It’s no surprise that people equate sturdiness with higher quality. Look no further than a study conducted by MIT where a single resume from a job applicant was printed, placed on one of several clipboards and given to participants to review. Those participants who received a heavier clipboard reviewed the applicant more favorably than those who reviewed the same resume on a lighter clipboard.1 Likewise, in a study published by the Journal of Consumer Research, people given mineral water to drink rated the same water as being better quality when served in a firm rather than a flimsy cup.2
Sturdiness matters, whether it’s a piece of furniture or a piece of direct mail. In fact, in an intercept study conducted by an independent marketing research firm, random consumers were stopped in a mall and presentedwith two direct mail cards of identical size, print, grain direction and weight (both were 100# cover). The only difference was that one card was significantly sturdier than the other.
Consumers were asked to compare the two cards and choose which onethey preferred. An overwhelming majority preferred the sturdy card. Moreover, many participants stated that the card would increase their likelihood to buy the product.
To test participants’ claims that they would be more likely to purchase a product advertised on a sturdier mailer, we conducted real world direct mail trials with A/B splits, controls and tests. The results were exciting. In one case, a Fortune 1000 retailer achieved a 38% response lift* from the sturdy solution—an impact so large it gained the attention of the CEO. And that’s just the beginning.
Interested in learning more?
“The quality of the paper is better.”
“The paper felt like it was thicker and stronger. The other one was flimsy.”
“It feels better quality.”
“It just doesn’t have that floppy or flimsiness about it.”
“If I were promoting something for my business, I would want something that is more sturdy.”
“It seems higher in quality.”
“It is not flimsy when I hold it in my hand.”
“I feel like it makes it more professional to be sturdier, like it’s higher quality.”
“It’s more durable.”
“Because the other one is much flimsier.”
 Incidental Haptic Sensations Influence Social Judgments and Decisions, National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2010
 Does Touch Affect Taste? The Perceptual Transfer of Product Container Haptic Cues, Journal of Consumer Research, 2007
* Source: Consumer Insight Mall Intercept Study conducted on behalf of WestRock Verbatim comments represent consumer responses when questioned why they preferred the direct mail sample they selected