Date Tags treasure

Where do your customers touch your brand? What is the experience like? How do prospects find out about you? What do they learn? Do you know? Apparently, geocaching has been identified as the biggest treasure hunt in the world.

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get so caught up in running the business that you overlook what your brand experience is like for customers. To find out, you need to step into their shoes. When you do that, you’ll see there are a lot of contact points, what marketers call touchpoints. The obvious ones include the product or service itself; its colors, design, and packaging; the advertisements and tagline; its placement in the store; and the ways that salespeople talk about your brand. If you’re a retailer, touchpoints include the store, its location, the retail environment, the music, even the smell of the store.

It’s important to make these “real” touch points as personal, meaningful, and experiential as possible so there’s a real contrast with virtual touchpoints and virtual competitors. Your customers don’t have to do business with you, the local merchant; they can get everything online, probably even at a lower price. So there has to be a different connection, a feeling of community and a sense that the company is a source of respected advice, as there was with the old market culture of the bazaar or the shops of trusted local merchants.

Today’s social media, mobile media, and new technology have created many new touchpoints that are not local but reach a global audience. In addition to Internet vehicles such as your website, e-newsletter, email campaigns, blog, and social media campaigns, there are potentially thousands of new digiworld touchpoints created by others on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, third-party review forums such as Yelp, and the like. These touchpoints are very fluid and mutable because others can take your message and do a mashup or criticize your offering.

Still other touchpoints are more subtle: the way your business telephone is answered, what your customer-service experience is like, even the look and feel of your billing invoice. Each of these contacts or touchpoints affects the impression your brand makes in the minds of your customers and clients. You want every one of them to convey the right brand impression, be consistent, and be consistently positive as much as possible.