Direct mail does not support branding as far as most branders would like for good reason according to James Rosenfield in his excellent article entitled “BRAND AND BRANDING, REVISITED YET ONE MORE TIME AGAIN.”
“Big consumer brands are built on television. This is still true in 2004, in spite of ever-multiplying and fragmenting media.
Why is this? Because television is the archetypal right brain hemisphere medium. Television influences the brain by bringing it into a kind of dream time, when images can creep in, more-or-less subliminally, in a nanosecond. That's why intellectually indefensible notions can be communicated persuasively on TV, that drinking beer makes you attractive to the opposite sex, for example.
Direct mail is the archetypal left-brain hemisphere medium. It's verbal and therefore leisurely, the very definition of how the left hemisphere works. (In fact, in order to make direct mail effective in the 21st Century, left hemisphere communications techniques have to be transmuted into right hemisphere techniques as much as possible.”
He goes on to say that branding in direct mail essentially consists of the logo and slogan. And inserting visuals from the TV advertising does nothing to improve response rates.
This does not mean that direct mail elicits no emotional impact. But that the impact comes from story telling and great letter writing. That probably explains why the letter is so critical to direct mail effectiveness.
Have you gone beyond the logo and slogan in your direct mail testing to see if response rates increased with the use of other branding techniques such as a common look to the graphics and television imagery? If so, what were the results?
If you would like to read James Rosenfield’s full article, you can view here.