I’ve written in the past about pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase brand touch points — all those interactions that take place between the customer and your brand before, during, and after the sale.
In the world of brand touch points, there’s a special category of equally important interactions, although they’re less direct. “Influencing” touch points can indirectly drive your business success.
An annual report usually isn’t used as a tool directly in the sales process, but prospects might review this document to gain a sense of stability, progress and leadership.
Referrals, online reviews, testimonials, and other word of mouth and social media interactions are influencing touch points. So are event sponsorships, speaking engagements, community involvement, and other goodwill.
Each of these touch points — and more — are indirect brand interactions that don’t actively promote your brand messaging, but still serve a vital role in supporting your brand identity and influencing what kind of brand image is formed. In many instances, these interactions are not something that can be directly controlled or managed.
What you can do, however, is carefully craft your brand identity (which identifies the standard by which all of your brand touch points should be delivered) and then purposely and intentionally activate the brand identity to promote the formation of the desired brand image by your target audiences.
For example, by providing the level of service, product quality, pricing, product features and benefits, warranty service, packaging, and more that is prescribed within your brand identity platform, you cultivate positive associations that will carry over into your influencing brand touch points such as customer reviews, event sponsorships, community involvement, and the others you’ve defined in your touch point management plan.
You wouldn’t stand up and actively discuss why one should buy your brand during a local United Way fundraiser, but your image — and that of the business or brand you are associated with — stands to gain as a result of your involvement with the community, as strategically prescribed in your brand identity.
The prevalence of social media being used today enable customers to become vocal brand activists — for or against. Product reviews, user testimonials and recommendations, forums and blogs: each and all have become major influences in the modern day selling process for b-to-c and b-to-b brands. And, what’s being said on these open platforms is rooted largely in how the brand performs delivering its more manageable touch points.
Identifying, prioritizing, and managing all of your brand touch points is simply the best way to stay on top of things. “Influencing” brand touch points are a special breed. And, though you can’t control them directly, you can influence how they’ll work for your brand. Or against it.
Need help in this area? 34 North is just a quick call away.