Archives for category: Touch Points

I am one of the most used words in the marketing (and business) language. In the right hands I have clout; I add value to the bottom line and I am an asset to a business. I am in all businesses, big and small, public or private, local or global. Some choose to ignore or neglect me. Those that nurture me, reap the rewards.

I have 5 letters. I can be strong or weak, positive or negative. The best kind of me is both strong and positive. Because when I am in this state my word and value spreads naturally, with ease, with warmth, with meaning.

Sadly, I am often misunderstood. Some people refer to me as my visual cousin. My visual cousin and I are good friends, we work in harmony. It’s not their fault if they disregard me over my visual cousin, they have yet to learn about my power. People who really understand me will know that it’s ‘how’ I make people feel. That’s the essential bit. It’s all about the emotion with me, that’s what makes me powerful.

If I were to sit on a couch with Graham Norton or Jonathan Ross (I would be happy to be interviewed by either – I would not feel exposed or a need to be protected from their line of questioning). I would be consistent in my answers. Consistency is important to me. Don’t get me wrong consistent doesn’t mean boring. I just find being consistent helps people to ‘get me’ – they know what to expect. My personality is expressed in many ways and one thing that remains consistent is that my personality is always a true reflection of the real me.

I behave in line with who I am. I also have the power to influence people’s behaviour. Now that’s where it gets interesting. I can launch products, create a buzz on social media, lend my good name to sister products, change people’s perceptions, make people smile, turn people into advocates. I have a lot in my locker.

I have allies in all that deliver me. It’s a fact that companies who align their team behind me have more success. Companies who invest in making me unique are also successful. And companies who understand my real value will always be successful.

On the other hand, companies who don’t understand the concept of me can meander or lose their way. They can find it hard to differentiate, or gain repeat business. They may also lose business to their competitors more easily, whilst spending too much on advertising and marketing. If only they understood me more, their world would be much different.

So what makes ‘me’ me?

I am visible – I don’t want to blend in or be the same as everyone else. I am different, unique.

I am real – People connect with me because they put their trust me, they believe me.

I am relevant – I am most powerful when I make a connection with people’s lives, with their needs and desires.

I am captivating, fascinating, enthralling – I am a true reflection of what I represent, and I do all I can to ensure that people are drawn to me.

Who am I? Send your answer to hello@happy-creative.co.uk, post if on our Facebook page (Happy Creative) or on Twitter (@Happy_Creative).

Karen Lambert is an experienced strategic marketer and Managing Director at Happy Creative, a full service marketing agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

Creating a powerful brand that customers relate to is about building the strongest positive perception you can in the minds of your customers. It is here, in the minds and the hearts of customers, that your brand lives.

That’s why companies who not only focus on how their brand is selling, but  also on the perception of their brand, prosper. Understanding brand perception is vital for everything from product/service development to positioning, market segmentation and driving the marketing mix.

Perception is formed as a result of our experiences of the company, product or service and generally falls into two main areas. The actual experience of the product such as quality, reliability and speed. And from emotion – how it makes the customer feel.

Developed over time from a variety of interactions and experiences a person has with the brand perception is a true gauge of how that person connects with the brand. Every single interaction with a brand goes to forming the perception we hold. Every phone call, every package received, every checkout interaction, every piece of collateral received all reinforce the perception.

Measuring brand perception is relevant for companies of all sizes, ages, and stages of the brand lifecycle.

For  mature companies understanding the brand perception with customers old, new and future will help  maintain the strength of the brand or indicate that it is time for a refresh. Newer businesses use results to differentiate their brand and formulate a strong market positioning. Companies extending product ranges must be clear on whether customers will accept a new product or service before they introduce it.

Here are 6 tips you should consider when you are measuring brand perception:

1. Use existing customers, lapsed customers and prospects

2. Measure awareness and preference

3. Include both behavioural and attitudinal measures

4. Include competitive comparisons

5. Determine what the brand communicates immediately, its value and loyalty

6. Measure the brand’s individuality

The information from brand perception studies help form powerful marketing strategies that can inform and empower marketers and business owners alike. When companies are clear about how customers and prospects perceive their brand, it can help drive marketing success. So, take some time now to consider

1.  Where your brand is in the lifecycle

2.  How positive/negative, strong/weak your brand is

3.  How you can conduct regular perception studies – we live in a fast paced world

4.  How understanding your brand perception will guide your marketing strategy

Successfully measuring brand perception and awareness helps companies tailor their marketing in the most cost-effective way. It also helps guide strategy in the longer term.

Karen Lambert is an experienced strategic marketer and Managing Director at Happy Creative, a full service marketing agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

Britain has had a lot to celebrate in 2012, so with this in mind I thought I would share the process of an effective marketing campaign through the form of a traditional British celebratory treat – the trifle!

This sweet insight will give you a bite size snap shot of how to implement a marketing campaign.

The Sponge

Absorbing knowledge of your target audience, your objectives, your goals and your desired outcome is vital to any effective marketing campaign.

Understanding where you are going and what you stand for, who your customers are and what they love really helps get to the heart of your business and determines a clear starting point.

It is important for your brand to represent who you are, and therefore gaining as much knowledge as possible of the market, your own position and your competitors gives you valuable and priceless information.

Market research, although not the most creative marketing exercises, forms a solid base for the next step. It is all about discovering your brand…

The Jelly

Setting a comprehensive strategy helps form a marketing plan with clear direction and focus.

An integrated approach is the most effective way of building a strong campaign. Pulling together a blend of marketing fruits that complement each other will increase the chance of your marketing being seen, noticed and then absorbed. The more impact the recipient receives from the more variants of materials, the more likely the message is to stick.

Setting a strategic plan is all about planning the way forward…

The Custard

An effective campaign is all about consistency. Consistency of the message you are conveying and consistency of the look and feel of your brand and your materials.

We also call this “touch points” – a consistent message from all areas that can cause a client to have a positive or negative opinion on your brand (we prefer the former!).

Ensuring consistency is part of creating an effective campaign, and connecting successfully with the audience…

The Cream

To top off a successful marketing campaign, the added extras are invaluable.

Added value is always recommended, whether this is in the form of an incentive for the audience, or just something that creates that stronger, more positive experience.

It is those finishing touches that ensure a campaign is smooth running. Adding a little kick to the mix pushes materials out of the ‘same old’ marketing, and creates something exciting for the audience to keep you fresh in their minds.

The taste test

Reviewing and measuring the turnout of your campaign is important for moving forward- what went right? What went wrong? What could be better next time?

Measuring the cause and effect of your marketing helps you to understand the impact of your brand and to determine the steps you need to create that perfect recipe.

After all a marketing campaign isn’t a trifling affair, and a successful blend will have you getting the  spoons out in celebration.

Emma Dobson is a branding expert and Touch Point guru at Happy Creative, a full service marketing agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

Whilst most companies recognise that a brand is more than just a logo or slogan, it is not uncommon for some to fail to recognise that a brand is everything that your customers think and feel about you. Something we like to term your touchpoints.

Your touchpoints are every point of contact, both direct and indirect, that your customers have with your brand. The quality of your touchpoints determines the actions your customers take and the perceptions they hold in relation to your brand. A touchpoint can be anything from the product you provide to the way you answer the phone.  Establishing where your touchpoints are and what happens at each of those will help you to create a consistent brand experience for your customers.

Defining the touchpoints within your company is simple, it requires you to put yourself in the eyes of your customers and the journey they go through when connecting with your brand. Consider both pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase as all of these will affect how your brand is perceived.

Following on from this, you need to identify whether you are performing well or not against your ideal performance relative to the individual touchpoint. For example, when answering the phone, is this done in a way you are happy with or can improvements be made? Is the way it’s done conveying your brand?  Assess the strengths and weaknesses of each touchpoints.

After this has been done, all the touchpoints need prioritising in terms of importance. You cannot focus on improving every single touch point as the time and resources may not be available and it’s worth noting that all touchpoints were not created equal. Prioritise the ones that will really help to improve your customers experience with your brand. The most important touchpoints will vary within different sectors and companies. The way phone calls are conducted will be a key touchpoint within a call centre but this will be less relevant in a food production company where the product and packaging will be very important.

The final stage in managing your touchpoints is the actual implementation of the high impact touchpoints. Once implemented you can always review and change the way you execute your touchpoint and adjust it to better benefit your brand and the customer experience people receive.

 Creating a positive impression and conveying your brand values is the key with any touchpoint.  Sometimes an external view is a great way to help you define your touchpoints and the values you are conveying at each point.

Rachel Sutton is a junior account executive at Happy Creative, a full service marketing agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk or follow us @happy_creative.

For many, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to write a blog that relates to the Queen’s diamond jubilee. Not meaning to jump on the band wagon of course!

This weekend is an exciting time for patriots and a perfect justification for reuniting communities. Aside from the Union flag being scattered down our streets, displaying the brand of the United Kingdom, this is a time for uniting and expressing a passion for our country and our culture.

Companies would benefit from acknowledging this, and admiring this.

If our businesses worked in the same way as the collective behaviour of the United Kingdom at these times we would find huge success. The internal culture of a business is highly important.

A business with a strong organisational structure and a team that sings from the same hymn sheet is a business that is nearing success. Uniting employee’s unique behaviours, beliefs and actions is a difficult task, and sometimes just one person that does not follow suit can have a detrimental effect on a business. For example, if a typical behaviour of a business was to put smiley faces in an email (some of you will know just which company I am referring to J) then you should find every employee doing exactly that.

A lot of investment goes into getting an internal structure just right. That’s because if you have the wrong people, you are expelling the wrong brand values and brand consistency is nearly impossible.

Culture affects the way people interact with each other both internally and externally. Your employees should always share the values of your company for them to truly live by them and represent your company the way it should be. It is the pattern of collective behaviours and norms that are passed on to new members of a team that keeps a company’s values consistent.

It’s not to say that every employee needs to be the same, different personalities make a company, and everyone has a different skill set. However, the fundamental values of each person should be considered in order to represent a strong brand. It’s all part of your company touch points, and your staff are the single biggest factor when it comes to contact between your business and your customers.

So, just like our allegiance to our country this weekend, patriotism to our organisation’s culture and our natural personality fit in the workplace contributes to a successful brand and a consistent message.

Emma Dobson is a branding expert and Touch Point guru at Happy Creative, a full service marketing agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

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