Neuromarketing: Touch points

Charles Young

The power of touch in a tactile communication can convey positive emotions about a brand – as advertisers of products from food to mobile phones have discovered

One of the most effective television campaigns of the past decade is the advertising that introduced the iPhone. It showed a disembodied hand holding the phone comfortably in its palm, while the forefinger of the other hand touched the icons on the screen, activating one app after another, flipping through pages of information, pinching images to shrink or expand them. The voiceover was almost unnecessary – the visual demonstration was so compelling. The point was that the internet could now be like an extension of your body.

Of the five senses, touch is the first sensory system to develop and the last to leave us after taste and smell, sight and hearing have failed. The touch of a newborn baby is pure joy to its parent and a hug is the final expression of love in old age. Marketers acknowledge its importance when they talk about the ‘touchpoints’ of a brand.