Did you read the title and immediately think I was going to talk about the designing of business cards, websites, packaging – how to keep it consistent, drum up the impact and all that jazz? Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if you did. But not today.
Instead, I’m going to discuss the significance of brand touchpoints and how to go about deciding which ones will work for your business so that you don’t find yourself knee-deep in unused or unwanted branded merch. I know, I know – it’s happened to the best of us. But by the end of this read, we’ll all be discerning enough to avoid such a needless predicament.
So what are brand touchpoints?
Most of us already know what a brand touchpoint is – true or false? But in case you’re a little fuzzy on the subject, brand touchpoints, also known as customer touchpoints, can be described as the planned and intentional interactions and exposures designed by brands to influence customers in their purchasing decisions.
I’ve heard that a picture paints a thousand words – so I’m going to let this image paint you some examples:
Perfect. All we need is a frame. And by frame, I really mean – categorisation. Touchpoints can be categorised as physical or static touchpoints – as in packaging and brochures; human touchpoints – as in sales personnel or customer care officers; or digital or interactive touchpoints – as in websites or video content. They can also be organised according to a customer’s buying stages. But I’ll get to that shortly.
Why are brand touchpoints important?
Well, consider them your business’ first impression. In my last post about brand personality, I wrote about looking at your brand as a person with the kind of qualities you’d like in a friend. In a similar vein, you could view touchpoints as the clothes and other adornments this friend would wear. Simply put, brand touchpoints are extensions of your brand personality in a tangible form.
Brand touchpoints that are well put together not only convey credibility about a brand, its business and operations, but also facilitate better brand recognition down the road. These eventually lead to lower marketing costs. Who doesn’t love the sound of that?
But more than that, touchpoints play the important role of connecting customers from one point of the buying journey to the next. When a brand’s touchpoints demonstrate congruence with their purpose, values and message, customers are likely to make a favourable purchasing decision.
Say for example, you received a personal, handwritten invitation to attend the launch event of a new luxury brand, you’d perhaps feel that sense of exclusivity and hospitality and may even consider attending the event. On the other hand, if you received a computer-generated invite that was printed on a generic card, you might feel quite differently – first about attending the event and next, about the brand.
Creating brand touchpoints
I’ve talked about the “what”. Then I talked about the “why”. Now, let’s talk about the “how”.
The creation of brand touchpoints requires some basic understanding of the customer journey. This generally means anticipating anything from how customers get to know your brand, consider buying your brand and even how they will advocate for your brand. Say you were a travel business, your customer journey might look something like this:
Having a clear idea of what your customer journey is like not only helps you decide which touchpoints to create but also which ones to prioritise.
If this is something you care about, then start by listing down appropriate communication channels and activities – It should look a little like this:
And once that’s done, make a list of the activities that will be most effective in moving the customer from one point of the journey to the next in order to prioritise which brand touchpoints to create first.
When it comes to creating brand touchpoints, it’s certainly not just about the design stuff. You know, I’m not saying you should forego the aesthetics altogether because that’s a given. I’m just saying it’s about balancing the needs and wants.
I think I’m making good on my promise to keep things brief. But before I wrap this up, I’ll share three more things to consider when creating brand touchpoints.
Who was I kidding? Of course the C-word was going to come up! It’s branding afterall. Yes indeed – from business card to website; or from advertisement to landing page to checkout, it’s important to keep your visual and verbal identity consistent to build recognition and trust within your customers.
#2 RANGE OF USABILITY
Did I mention consistency? Uh-huh. Guess what, consistency is easier said than done. No kidding! For consistency to happen with ease, it requires a good measure of thinking and planning ahead. This means that when designing a logo, picking out colours and deciding on typefaces (to say the least), brands must do their utmost to anticipate all the things their logos, colours and fonts will go on. Why? Because production costs money. Reprints cost money. Very simply, mistakes cost money.
Durability in this sense has to do with the lasting impression of each touchpoint. Because customers don’t move from point to point in a matter of seconds, it’s important that each touchpoint delivers a visual or emotional message that connects with the customer. This way, even as days, weeks or even months go by, the likelihood of customers reconnecting with the brand when they’re ready, stays promising.
I guess that’s it. I was originally going to share a few pointers on how to get brand touchpoints right, but I guess that’s a discussion for another time. Do you know other reasons why brand touchpoints are important? Share them with me in a comment – I’m always open to learning. In my next post, I’m going to share how brands use guidelines to stay consistent and on brand so look out for it!
Nadine is the Creative Director of The Outsiders Co. (now Superminted) and is a nonconforming, divergent thinker with a conviction that effective branding is the cornerstone to a successful business.