Brand touchpoints can be defined as the interactions and exposures that a consumer can have with a brand. Brand touchpoints are very broadly defined and include both deliberate communications from a firm/brand and communications and interactions that the consumer will have with the brand as part of their everyday life. They are often used in customer journey mapping.
Examples of brand touchpoints
Brand communications, those that are deliberately generated from the firm/brand in order to increased brand touch points to the end consumers.
Brand touch points will include exposure to all forms of advertising – TV advertising, radio advertising, newspaper/magazine advertising, online advertising, outdoor/transit advertising and so on.
Other forms of promotion
Brand touchpoints also include other forms of promotion, such as: point-of-sale material in retailers, direct marketing (mail, email, mobile text messages), exposure to the brand from sponsorships and events, and so on.
Brand/firm sales and service staff
Some brands, particularly if service based, will sell and distribute their products/services directly through their own staff. They may have their own outlets and/or a sales force and/or a call center. These customer contact staff are all forms of brand touch points.
For companies with their own retail or service outlets where customers visit, then the facilities of the store/outlet/brand would be considered another example of a brand touchpoint. These facilities may provide multiple brand touchpoints – such as, exterior signage, internal facilities, general atmosphere, interaction with staff, and so on.
Non-brand communications are the brand touch points generated from others, such as bloggers, retailers, media, and even individual consumers.
Seeing the product/brand being utilized by other people, such as family and friends, work colleagues and even strangers. Highly public products include cars, mobile phones, clothing, watches and jewelry, food and drink choices, cigarettes, branding on shopping bags, and so on.
Some consumers may have owned or consumed different products under the same brand set. For example, a young consumer could be exposed to the Kellogg’s brand through various cereals as a child. These would all be considered brand touchpoints for the Kellogg’s brand. As another example, somebody using an iPod is exposed to the Apple brand, which equals another brand touchpoint.
Consumers are likely to experience many brands across retailers. Some of these brands will be highly prominent in the store, with significant store placement, displays and supporting point-of-sale material.
Word-of-mouth – personal
From time to time, particularly for more highly involved product purchases, consumers will discuss particular product categories and particular brands. These are all brand touchpoints – that is, the consumer is being exposed or is interacting with the brand in some way.
Word-of-mouth – online
In addition to personal word-of-mouth above, online word-of-mouth (primarily through social network sites) is highly likely to generate a significant number of brand touchpoints for major brands. In addition to many people talking about the brand, major brands also construct their own social media sites, especially Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Online or other media research
Once a consumer is activated to purchase a particular product and has entered the buying decision process, then they are highly likely to undertake some form of product research. This may include reading product reviews, product ratings and other consumer assessments on comparison sites, forums and on blogging sites. Some consumers will still buy specialist magazines, or read specialist sections in newspapers to complete this research.
Some brands are quite prominent and will appear in TV shows and in movies and perhaps even in music videos. Again these are considered brand touchpoints as they expose the consumer to the brand, often with some form of implied celebrity endorsement.
For products sold through independent retailers, there will be multiple brand touchpoint situations including the interaction with the salesperson. In some situations, the salesperson will be seen as an expert in the product category and therefore his/her perception of the brand as communicated to the consumer becomes another brand touchpoint.