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Keep in touch: supporting your brand with touchpoints

A couple of years ago, Mercedes commissioned a market research firm to identify all the 'touchpoints' its customers had with the brand (in other words, all the different ways that customers interacted with the brand). How many do you think there were?

A couple of years ago, Mercedes commissioned a market research firm to identify all the ‘touchpoints’ its customers had with the brand (in other words, all the different ways that customers interacted with the brand). How many do you think there were? 

The answer (from memory, which may be a bit hazy) was about 250. Now, I can’t even think of 250 ways that I could stumble across the Mercedes brand, but they did.

We all have touchpoints for our personal brand. These can be formal, like your business card, or informal, like meeting you in the lift. Imagine you’re walking down the road and someone bumps into
you. You’re in a foul mood so you turn round and shout abuse at them.
Later that day you’re in a meeting. What if they other person witnessed
your outburst? What if they were the one you shouted abuse at? What
will they be thinking of you? Your personal brand is under scrutiny all
the time.

If I think of my own personal brand, then I can think of the following touchpoints off the top of my head:

  1. My website
  2. Emails/letters to
    1. friends
    2. people in my network
    3. clients
    4. suppliers
  3. Emails from me that get forwarded to other people
  4. My voicemail greeting
  5. Voicemail messages I leave for other people
  6. Talking on the phone
  7. My articles in Personal Branding Magazine
  8. Workshops
  9. Presentations
  10. The marketing for my workshops and presentations
  11. Other people’s marketing for workshops and presentations at which I’m presenting
  12. My press releases
  13. Press releases I write on behalf of clients
  14. Online directories (too many to list here)
  15. Offline directories (ditto)
  16. Personal recommendations
  17. My business card
  18. Face to face meetings
  19. Meeting me outside work
  20. Seeing me outside work
  21. My blog
  22. My comments on other people’s blogs
  23. My listing in people’s blogrolls
  24. My Amazon book reviews
  25. My LinkedIn profile
  26. Emails I send through LinkedIn
  27. My Ecademy profile
  28. Emails I send through Ecademy
  29. My Naimz profile
  30. My office space
  31. My work space when I’m in a client’s office

I could keep going. It’s a bewildering array, and one which you wouldn’t necessarily appreciate until you start to write it down. What’s more, the principles of branding, and integrated marketing communications,  suggest that you should strive to maintain consistency (the recipient gets the same message regardless of how they encounter your brand or when) and clarity (they can understand the message easily) across ALL of them. In other words, no matter how someone encounters your brand, the brand message and values that they get should be the same. Which is a bit of a kicker when you realise that not all of your touchpoints will be under your control. Moreover, they  should get regular exposure to your message (‘constancy’).

In a future post I’ll write about what you can do about the stuff that is outside your control. For now, however, I have an assessment exercise for you.

  1. Take a sheet of paper and divide it into 7 columns (or alternatively register on robcuesta.com and download a worksheet from the user download area, under Exude)
  2. Down the first column list ALL the touchpoints that you can think of for your personal brand
  3. In the next column note against each touchpoint whether you have control of it or not (in other words, do you control the message that is given to the customer or not. As an example, I am in control of the clothes I choose to wear. I am not in control of what other people write or say about me). If you want to answer "both" for something, then ask yourself if you have lumped two or more touchpoints together. For example we don’t control what other people say about us in their blog, but we do control our response through comments, so list the two separately.
  4. Consider the balance between control/no control. Are you happy with it?
  5. In the next column write what aspects of your brand the touchpoint particularly affects. I use the ‘POWER’ model for this (see my earlier post here), so if something reflects my Offering I’d write ‘O’ in the column, if it reflects my Personality and my Worldview I’d write ‘PW’
  6. In the next three columns column rank yourself from 0 (not at all) to 5 (completely) on
    1. how consistent the message that people get through that touchpoint is with your brand overall
    2. how clearly your message is expressed in that touchpoint
    3. how much that touchpoint can contribute to maintaining a regular stream of brand communication
  7. In the final column, write 3 actions you could take to move those scores up towards 5
  8. Repeat the assessment every 6 months

I’ve put a template for this exercise on the registered user area of my website. To download a copy go to the site and register. It’s free, and you won’t find your inbox filled with a stream of spam.

And of course, if you don’t know what brand message you should be communicating, if you need more control over your brand, if you need some clarity and consistency, or if you’d like some ideas for building constancy, email me and we can discuss how your brand is doing.

Bye for now


1 Comment

  1. Rob,
    Wonderful post! As always, chocked full of practical application that you can use right now. I really liked the lead in with the touch points and am registered on your website so I’ll look for that worksheet ASAP.
    For me, one of my indirect touch points, is my vehicle. Everyone sees the sign and those who don’t know me, call and ask “what do you do?” (who could ask for anything more from mobile marketing) and those who do know me and see the signage that I have on my vehicle say, that it reminds them to make some great connections that day.
    Maria Elena Duron

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