Selecting branding touchpoints: easier than picking an insurance plan!
It’s been said that a brand is the summation of all the touchpoints for a business, including toilet paper. It is true that your perception (which is your brand) is affected by every touchpoint or encounter that your target audience has with you… and it’s not limited to your website. Although you might not be focused on a “great coffee experience” and don’t have to worry about providing customers with quality toilet paper, you should consider every moment when your target audience engages with you. Fortunately, businesses have some control over when and where: websites, customer service, marketing emails, lead magnets, social media, print and video ads… the list is quite extensive. There’s more good news! Selecting branding touchpoints doesn’t have to be a complex calculus problem. Here are 3 suggestions for selecting branding touchpoints for your business.
1. Map everywhere your target audience will, or could, experience you.
This is, essentially, the “customer journey map” you create when reviewing your customer experience branding. Rather than taking the perspective of what your target audience currently experiences, keep this broad: what other points of contact are available (even if you don’t use them)?
Remember, these could be digital design (like a website), print (like stationary), copy-related (lead magnets, newsletters), or physical (trade booth, billboard). Put it down on paper. Reports often map out stories and ideas… don’t be afraid to consider the same approach.
One way we like to organize touchpoints is based on when the touchpoint is relevant: before, during, or after purchase. This helps ensure that you aren’t focusing solely on the front-end of a relationship, but considering all points of contact throughout your target audience’s experience. That type of map could start like this:
Here’s another, more detailed sample map, organized by different categories, that shows how detailed you can make this exercise:
2. Identify a flexible priority list when selecting branding touchpoints.
Not every point of contact will be relevant to every business. How many brands need a billboard? How many brands require physical locations for their target audiences? Stationary might be fun to pick, but will you actually mailing anything at all?
Be flexible – you might realize within a few months (or weeks) that you’ll meet your target audience better with an emailed newsletter rather than a static blog.
According to one survey websites are still the primary touchpoint for consumers… but don’t limit yourself. Selecting branding touchpoints is about seeking your target audience and finding them where they are. That same survey cites email, mobile, social media, and search engines as critical.
Gone are the days when business correspondence was sent to a mailroom. As this commentator wistfully points out, email has replaced printed, mailed letters. Email accompanies a wide range of touchpoints, whether sending newsletters, marketing funnels and delivering lead magnets, responding to online orders, or customer service follow up.
3. Don’t be afraid to explore.
Have fun. Don’t be afraid to be an early adopter of new marketing strategies – or at least try. Brands must meet consumers where they are found, which could include any number of social media platforms beyond facebook, or on mobile devices rather than desktops. One caveat: don’t follow a trend for the sake of the trend: always keep in mind your target audience and positioning. What works for one brand will not work for all brands.
Remember that branding is both science and art. You are building a desired perception with a target audience. Even in your perfect target audience, individual customers will have a wide range of interests, perceptions, and stimuli that trigger their needs and wants. Some people like Facebook. Others loathe it. Some people love blogs. Others prefer to read articles with established news and business organizations. Your brand may solve the same problem for each one of them… but you must find and connect with them first. Although the touchpoints you use today might be different in a year, your end goal is the same: reach your ideal audience and make their decision—to purchase from you—easy.