Touchpoints Maketh The Brand
Updated: Aug 18, 2022
Every instance of interaction that your customer has with your brand can be described as a 'touchpoint'. Individually and collectively, these encounters shape their impression of you. Therefore, you must control these experiences (where possible) and ensure everything is aligned with your brand image and "on-message". Where inconsistencies occur, they blur your message and can critically damage your brand.
Take, for example, Restaurant Fantastico, a well-known, high-end eatery where you decide to treat your significant other to a romantic dinner for two. The friendly maître d' greets you on arrival, escorting you straight to your bay-window table. The setting is perfect, all crisp white linens, candles, crystalware and silver service set off by an exotic floral centrepiece. Alluring, freshly-baked breads and pestos appear magically in front of you along with your aperitifs. These treats are followed by a tantalising amuse-bouche, compliments of the restaurant's famous Michelin-starred chef. So far, so fantastico! Alas, when you receive your menus, you notice the white printed board is slightly smudged and dog-eared from previous use. Your waiter arrives, and his temperament seems sullen, almost to the point of being rude. His knowledge of tonight's specials is somewhat sketchy and unconvincing. The sommelier informs you that the wine you've selected from their vast cellar 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 explanation and worse, 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 the decadent hot chocolate fondant. You're advised it will take twenty minutes to prepare, but you don't mind; you're enjoying the excellent company. Except it takes forty-five...
Thankfully, the rest of the evening is incident-free; however, the experience has not matched your expectations nor the restaurant's reputation. This is not a cheap place. It was supposed to be a very special occasion for a very special person. This is not a time you can get back. On paper, the restaurant had many of its touchpoints aligned, but it's the inconsistencies that leave a lasting impression on you. How did they make you feel? What will you tell your friends and colleagues about your experience? Will you ever return to Restaurant Fantastico? Will you leave a review of your night on Tripadvisor or Yelp? The above example highlights that seemingly minor irregularities in your brand touchpoints can quickly add up to a significant breach of trust for your audience. The result 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 precisely the same for your brand, regardless of whatever 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 evident 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