A couple of days ago I went to one of those cool coffee houses in which every decorative detail is carefully thought out. I placed my order and instantly got my cup of coffee. The problem was that I had to wait for about 20 minutes before drinking it, since it was as hot as lava, even with a second paper cup covering the first one.
- Packaging details.
- The mood and manners of employees representing a brand.
- Ambiance and music in a store.
- Instagram communication.
- Company website.
These are a few of the things which in branding are known as touchpoints. In other words, touchpoints are all the points through which a person makes contact with the brand which goes beyond the product or service itself.
These contact points are important because they represent experiences by which the customer or potential customer will (positively or negatively) remember the brand. In this way, they play an important role in creating the reputation of the brand in the minds of consumers.
The combination of these touchpoints throughout a person’s experience with the brand creates the Brand Image.
A product is the most representative touchpoint (or experience) a customer has with a brand, but the product never takes place before the purchase experience.
The key with touchpoints is when they occur. Let’s consider an actual example. When buying a motorcycle, possible touchpoints could be:
- I see an ad
- I enter the brand’s website
- I watch a video on YouTube
- I go to the dealer
- I speak to a salesperson
- I test the product
- I repeat the previous experiences several times
- I buy the product!
- I use the product! (after +6 previous experiences with the brand)
- I check the user manual
- I contact the after-sales service by phone
- I visit the service
In this simplified example of the process, everything that a person perceives about a brand has nothing to do with the product, but with the impressions that communication gives about said product. Even when a possibility exists of testing the product ( which is not always possible) we only have a partial experience of the product’s reality since the experience is out of context. For this reason, the different contact points previous to the moment of purchase or brand recognition play a key role in the perception of the product, and they laying the foundation for the relationship that will be established with the brand, even when the person does not have a direct need to purchase the product or service offered.
Every time a person stops to look at the exterior of a store, enters the website, sees an ad, handles the packaging at the supermarket, or watches a video on Instagram, they are associating a logo, the visual representation of a company, with a their feelings. These positive or negative memories associated with the brand will constitute the brand image in the mind of each consumer.
In a world where users are bombarded by experiences and messages, it is essential to keep all touchpoints harmonized with the brand, so when a potential buyer has to make the purchase decision, the main characteristics the product are accompanied by positive experiences.
As said at the beginning — your company is not just your product.