Brand Touchpoints. What Are They?
Every instance of interaction you customer has with your brand can be a described as a touchpoint. Individually and collectively, these encounters will shape their impression of you. This is why it’s so important that where you can control these experiences, you should make sure everything is aligned with your brand identity and “on-message”. Where inconsistencies occur, this can critically damage your brand.
Take for example Restaurant Fantastico, a well-known, high-end eatery where you decide to treat your "important other" to a romantic dinner for two. The friendly maître d' greets you on arrival, bringing you straight to your bay window table. The setting is perfect, all crisp white linens, candles, crystal and silver cutlery with an exotic floral centrepiece. Warm, freshly-baked bread and pestos appear magically in front of you. All followed by a complimentary amuse-bouche, compliments of tonight's Michelin-starred chef. So far, so great! Alas, when you receive the menus, you notice they're slightly smudged and dog-eared from use. Your waiter arrives and is sullen to the point of being rude. His knowledge of the specials is somewhat sketchy. The sommelier informs you the wine you select from their vast list is out of stock. You order a 'medium' rib-eye steak but it arrives 'well-done'. When you bring this to your server's attention, he removes your plate and returns 15 minutes later with a replacement, grilled to perfection. But, no apology. Your companion has already finished their main course. Oh dear. It doesn't get much better with the dessert course. You both order a decadent chocolate fondant. You're advised it will take twenty minutes but you don't mind. Except it takes forty-five...
Thankfully the rest of the evening is incident-free but the experience hasn't lived up to what you’d expected. It's not a cheap place. This was supposed to be a special occasion for a special person. How do you feel about the overall experience? On paper, the restaurant had a lot of its touchpoints aligned, but it's the skewed ones that leave a lasting impression on you. How did they make you feel? Will you ever return to Restaurant Fantastico? Will you tell your friends and colleagues of your experience? Will you leave a review your night on Tripadvisor/Yelp? The above example highlights the fact that small irregularities in your brand touchpoints while seemingly minor, can quickly add up to a major breach of trust as far as your audience is concerned. This can mean lost customers and poor reviews for you. Conversely, if there'd been no issues and the evening had lived up to or exceeded the reputation of the restaurant, how differently would you have felt then? Planning your next visit and telling everyone about it, perhaps? The same principles are exactly the same for your brand, regardless of the industry you're in. Every touchpoint plays its part in reinforcing your brand's position in your customer's heart and mind.
Consistency Builds Brands. Make sure all your brand’s touchpoints are aligned.
So how do you recognise these touchpoints, let alone manage them? Considering a customer will probably have numerous contacts with your brand during their buying process, the potential list is pretty vast. That said, the following are examples of some of the more obvious and controllable touchpoints you need to map:
After Sales Service
If you are still reading, stop! . GO TO WORK ON YOUR BRAND