There are a lot of small business owners who think the word brand refers to their company logo. And it does. But that’s only one component of your brand. There are so many more touch-points that people will come into contact with regularly that all impact the way a potential customer will think and feel about you. Some of the touch-points fall under the marketing bailiwick and some will fall under customer service or even operations.
The most important thing to remember about your brand is that it permeates far deeper than just the fonts and iconography associated with your logo and collateral.
There are actually so many more than ten touch-points, however in the spirit of sticking to our ‘Ten Years of Insight’ theme, I’ll start off with ten for now…
Touch-point #1 – Website
We’ll start with the obvious – does your website reflect the look and feel of your other marketing collateral? As a global economy, there are generally many search results that might come up for a person if they type in your business name – let’s try and make it very obvious for people which website belongs to you!
Now, let’s dig deeper. What’s the visitor experience when they get to your website. Can they find what they are looking for easily? Is your content a true reflection of the personality of your brand? Is the information up to date? Is the functionality clunky? Is the website responsive to mobile?
People have zero patience these days, if your potential customers first experience of your organisation is your website – which is highly likely – then this is where we must make a good impression.
Touch-point #2 – Facebook
How does your Facebook content reflect your organisation? Are you simply using this platform as a place to push out messages that are all about you? Or are you entertaining, surprising, informing or adding value to your Facebook community.
Facebook is the perfect medium to push the people behind your brand and organisation to the forefront and allow your customers to connect with real people.
Are you publishing regular content on Facebook or do you leave your Facebook community high and dry for months at times when you get too busy to post? And if so, what do you think this says about you as a brand?
Touch-point #3 – Signage
How up-to-date and impressive is your company signage? If someone was to see the signage on your building or perhaps the signage on your cars / fleet of trucks, whatever the case may be, what impression do you think they may form about your company – from this single touch-point? I’m assuming if the signage is faded, tired and dated – that could reflect those characteristics. What about a sign that is too small to read? Frustrating and potentially positions you as not confident enough to invest into your marketing.
Touch-point #4 – Print Advertising
Is this consistent with all of your other marketing? If someone was to visit your website as a result of seeing your ad – would they know it’s the same company? Does your print advertising look different from one publication to the next? Are you making it easy for people to find the information they need in your advertising? Does your ad look visually appealing or have you loaded it with so much copy that it looks overwhelming and ugly in the eyes of a potential consumer?
Touch-point #5 – Staff
This is a massive touch-point! The experience that your staff can create for a consumer can be instrumental in influencing whether that customer buys, whether they return, whether they gush about your company to anyone who will listen, whether they swear never to return or even worse, whether they express complete indifference to your company as you have only just managed to meet their expectations. An inspired and energised front-line staff can inject serious positivity into any brand experience, during work hours as well as out of work hours!!
Touch-point #6 – Bricks and Mortar experience
What is the gut feel that your customer will get when they cross the threshold of your physical space? Whether customers access you at an office, a café, a shop or a market stall, all of their senses have the capacity to be activated during this experience. So potential considerations are the music you play, the interior décor, product display, how your staff look and act and treat them, the smell of your space, the location of your space, the view from you space. These are all things that are being subconsciously collected and judged by a customer when they come into your physical space. What does your space say about you?
Touch-point #7 – Every day emails (ie. Not your marketing campaign emails)
Marketing campaigns are designed to create a favourable impression of your business. However, what about the emails that you and your staff are flicking back and forward to customers day-to-day. What’s the tone of your emails to all stakeholders? Is it consistent no matter who the customer or stakeholder interacts with in the business? What about your email signature – what does that say about your business? Does it land consistently in your email recipients inbox or does it blow out and overwhelm the communication unnecessarily? Is everyone in your organisation on the same page in regards to responding to new enquiries or even in terms of how quickly you will respond to all emails? Do you have an out of office policy that lets people know when people aren’t there as opposed to just leaving emailers hanging for 2 weeks receiving no response??
Touch-point #8 – Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is categorised under the heading of ‘earned media’. This is something that you can inspire and influence however you don’t have control over it. What do you think your customers are out there telling people about your business? Are they even talking about you at all?
Touch-point #9 – Online Reviews
These are hugely underestimated by small business. On line reviews on platforms such as Google, Facebook and TripAdvisor can be a crucial influencer in purchase decisions made by your customers. Particularly in the hospitality industry and particularly with Trip Advisor. I’ve had way too many people tell me that they booked their entire holiday based on Trip Advisor reviews. What do your reviews say about you?
Touch-point #10 Publicity
Stories that people read in the news about your brand can have a huge impact on the impression that people form about your brand. This is another aspect that comes under the heading of ‘earned media’. It’s something we can try and influence to a degree however the editors have final say of what is disseminated. Something to keep in mind is that if you make yourself known to key journalists in your industry you can feed them information and position yourself as a go-to expert in your field. This can lead to the journo’s making you their first port-of-call for commentary on industry happenings.