If you want to build a stronger brand, focus on your touch points.

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We’ve been beaten senseless with statistics on how many marketing messages we’re exposed to every day. The numbers range anywhere from 2,000 to as many as 12,000. The unfortunate fact is that we don’t even notice 95 percent (probably more) of these messages, making it that much more difficult for marketers to “capture” our attention and motivate us into making a purchase decision.

The popular argument is that more marketing boosts brand awareness and brand uniqueness, so that when customers are ready to buy, our brands will be strongly considered. By this simple rationale, the marketer with the largest marketing budget will consistently beat the odds and win. But this is not rational thinking.  It is neither strategic nor accurate, for one reason: Pouring more dollars into marketing a fuzzy brand is like shining high beams in the fog. It simply highlights a brand’s lack of clarity, and at times, confuses customers even more.

The more strategic and effective approach to creating brand awareness and communicating brand differentiation, among many other metrics, is to define your brand promise, and then direct your focus on living and delivering that promise through your brand’s touch points. Touch points are those areas where buyers connect with your brand as they move through the sales process. They can be broken down into three categories: pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase.

How is this done? Consider the example of a manufacturer promoting the following brand promise for its services division: Proven solutions for maximum uptimeSM. There are two primary messages to work with: solutions and maximum uptime. Below are several examples of how this manufacturer can live and communicate its brand promise through some primary touch points.

Pre-Purchase

Online. Content could be created around the theme of solutions through a FAQ page and case studies exemplifying solutions to common problems. This manufacturer should also do whatever is possible to ensure that its site never goes down, as it would run completely contrary to “maximum uptime.”

Marketing/PR channels. Images and content should be consistent and representative of the brand promise. The company should provide examples and other evidence of how it is able to promise solutions and maximum uptime.

Plant tours. New scripts and guidelines should be created for tours focused on the brand theme.

Purchase Points

Delivery and installation. When products are repaired and delivered, deliveries should always be on time, all the time, and the delivery team should be well schooled in proper installation, no matter what conditions or obstacles may be in the way. This would reinforce the “solutions” theme.

CSR experience. This department should be staffed with experienced, knowledgeable and creative people who know how to think on the fly. They should be able to offer ideas and solutions to even the most complex problems.

Delivery and training. There’s a lot to be said about reaffirmation of customer (purchase) decisions. When delivering the serviced product, the company rep will explain how the product was refurbished or rebuilt so that it does in fact provide maximum uptime.

Post-Purchase Points

Customer appreciation. The company needs to think in terms of what can be done to show appreciation for its customers’ business. Whether it is an event or a visit, the brand promise needs to be creatively reinforced.

Responsiveness. Since part of the theme is focused on uptime, the company will need to have an exceptionally responsive team to handle calls, inquiries, etc.

Service experience. From the perspective of the customer, any service-related issue is a violation of the brand’s promise of maximum uptime. Service should be handled quickly with minimal interruption to the customer’s business.

Warranty. The warranty should be the best, or at least one of the best in the industry.

Your brand is your greatest asset – it’s your character, your integrity and everything you stand for. A tagline is not just something that is meant to be catchy or sound good. Your customers view it as your promise, and when they connect with your brand, it is an expectation. If customers don’t experience what your tagline and marketing led them to believe, your brand credibility will lose a lot of altitude.