Creating Brand Touchpoints
When your customers buy your products and services, they go through a distinct set of steps, sort of a process. We call it the customer experience, or sometimes the brand experience when it’s related to a brand.
Each step of the experience is called a touchpoint where you can, figuratively speaking, touch the customer and reinforce the brand promise. This forms a tighter, more loyal relationship with the customer.
The first step is to define the touchpoints for the typical customer.
The first is Need Recognition. This is where customers realize that they want something.
The next step is Information Search where they gather information from a wide variety of sources. This is a critical step because this is when a customer is most receptive to your brand message.
Once a customer gathers information, they Evaluate the Alternatives based on what features are most important and which brand does the best job in delivering those features.
Eventually, they go to the Purchase Phase, where they actually buy the product.
You might think that the buying process ends here with the final purchase. But there’s one last step called the Post Purchase Behavior phase. Once customers start using the product, they compare the results with their expectations. Did the product work as expected? How did the product make them feel when they used it? What do they say to others about their experience?
Once you define the touchpoints, you have to decide where the touchpoint happens, when it happens, and what to say to the customer that relates to the brand promise. You want to make sure the customer fully recognizes, understands, and appreciates everything about the brand at each step as they make their decisions to buy.
In the next lesson, I’ll describe a great tool to help you convey what the brand is all about. It’s called The Brand Book.
Creating the Brand Book
One of the most important steps in the brand-building process is to create a brand book. Just as the name implies, the brand book is the complete story of the brand and all the elements that go into it. It establishes strict guidelines on every aspect of how a company’s brand will be managed.
This affects everything from how the logo can be used, the look of a website, how social media is used, advertising, product design, and so on.
A basic Brand Book should include:
- An overview of brand values, the core promise, the drivers, and persona.
- Logo specifications and examples of how to use it.
- Logo lockups for different uses.
- Color palette.
- Font styles.
- Image and photography guidelines.
- Writing style and tone of voice.
- Brochure guidelines.
- Specifications for signage and outdoor advertising.
- Design layouts for print and web-based projects.
- Store design.
- Social media guidelines.
- Letterhead and business card design.
Be sure to include visual or written examples of each of these. The more detailed information you include in the brand book, the more helpful it will be to make sure the brand is managed consistently.
While these guidelines are important, a great brand book goes even further. It could be used to train your entire team. It could help employees understand the brand’s essence. It could be created in a way that inspires people to believe in the brand. It might include stories about the brand and how it served its customers. It could outline brand goals and how it links to the company’s strategy. A brand book can help employees know what it means to live the brand day in and day out.
Great branding is about making and keeping promises in a consistent way. A brand book is an essential tool to help you do just that.