What We Touch Shapes How We Feel: Promo Products and the Haptic Brain

Pet a furry dog.

Hold a warm cup of tea.

Pick up a heavy book.

Each one of these experiences evokes a different feeling.

When we touch an object or experience a texture, receptors in our skin send signals to the brain, triggering a response. Although we have touch receptors all over our body, they are highly concentrated in our hands, making our hands an extension of our brains. Every time our touch receptors fire, the brain creates a new connection around that experience, effectively remaking the brain.

Thanks to the “haptic” brain, what we touch shapes the way we feel. The haptic brain refers to the brain’s ability to process touch and physical experiences. Which, in turn, influences how we perceive and interact with the world around us.

Understanding the haptic brain is important especially in the world of promotional products. Tactile sensations create lasting impressions and emotional connections with brands, so designing more engaging promotional experiences can drive brand loyalty and influence purchasing decisions.

By incorporating textures into packaging and offering interactive touch-based experiences, marketers can tap into consumers’ sensory experiences and enhance brand engagement. The haptic brain underscores the importance of multisensory marketing.

When consumers interact physically with a promotional product, the experience boosts brand recall and preference. It creates a more immersive and memorable experience compared to passive viewing. Studies have shown that touch can shape what we know, triggering a deeper level of learning. And what if that object is high quality? The consumer will have more positive feelings about the brand, even later remembering the company in a more positive light.

The haptic brain underscores the profound impact of touch on promotional marketing. The most successful brands appeal to our haptic brain, highlighting what is unique and good about their brand through tactile experiences. The result is enhanced brand perception, emotional connections, and differentiation in a today’s competitive market.


SAPPI North America, and David Eagleman. A Communicator’s Guide to the Neuro Science of Touch. Sappi, 2015.