A great way to design a holistic brand experience it to consider all customer touchpoints—the places the brand touches the customer. Planning a touchpoint strategy that reflects customer needs and brand positioning throughout the experience cycle is an important step toward building a consistently strong brand.
Experiencing the Logo
The best graphic identities translate well to a variety of customer touchpoints. Large firms with literally thousands of touchpoints require the most flexible graphic identities. The brand image must be preserved as the logo is applied to everything from paper cups to ocean liners. Smaller firms may not have as many requirements, but the same logic applies—even the smallest business has invoices and a website, and these touchpoints merit consideration.
Production techniques, graphic standards, and a right-sized plan are worth some upfront investment to ensure each touchpoint expresses the graphic identity as intended. It’s not only protecting an investment, but the entry point through which people experience a brand.
Connecting the Dots
Touchpoint planning is about connecting the dots before a customer experiences your brand. As such, the exercise is a key part of designing strong identity programs.
Not all touchpoints are the same, nor do they have equal value. Some touchpoints happen almost all at once and, therefore, require greater continuity than those that exist separately. Some touchpoints occur regularly, which implies a kind of rhythm, while others are ad hoc, providing a little splash or surprise. Some touchpoints may go overlooked by customers, while others directly influence their buying decision.
Customer Experience Planning
Customer touchpoints shape a customer’s perception of a brand. These perceptions shape brand identity as much as the work of any designer or brand manager. After all, brand identity is all about what the customer thinks—not what you think. Customer perceptions are created by a series of touchpoints—the interactions customers have with a brand.
Touchpoint maps are a good tool for planning the ideal customer experience.
Customer experience planning is a powerful brand-management tool. It provides a framework not only for answering key questions but also for realizing better outcomes: How do customers currently experience a brand? What about competitive brands? How would you like them to experience the brand? Changing, adding, or removing touchpoints can reshape the customer’s perception of your brand.