As we’ve learned, branding is not what we say it is; it’s public perception. Great brands understand the power of design. The brands that usually come to mind are Nike, Target, Coca-Cola, Disney, Starbucks. And certainly they bring creativity and design to everything they do, far beyond their websites. All of the ways customers experience your brand are called touchpoints. We are going to wrap up this series on branding by talking about some of the other touchpoints to pay attention to that can round out the brand experience.

As we’ve learned, branding is not what we say it is; it’s public perception. Great brands understand the power of design. The brands that usually come to mind are Nike, Target, Coca-Cola, Disney, Starbucks. And certainly they bring creativity and design to everything they do, far beyond their websites. All of the ways customers experience your brand are called touchpoints. We are going to wrap up this series on branding by talking about some of the other touchpoints to pay attention to that can round out the brand experience.

Every way that customers contact the brand creates an impression of the brand. Some of them are obvious, like print materials, packaging, marketing, and one-on-one interactions. Others like post sales support or intangible benefits received might not be so apparently conceived as part of the brand strategy. Figure out what your most influential touchpoints are and address them appropriately.

Here are a few basic branding touchpoints to consider:

Print and Promotional Materials

Business Cards, brochures, banners, signage, packaging, shirts, and other promotional items – all of these items are opportunities for the public to see and feel your presence. So again, be consistent with your visuals as far as the identity system and quality of each piece. And be consistent between your vision, values, mission and your visual voice.

Also, pay attention to the details in every piece. What does it feel like, what’s it made of, does it convey smart thinking, does it evoke a particular emotion? For instance, what do you want your business card to communicate about the company? What kind of paper or printing techniques should you use? Your card should make clear what you do and how you are different. Take advantage of the space on the back of the card. And of course, make sure your website URL appears clearly someplace.

Events

Every event you participate in or host has multiple opportunities to reach out. What do the materials you display say about your company? Are they consistent with your brand identity? What about the event itself? The types of events you are involved in communicate something as well. And once there, is the presence of your staff consistent with your vision and values? How do they look, how do they represent? If you are at a tradeshow, consider using a QR code to direct people to your site. And if so, would you benefit from having a mobile version of your website? If you attend a lot of tradeshows, the answer should be yes.

Customer Service

What is the experience of dealing with your company like? Is it easy to reach a live voice? Is the contact information on the website easy to locate? Would you benefit from having a Live Chat feature on your website? And is your staff friendly, helpful, supportive, considerate? How about the voicemail system? Is it efficient, professional? And what do they hear while on hold? What are all phone interactions like? Do they support your brand identity?

Public Relations

Naturally, if branding is public perception, any public relations activities are important. At the very least, consider well-written, professionally edited press releases. Consider assembling a press kit, getting public speaking engagements, monthly newsletters, and of course, blogging and social media. You might also consider what types of organizations you could get involved in, volunteer for, or otherwise support.

Everything you do communicates something. Some methods will be obvious and some may not. Some may influence or impress and some may be used for damage control. Pay attention to all of these touchpoints and how they represent your brand.

You’ll notice that many of these things still relate or connect back to your website. That’s why we believe a branded website is something all companies need. A great website is foundational for any brand. So invest in your branded website. It can be the best thing you can do for your business.