Touching up brand touchpoints: Definition, importance and implementation
Adding 3D and augmented reality (AR) designed ‘magic moments’ to brand touchpoints can turn them into customer attention magnets and sales conversion flywheels.
- Why brand touchpoints represent ‘make or break’ opportunities for businesses
- How to optimize brand touchpoints to amplify outcomes
- Transforming brand touchpoints into attention magnets with 3D and augmented reality (AR)
Brand touchpoints refer to the shared moments of interaction, engagement and connection that take place between a brand and its customers. Sometimes referred to as a customer journey map, brand touchpoints can also be conceived as the stages where a brand meets and mingles with its target audience.
Brand touchpoints are where the all-important transfer of vision and values occurs between the business and the customer. Contemporary brand building takes place through these touchpoints, and they provide a stage on which marketers can play with the latest advertising trends, fashions and technologies. One such trend gaining ground is that of 3D and augmented reality, which focuses on providing unique immersive experiences, and is being endorsed by some of the world’s biggest brands.
Contemporary brand building takes place through these touchpoints, and they provide a stage on which marketers can play with the latest advertising trends, fashions and technologies.
Companies build multisensory brand touchpoints across a host of platforms and channels including online, offline, in store, and in person, in order to take potential buyers on a journey of discovery through consideration, conversion and finally post-sales. Each point acts as the brand’s fingerprint and DNA, familiarizing prospects with its unique story.
The rule of seven says that before they make a purchase, consumers typically engage with a brand seven times – across a varying mix of brand touchpoints. These seven ‘windows’ represent make-or-break opportunities for a business. In a complex and interconnected commerce ecosystem – where buyers don’t always follow traditional patterns and often prefer to DIY their exploratory shopping journeys – it is becoming more and more important for companies to decode buyer intent accurately. This can help them design brand touchpoints that are in sync with shopper behavior, mood and expectations. Recent studies tell us that buying intent and brand perception shoots up by ninety percent and sixty eight percent respectively when consumers run into consistent and easily recognizable messaging across multiple channels. Brand touchpoints must therefore be designed and delivered with equivalency and uniformity. Brand touchpoints need to guide and progressively reinforce the customer journey, nurture involvement, amplify confidence, and nudge the prospect towards the end goal of making a purchase.
The rule of seven says that before they make a purchase, consumers typically engage with a brand seven times - across a varying mix of brand touchpoints.
Brand touchpoints: The primary drivers of customer experience
Brand touchpoints directly influence customer experience (CX). Modern buyers show a palpable tilt towards brands that understand their needs and resonate with their own philosophy by delivering deeply personalized experiences. Eighty six percent of consumers are willing to pay more if they get a better experience, while eighty seven percent of business leaders in the UK and US rank CX as their most powerful engine of growth. CX, not surprisingly, enjoys the confidence of 86 percent of domain practitioners and professionals too.
Importance of brand touchpoints for businesses
According to industry research, most B2B buyers cover a good fifty seven percent of their buying journey themselves before they choose to reach out to a sales representative. Along their journey, they follow brand touchpoints laid strategically in their path by marketers, forming key opinions and taking critical decisions themselves before making direct contact with the seller. Herein lies the importance of brand touchpoints, and the main reason why they need to be constructed with insight and tact. The wrong set of brand touchpoints will only serve to turn off potential customers, costing the business dearly.
The wrong set of brand touchpoints will only serve to turn off potential customers, costing the business dearly.
Of course, this is not the only purpose brand touchpoints serve. They can also;
- Clarify what a brand stands for, demonstrating value in real time
- Build brand perception, differentiation, and aura.
- Cement trust, nurture connection, build relationships.
- Add some degree of control to PR, goodwill and reputation management.
- Help measure the performance of marketing and outreach endeavors.
- Act as important tools for refining strategy, forecasting budgets and optimizing costs.
- Help navigate marketing complexity by synergizing channels and unifying terrains.
- Open up new doors and opportunities for brands to discover markets, engage with communities and grow faster.
Different kinds of brand touchpoints
Brand touchpoints can be categorized into pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase, depending where they fall in the customer journey.
Examples of pre-purchase brand touchpoints include: websites, blogs, social media, ads (traditional, digital, native, in-game, in-movie, guerilla, outdoors, co-branding), podcasts, videos, infographics, newsletters, case studies, e-books, white papers, brochures and catalogs, reviews and recommendations, apps, loyalty programs (repeat purchase), incentivized surveys, celebrities and influencers, testimonials and success stories, events and exhibitions, online chat, text, cold calls, flyers and handouts, QR and scan codes, in-store and retail-floor messaging, ambience and presentation, interactions with teams (culture and behavior), packaging, signage, location, merchandise, sampling, business cards, courses, FAQs, word of mouth, PR and announcements and self-service experiences.
Examples of during-purchase brand touchpoints are: websites, product pages, online check-out navigation, in-store and point-of-sale, subscriptions and renewal offers, contact with sales reps, conversations with teams, emails and direct mails, retargeted ads, service and support centers, billing literature and others. Brand touchpoints during pre-purchase and during-purchase often overlap.
Some examples of post-purchase brand touchpoints include: onboarding, customer service, customer support and community building.
How to optimize brand touchpoints for better ROI?
- Identify, audit and upgrade existing brand touchpoints.
- Add new ones in harmony with customer expectations, brand purpose and business goals.
- Segregate customers by intent and plan brand touchpoints accordingly.
- Keep brand touchpoints simple, honest and easy to use. An HBR study found that brands delivering information that is clear and relevant were eighty six percent more likely to be purchased, and one hundred and fifteen percent more likely to be recommended.
- Bake-in customer support and feedback mechanisms.
- Double down on top performing brand touchpoints, identify missed opportunities and correct course for low performing ones.
- Develop an action plan with KPIs for periodical performance and review.
- Keep a finger on the pulse of market trends and fan tastes, and tweak brand touchpoints in a responsive way.
- Ensure novelty and originality in order to increase engagement.
With customers smarter than ever, and nurturing higher expectations than before, brand touchpoints have to stand above the crowd in order to make an impression upon potential prospects. Novelty – a term connoting new, original or unusual – is a proven and powerful way to accomplish that. Novelty is often regarded as the bedrock of creative advertising. Variously referred to as the ‘wow factor’ or ‘moment of magic’ in the customer journey, novelty in marketing generates an overwhelmingly positive experience that pushes prospects towards a transaction.
3D and AR is a perfect example of what novelty can do. By allowing curious fans to discover, maneuver and try out products in an intimate and highly engaging way, 3D and AR technologies such as the easy-to-use app-free web technology being pioneered at Enhance 3D and AR Solutions can capture mindshare more effortlessly and memorably than traditional approaches to brand touchpoints. For example, visually immersive ‘discovery experiences’ conceived on 3D and AR frameworks can make website visitors sixty five percent more likely to place an order, and lift sales conversions by as much as ninety four percent.
With forty seven percent of customers preferring to consume three to five pieces of content before reaching out to a brand’s sales force, the message to revenue leaders, brand custodians and entrepreneurs is clear; 3D and AR will make your brands irresistible to consumers. With brands such as the New York Times, Nike and Ikea already using the technology to great effect, and with one seventh of the world already consuming augmented reality in some form, now is the time to include the technology in your own brand strategy and customer journey.
With forty seven percent of customers preferring to consume three to five pieces of content before reaching out to a brand’s sales force, the message to revenue leaders, brand custodians and entrepreneurs is clear; 3D and AR will make your brands irresistible to consumers.