Brand Touchpoints

By Olson, Chris | Information Outlook, November 2003 | Go to article overview

Brand Touchpoints


Olson, Chris, Information Outlook


Last month I introduced the new Brand Team Notes Web page, reviewed key branding activities, and discussed brand promises. This month's column focuses on brand touchpoints and how our branding initiative can take advantage of them.

What's a Brand Touchpoint?

Touchpoints are all of the physical, communication, and human interactions our audiences--members, staff members, suppliers/vendors, management/investors, partners, prospective members, educators, media--experience during their relationship life cycle with our association. Every day people make decisions and create perceptions about information professionals based on their experiences and interactions with our association and our professional colleagues. The concept of a brand touchpoint is key to understanding and managing the brand experience and its impact on memories and perceptions.

If you consider the various ways our association brand interacts with and impacts different stakeholders, it becomes clear that managing brand interactions, or "touchpoints," is critical to the success of our brand. Touchpoints can include websites, newsletters, phone conversations with staff members, conferences, press releases, division initiatives, advertisements, networking introductions, sponsorships, awards, publications, announcements, mentoring chats, presentations, chapter meetings, referrals, seminars, exhibit displays, promotion items, interviews, communities--to name a few. Each touchpoint offers us the opportunity to establish and build our brand into a positive experience and memory.

Managing Brand Touchpoints

Association members, staff, and other stakeholders could be experiencing our brand touchpoints as many as 100 times a day. Multiply this by the number of people experiencing the interactions, and it becomes apparent that every day our brand touches scores of people hundreds of times. Just imagine how much marketing and communication campaigns can increase the number of touchpoint occurrences!

Most brand touchpoints tend to fall within one of three broad experience categories, expressed in the terms suitable for the stakeholder group. For instance, the three touchpoint categories for members would be pre-member, member, and post-member. Experience categories for your information service customers could be labeled pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase. Regardless of the vocabulary, it's clear that there are three distinctly different times when touchpoints leave an impression.

The first category for our association brand is the pre-member experience. The touchpoints in this category represent the different ways potential members interact with our brand before becomingbefore becoming members. Contacts such as membership recruitment campaigns, association news broadcasts, and conversations with nonmember colleagues are examples of pre-member experience touchpoints. …

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