I believe that this theme serves as a very important reminder of the value and purpose of our industry in a time where things are changing at a record pace. Especially over the past 15 years, as the Tech Revolution has spread around the globe, I’ve listened to dozens of conversations about the fate of the stationery industry. Many worried that the growing acceptance and use of email, ecards and evites would decimate the social stationery, greeting card and invitation business. Would Gen Y and Gen Z become “paperless” generations?

As a similar ad in the uber-popular Wired magazine persuades, the wired lives we all lead have only served to underscore the value, influence and need for tools of expression which are “enveloping, embracive and immersive.” Technology has not robbed paper of its impact, its unique ability to deliver the message “I care.” Indeed, in our jam-packed world of tweets, texts, and social media, paper has taken on a higher perceived value. Email is an everyday thing. Few, if any emails, are memorable, and none serve as keepsakes. But nowadays, a letter, a handwritten note, an invitation, a beautifully wrapped gift stand out as even more special, irreplaceable experiences. When the message, occasion, and most of all the person really matter, we still use paper to deliver treasured expressions of connection. Movies didn’t slay the enjoyment of radio. Television did not wipe out movie attendance. And high touch and high tech continue to grow, influence, and enhance each other. As sales of thousands of wedding invitations, millions of greeting cards and billions of dollars can attest, paper will continue to remain a profitable and powerful part of our lives.

Speaking of paper, it’s been several weeks since I last visited My Bella Beauty Salon. While my hair still looks great, I’m trying to think of an excuse to drop by the shop anyway. There’s an intriguing article on George Clooney I didn’t get the chance to finish reading…