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Every customer journey is different: Effective brand touchpoint management uses differentiation, recommendation, and loyalty potential, which adds up to growth potential.  

Brand touchpoints decide over success or failure

Our study on the management of brand touchpoints demonstrates how important it is for brand awareness and attractiveness. We analyzed the banking, retail, and sporting goods sectors.

Did you know? Most companies these days have between 100 and 500 touchpoints – per brand. And that number keeps increasing: In the past five years alone, it has risen by 30%, primarily in the digital realm. All these many touchpoints decide what impression the stakeholders – be they customers, suppliers, partners, or employees – take away from their encounter with the brand.

That means: Every single one of these brand touchpoints is a gateway to perception, values, and ultimately appreciation. It can decide over success or failure.

This is why professional and up-to-date management of the brand touchpoints is essential for companies, particularly in saturated markets. Examples of "young" enterprises show how quickly and strongly touchpoints can contribute to a company's success: Amazon, for instance, took only ten years to become the best-known retail brand in Germany, where 67.5% of Germans buy often or very often. In the banking sector, PayPal with its focus on digital touchpoints became an In-brand in Germany with over 12 million active customers.

This is why enterprises today have to ask themselves whether the quality of their brand touchpoints and their management is still adequate. Whether their marketing mix is even still working in this age of digitalization and new business models.

The largest study on brand touchpoint management

To answer questions like "What are the essential touchpoints?", "How do I present my unique selling propositions in the market?", and "Where and when does the consumer even become aware of them?", BrandTrust conducted the largest study on brand touchpoint management to date in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland: "Vom Produkt zum Erlebnis: Wie man aus einzelnen brandnkontaktpunkten ein Gesamterlebnis schafft" (From Product to Experience: How to turn individual brand touchpoints into a total experience).

We wanted to find out more about the right management of brand touchpoints and their impact on brand awareness and attractiveness. To do that, we examined the banking, retail, and sporting goods sectors in more detail.                          

We investigated:

  • At what brand touchpoints is the brand performance perceived most intensely?

  • What brand touchpoints are particularly relevant to success?

  • At what brand touchpoints does the brand differentiate itself?

  • What brand touchpoints have the greatest impact on repeat sales?

  • How do the brand touchpoints affect brand attractiveness?

  • What are the most attractive brands in the banking, retail, and sporting goods sectors - in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland?

We conducted about 2,000 interviews and analyzed the 65 leading brands of the banking, retail, and sporting goods sectors. The insights of the 66-page study include:

1. People are the No. 1 attractiveness drivers

In spite of all the digitalization, people are still the most important touchpoint when it comes to making a buying decision. This is the sentiment of 32% or respondents in Germany, 52% in Austria, and 39% in Switzerland. Advertising, on the other hand, in not considered a top brand touchpoint. In the banking business, for example, it is only ranked fifth.

2. The post-purchase phase is the best pre-purchase phase

Recommendation and the decision for a repeat purchase happen in the post-purchase phase. This is the time when brands are built. But where are the marketing budgets going? A whopping 76% are invested in the pre-purchase phase – and only 7% in the crucial post-purchase phase. From a brand perspective and taking long-term growth interest into account, this distribution is well overdue for a change.

According to our study, the most-used brand touchpoint in the post-purchase phase for German retailers is the sales receipt (17.1%), for Austrian sporting goods manufacturers it is the product test (20.8%), and for Swiss banks it is the account statement (42.3%).

3. Being different is better

Differentiation is a success factor in saturated markets. This is demonstrated by retail brands like dm in Germany and Migros in der Switzerland. They achieve the highest levels of brand attractiveness in their segments, because customers feel that their brand touchpoints are noticeably different from those of other brands.

However: Consumers feel that around 80% of the brands we analyzed do not offer any sort of differentiation. For instance, customers can hardly tell the difference among the top brand touchpoints of the three sporting goods manufacturers Nike, Adidas, and Puma – which makes them virtually interchangeable.

4. There is no such thing as the one customer journey

Many have tried to use simplified imagery – such as funnels – to show how customers arrive at a buying decision. The problem: These models are based on linear buying processes. In reality, however, every customer shapes his very own, possibly unique customer journey. Brand touchpoints have to address this behavior. Effective brand touchpoint management reflects these individual customer journeys and identifies differentiation, recommendation, loyalty, and thus growth potential.

The favorites among touchpoints: Employees, catalogs, and product tests

For the three studied markets banking, retail, and sports, some of the results were abundantly clear.

  • In banking, for example, it became obvious how important close customer relationships are – the top brand touchpoints are the branch office, face-to-face consulting, and employees.

  • One of the surprise results about the retail sector is that catalogs are underestimated, because nearly three quarters of respondents named them as an important brand touchpoint. And the boring old sales receipt is actually the most important touchpoint for customers.

  • In the sporting goods business, however, product tests are among the most decisive touchpoints – meaning touchpoints that are usually not part of the brand enterprise.

The study clearly demonstrates: brand touchpoint management is a powerful tool for mastering the challenges of brand management. This is why brand-centric enterprises need clarity regarding which touchpoints are relevant for their customers' buying decisions, which give their brand attractiveness and meaning, and which they can use to set themselves apart from the competition.

For more details, you can order a free excerpt of the study from BrandTrust:Vom Produkt zum Erlebnis: Wie man aus einzelnen Markenkontaktpunkten ein Gesamterlebnis schafft (From Product to Experience: How to turn individual brand touchpoints into a total experience)

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