When you read this you’ll understand a little further as to what a touch point truly is, especially in this digital age, and how you can put your brand in the forefront of others’ minds. With this knowledge you will have true branding power!
So, what is a touch point in real terms?
There are a number of definitions and is best summarised as ‘any encounter between a brand and a person’… and I mean ANYthing you see, hear, touch, smell or taste. We tend to associate an ‘encounter’ with a brand to be an advert, website or shopping experience, i.e. a visual experience and usually one where we are being sold to directly. It goes so far beyond this and that where YOUR business can transform its position in the market. The vast majority of touch points don’t sell anything… consciously at least.
Think about every time you put on a pair of your shoes or clothing, every time you sit in your car, go to your bank… all these entities are
things you have a connection with, trust, feel safe in or with, and desire. Each encounter is a touch point that cements your relationship with that brand so when you are ready to purchase again your first instinct is to check out the same brand to see what’s new… right?
And these are brands within your immediate sphere, so how about the brands from whom you have not purchased yet? For instance,
when you get into someone else’s car or see someone else’s handbag, shoes or mobile phone; Every time you walk down the high street,
receive an email, search on Google and see additional results other than the one you were looking for... Each is a touch point that a new
brand is having with you. And each touch point sparks an emotion.
Have you ever had that thought, “I want one of those”? That is the brand calling out to you just to say, “When you are ready, I am here and ready for you to buy me.” Those are conscious touch points… but what about the ones that trigger the subconscious. Subconscious touch points are those that trigger unconscious thought which have a conscious effect. For example, seeing or smelling food can subconsciously make us hungry and this can in turn affect our decision making process. OK, enough technical!
The point is that while you are conscious of some brand touch points, others are being processed by your mind and banked for later. An example of this is when you last went to the supermarket cashier. The conveyor belt is stacked with different brands and when you encounter the cashier who is wearing branded clothing and a smile, your shopping is loaded into a branded carrier bag and you are handed a branded receipt. Some of these touchpoints might go “unnoticed” but not unprocessed. That touch point, experience if you will, with the brand and the person representing it leaves an impression in your mind. The brand is wielding its power and tempting you to engage with it and come back for more.
And here’s the staggering point. On average our brains process in excess of 60,000 brands per day from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. 60,000…WOW! When you wake up in branded bed linen, brush your teeth with branded toothpaste… with branded water (oh yes, even the water company has a brand you can get familiar with!).
OK, OK… so I have laboured on about touchpoints in branding… and for good reason. What is the point and how can this help you?
Well, if you are encountering that many brands every day then so is your target audience. All your existing customers who would purchase
more from you and your potential customers who would choose you if they began to know, like and trust you enough to engage with you not
just once, but multiple times. The question is…is your brand one of the many your audience is encountering? Is your brand out there in front of your target customers enough? What impressions and emotions are your brand touchpoints triggering with them? Does it represent you and what they see, hear, smell, taste or touch in the way you want it to?
Once you know how your audience reacts to certain touchpoints you will be able to turn your brand communication power up to “transformational” levels!
Is the impression your brand leaves enough to start word of mouth touch points? Oh… is word of mouth a touchpoint too? Of course! Do you remember the last time as a consumer you recommended a restaurant, a film or holiday? Or in business have you ever recommended a product or a service to a colleague or client, yes or no? Would you agree that most of us do? It is the human condition! Every time your customers refer you to people who trust them, YOUR brand and the experience they associate with it is expressed to your target audience through that brand touch point.
Is your brand keeping up with the new revolution in brand communication techniques both offline and online? You are already using communication channels that could be transformed into a powerful touch point beacons. For example, do your invoices provide further information about your services, or better still offer something else of value to your customers absolutely free? Does your website offer the chance for its visitors to share the information with their social networks? These are just simple ones…
Review how you are using touchpoints at every opportunity in your business and maximise your visibility wherever and whenever you can!