So you’re a part of a truly wonderful organization – your team feels like family, you provide great services, and you care about your customers. The only problem? Some of your customer experiences don’t feel unique or special to your brand… or perhaps there are a lack of experiences that could help set you apart in the minds of your customers.
These experiences are called “brand touchpoints”, and we have a leading expert to help us tackle the subject and to give you the inside scoop on all things touchpoints!
In this episode of In The Know, Andrew sits down with Hillary Feder, founder and president of Ask Hillary’s, to discuss brand touchpoints.
The episode is broken up into four chapters:
- What are brand touchpoints
- Why touchpoints are important
- How to apply brand touchpoints
- How to measure brand touchpoints
Brand touchpoints are emotional connections that an organization unlocks to create deep relationships with its clients and prospects. Touchpoints shape the way stakeholders interact with an organization by generating gut feelings.
Touchpoints vary depending on the organization and are delivered across a variety of communication channels:
- Phone call
- Printed materials
The list could go on and on but it’s important to remember that touchpoints should be unique to each individual organization as they reflect their brand, its values, and its culture. That being said, touchpoints need to be mapped out with the intended audience in mind in order to unlock an emotion. If a touchpoint misses that mark then that audience is less engaged with the organization. This means that touchpoints in the B2B space will look different to touchpoints in the B2C space.
For example, customers in the B2C space tend to place their trust in the company itself, while those in the B2B space trust the team behind the brand. That differentiation will dictate the brand touchpoint strategy moving forward.
Touchpoints are not about the transactions that are created between an organization and its clients. Rather, they are about all the other things: connections and relationships that are built and strengthened over time.
Brand touchpoints can make or break your retention efforts and even have the potential to lead to brand champions. Generating a positive gut feeling through the right touchpoint has the power to increase retention and lower churn. This allows an organization to reinvest money into its brand in different ways rather than spending it all on acquisition, which can be quite costly.
Applying Brand Touchpoints
How a brand develops and applies its touchpoints will depend on its clientele as well as its mission and goals. Afterall, recognition for a work anniversary will require a different touchpoint than recognition for a personal milestone.
Once the goal or purpose of the touchpoint has been established it’s time to identify which touchpoints will make the most sense. Drawing from your own experience and the ways you gain insight and information can help inform the application process. This will take some strategic thinking to do properly but here are some questions to get you started:
- How do we do business?
- What do our clients want?
- How do we communicate?
- How does our client communicate?
These questions may not be easy to answer. Afterall, it is difficult to read your own label from inside your own jar. Calling in a third party to come in cold and offer their unbiased opinion may help with your direction when first deciding what types of touchpoints to implement.
While more involved than recognizing a work anniversary, Hillary recommends recognizing “life cycle moments” in addition to annual milestones. Things like:
- The birth of a child
- Major life events
Often it is the little things that stand out most in working relationships. Sending out a congratulatory card or even a “Get Well Soon!” card can make all the difference when looking at client retention.
Before implementing a touchpoint make sure you understand your recipient and their personal values. If it’s a client who’s organization champions sustainability, design your touchpoint to be eco-friendly. Little touches like that show your client that you not only pay attention but also hold similar values.
When in doubt follow Hillary’s three step process for applying brand touchpoints:
- Create an exhaustive list of potential touchpoints. In the brainstorming phase start by listing possible touchpoints. Think about who the recipient is and what makes them tick.
- Evaluate and narrow down your list. Once you have your list, start narrowing it down. Get rid of touchpoints that don’t make a lot of sense or don’t target your client’s pain points. Evaluate your client’s organization to help focus your touchpoints and start grouping touchpoints together.
- Implement and develop a cadence. Now that your touchpoints are selected, assign a budget as well as a team to carry out the delivery. Developing a cadence keeps everyone on track so that important dates, anniversaries, and milestones don’t go unnoticed.
Measuring Brand Touchpoints
Some touchpoints will be more effective than others. That is why it is important to measure the success of your touchpoints over time. The tricky thing is, touchpoints are not always designed to be metric-friendly.
First let’s dive into the metric-friendly touchpoints. These are things like trend reports, website traffic, phone calls, etc. These touchpoints can be measured easily by looking at how many people opened the report or visited the website or answered the phone.
Other touchpoints like gift baskets are more difficult to measure, but not impossible. Touchpoints that do not have metrics intrinsically built in need to be looked at through a different lens. In the case of a gift basket you may receive feedback that a client loved a food item you incorporated. Or perhaps they liked the food item but did not appreciate the leaky pen that got ink all over the place
Client responses serve as a way to gauge how well-received (or not well-received) the touchpoint was and will inform your strategy going forwards. Make note of responses and metrics to optimize your touchpoint strategy.
In all, brand touchpoints are emotional connections that are used to create deep relationships with clients and prospective clients. They are valuable to any organization as they work to deepen relationships and build personal connections, all of which boosts client retention and acquisition efforts over time.
- Touchpoints are not about transactions, they are about connections
- Touchpoints need to be on-brand and an extension of your culture
- Not every touchpoint is easily measured; look at the bigger picture to gain insight