I heard a great program on CBC the other day on which a woman was lamenting while going through the written love letters she had received over her lifetime. The premise of this program was this - in a technological era, has paper lost its place?
The program made me to realize that I too have kept every valuable paper-based communication I have ever received, but have not kept any of the important, personal on-line communications. It also caused me to realize that in spite of all of the environmental and cost issues surrounding it, we must always keep a place in our hearts and our business minds for paper. Here's why:
Paper trails have value. Whether it's a marketing-communications brief everyone signs off on or an actual work contract, certain documents still need to be paper-based. Having a signed piece of paper is the only recourse for saying that you mutually agreed upon something.
Paper-based communications make people feel important. Every year, I contemplate sending out electronic Christmas cards (or not sending them out at all). But the truth is that a personal written letter is one of the best ways to make people feel valued and important.
Some people only trust paper. My father, who is incredibly bright and well-read, tells me there is no way he will ever trust social media. A few other business associates who are senior to me say they will never use Linked In. Paper-based communications often appeal to more mature audiences. This is important to remember since Canadians are living and working longer than they ever have.
Sometimes paper is the only thing that works. Even today, it happens that you have your entire presentation on your laptop or tablet, and it won't function properly right when you're ready to make your pitch. A paper-based marketing piece in your hand accompanied by a one-on-one presentation is often the most reliable way to make a sale.
Do you still value paper above all else? If so, tell me why.