A couple of days ago I went to one of those cool coffee houses which are into every detail. 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
- Non-functional or generic packaging
- The cashier’s mood and manners when taking orders at a bar
- Inconsistent ambiance or music in each store
- Poor Instagram communication
- Not enough product information on the 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.
The huge importance of these contact points is that they represent experiences which, positively or negatively, travel directly to the portion of the brain which the customer, or future customer, will use to remember the brand. In this way, they play an important role in the creation of the reputation that this person associates with each brand.
The combination of these experiences throughout a person’s life is what 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 point with touchpoints is when they occur. Let’s consider an actual example. When buying a motorcycle, possible contacts with touchpoints would 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 pone
- 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 context is not real. It is for this reason that 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 lay 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 it offers.
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 series of empathetic or apathetic feelings. They are associating the company with negative or positive memories which will constitute the brand image, association that the brain will resort to the moment this person needs to acquire a product from this niche.
In a world where users are bombarded by experiences and messages, it is essential to keep all the touchpoints in harmony with the brand, so that when a potential buyer has to make the purchase decision, all the rough characteristics of a product are accompanied by positive experiences.
As I said at the beginning: your company is not just your product.