Have you ever thought about all the places that your audiences and customers come in contact with your brand? These places could be via a Facebook ad, a conversation with a friend, or an interaction your audience had with your blog. Those points of contact are what we call brand touchpoints.
Brand touchpoints are EVERYWHERE. It is your website, your social media accounts, your sales funnel, your marketing, your employees. It is in the way you write your sales copy, the way you Instagram Story your followers, the way your “Buy now!” link hovers… I think you get the point. Understanding and maintaining brand consistency at any one of those touchpoints is fundamental in driving loyalty to your brand. Why? Because when you have clarity on what your brand’s core values are and infuse that into everything you do, your audiences will notice. When what you do is different from your brand’s core values, they will also notice, and repeated offenses can damage your brand and lower overall credibility.
If you had never considered brand touchpoints, then this post is for you. We will learn about why brand touchpoints matter, how to identify the touchpoints that are in YOUR brand, and what you can do to maintain your touchpoints consistently across the board.
Brand touchpoints are vital in building trust
I am going take a wild stab here and assume you want to eventually generate some income with your business, whether it’s by selling a service or selling digital products. And if generating income is not part of your plan, then you are probably in the game of trying to convince your audiences to buy-in to something that you strongly believe. Whatever your reason, you need people to trust you first.
The moment we discover a new product, our subconscious brain immediately springs into action and starts evaluating that product against our internal scoreboard (ex. does the name of the brand appeal to us? How is it visually presented? Does it look like it’s a quality we can accept?).
Let’s say you purchased a soap from Brand X. You have seen their ads on the buttery smooth texture, and you have been dying to try it out. Plus you love that they smell amazing. You decide to try it out. As you take the soap out of the packaging, you immediately notice the soap was not buttery smooth as it was advertised, instead it felt quite rough. Despite trying to smooth it out by soaking it, some of the surfaces remained sharp. The soap still smells nice otherwise, but it was impossible to apply onto your skin directly. How does this make you feel? You probably felt cheated by Brand X for its false advertisement of the buttery smooth texture.
Another example. Let’s say you are looking for a photographer for your wedding, you land on an online portfolio with absolutely stunning photographs, totally your style. You are excited and you want to reach out to the photographer to inquire about their service, but just in case, you want to look up some reviews of the photographer first. You come across a few raving reviews of how great the photographs are, but there are some red flags mentioned about the photographer, like being unresponsive days before the wedding day, being intrusive and rude to guests… Although the photographer takes amazing photos, their attitude might be the deal breaker for you if you value your guests having a great time, or if you don’t want to be stressed out days before the wedding day on the whereabouts of your photographer.
Our score of a brand is evaluated based on the CUMULATIVE scores against all of the minuscule interactions we have with that brand. And you guessed it, EACH of those minuscule interactions (ex. the online reviews, people’s attitudes, false advertisements…) is a brand touchpoint.
Now that you understand a bit more of what a brand touchpoint is, your head is probably buzzing to figure out all the touchpoints your audiences have with your brand and wondering if you are dropping the ball somewhere. Don’t worry, we will figure all of that out shortly in the final section of this post. For now, I want to address the one overarching question that’s on the back of your mind, which is…
How do you drive consistency across all brand touchpoints
You hear the word consistency everywhere when it comes to running an online business. Being consistent with your brand touchpoints is no different.
Being consistent can mean many different things, but the best way to maintain consistency is to go back to the basis: defining your brand values.
Your brand values are the cornerstone qualities of your brand that you absolutely believe in. Without these cornerstone qualities, your brand will not be complete. It is apart of who you are, your purpose and goals, and everything you do in your business. When you come up with a new idea or make a decision, it’s that gut-check on whether this new idea or decision aligns with those cornerstone qualities.
For example, if you were running a bakery that only serves vegan cakes, you will make sure every recipe you come up with are vegan-friendly (ex. no dairy, eggs, honey…). In addition, you’d probably market and decorate your bakery without those things (ex. a drawing of a chicken), neither will you make those products available over the counter. It is exactly this consistency that your customers will watch out for as they engage with your business. Just imagine, if you market your business as a vegan bakery, yet you offer milk and cream as condiments for coffee. Even something as small as that will get picked up by the sharpest customers, and they will wonder whether you use those in your cakes. Even if you don’t, they may start to doubt you.
To ensure our brand is consistent across all of our touchpoints, defining your core brand values is the first step. It is important that your brand values are crafted from a place of intention, purpose, and your deepest beliefs.
At BeBright.co, my brand values align deeply with my “why”, which draws from 3 things:
- My past experiences – what I have seen in this space, what I have personally tried and learned, what works well and what doesn’t.
- Who I am as a person – I am a big personal growth nerd, and creativity is my oxygen. Who I am is a big part of how I present my brand to the world.
- Coming from a place of heart – money is secondary, educating and providing value comes first and foremost.
Revisit the why behind your business is fundamental in establishing trust with your audiences. If you don’t have a why yet, then I invite you to really start thinking about it. Pro tip: the best times to think is when you are away from the screen. Stand up from your chair and take a stroll outside (or take a shower)! My biggest realizations and aha-moments comes from the times when I am offline.
Identifying your brand touchpoints
As you have already learned, there are numerous spots your audiences engage with your brand, some can be really obvious, but others can be quite subtle.
Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience
The first steps to identifying your brand touchpoints are to detach yourself as the business owner and put yourself in the shoes of your target audience.
To help you with this exercise, pretend you are your target audience and imagine yourself in the following scenarios. Where would your business or brand come into the picture when your audience…
- Have a question?
- Require immediate assistance with a problem?
- Are interested in purchasing a product or service?
- Would like to learn more about about an aspect of the business or brand itself?
- Want to see if the brand aligns with your values?
- Disagree with something?
- Want to get involved with the brand?
As you go through each scenario, try to write down as many touchpoints as you can identify.
Determine your major brand outlets (online + offline)
Where does your business hang out online and offline? Where are you most active on, where are you not active on but may still have a presence in? Here are some ideas to get you started:
|Social networks||Physical stores|
|Word of Mouth|
Hone in on your brand touchpoint lifecycle
The brand touchpoint lifecycle is an ongoing cycle that consists of 5 stages, beginning with the discovery phase:
- Discovery – the first time someone comes in contact with your brand
- Trust-building – where your content and everything you do within your business is evaluated over and over
- Transaction – a level of trust has been reached and the person is now ready to buy-in to the solutions you offer by becoming a customer
- Validate – your product or services are evaluated on whether their promises were fulfilled
- Commitment – you have fulfilled your brand promise at every stage, the customer has just converted to a loyal fan
Ask your audiences for feedback
And finally, just to make sure we cover all of our bases when it comes to our brand touchpoints… collect feedback from your audiences.
Feedback can be collected at various touchpoints within your brand: such as when someone just enters your email funnel, after they have purchased a product, or via a tweet or social post. Capturing these feedback at different stages could uncover missed touchpoint opportunities or areas where brand interactions could be improved.
With everything you’ve written down so far, you’ve got yourself a pretty solid list of your brand touchpoints. Do you feel you are able to provide your audiences a consistent brand experience in all of those touchpoints? If not, what can you do to ensure you are sending them a consistent message? Perhaps it may require another look at your “why” and getting even more specific about what you are trying to achieve and what your brand values are.
Your brand touchpoints are littered throughout your brand. Having a solidified core brand strategy trickles into every aspect of your business, from an audiences’ initial discovery of your brand, to them purchasing a product or service from you, to maintaining that positive relationship beyond the sale.