Touchpoints Maketh The Brand
Updated: May 4
Every instance of interaction that your customer has with your brand can be described as a 'touchpoint'. Individually and collectively, these encounters will shape their impression of you. It’s important that where you can control these experiences, you make sure everything is aligned with your brand identity and “on-message”. Where inconsistencies occur, they 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 breads and pestos appear magically in front of you. These are followed by a tantalising 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 previous 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've selected from their vast list is out of stock. You order a 'medium' rib-eye, but it arrives 'well-done'. When you bring this to your server's attention, he removes your plate and returns fifteen 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 when you move on to the dessert course. You both order a decadent hot chocolate fondant. You're advised it will take twenty minutes to prepare, but you don't mind, you're enjoying the company. Except it takes forty-five...
Thankfully the rest of the evening is incident-free, but the overall 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 many of its touchpoints aligned, but it's the inconsistency that leaves a lasting impression on you. How did they (the restaurant) make you feel? Will you ever return to Restaurant Fantastico? What will you tell your friends and colleagues about your experience? Will you leave a review of your night on Tripadvisor or Yelp? The above example highlights the fact that small irregularities in your brand touchpoints, while seemingly minor to you, can quickly add up to a major breach of trust as far as your audience is concerned. This can likely mean lost customers and poor reviews for you. There is no doubt that inconsistencies damage the reputation you've strived so hard to build.
Conversely, if there'd been no issues and the evening had lived up to or exceeded the restaurant's reputation, 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 the hearts and minds of your customers.
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 endless. That said, the following are examples of some of the more obvious and controllable touchpoints you need to map:
Ads - digital and offline
After Sales Service
Tone Of Voice
If you are still reading, stop! - GO TO WORK ON YOUR BRAND