When you think of a brand touchpoint (i.e., an encounter designed to invoke positive feelings around your brand), you probably immediately think about your customers. After all, they’re the ones you’re trying to attract, nurture, and sell to. But what about your employees? What about other company stakeholders?
Imagine all the moments these individuals make contact with your brand. It could be a new hire going through the onboarding process, a manager trying to motivate their team, or a collaborator opening an email. Reinforcing these moments as brand touchpoints could be a powerful way to strengthen your business.
How? It’s known that engaging brand touchpoints lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction. This, in turn, can result in improved loyalty, more referrals, and additional credibility. All of these factors can increase the profitability of your brand. The same can be true for touchpoints connecting your brand and your non-customer stakeholders.
Your team members are the people who actively represent and advocate for your brand. If they’re disengaged, your customers and leads will be, too. Practicing two-way marketing could help your brand make a more profound emotional impact and strengthen your team’s belief in the company.
How to design brand touchpoints that speak to all stakeholders
By creating touchpoints that engage customers and employees, you have the opportunity to reinforce your brand from all angles. Here are three strategies to help you implement two-way marketing:
1. Pull back the curtain on your brand.
People often become disengaged with brands when they can’t see who they’re actually talking to. Too many companies rely on repetitive messaging, buzzwords, and stock images to communicate with stakeholders. However, authentic, familiar images are more successful. In one experiment, a recognizable photo of a company founder made website visitors 35% more likely to sign up for free consultations compared to a photo featuring a stock image model.
When you give customers behind-the-scenes information and engage employees in the creation of these touchpoints, it helps everyone feel closer to the brand. The medium can make a difference, as well. Take TikTok, for example. People tune in to this social platform because they want to see homegrown content captured in real time. They don’t want professional-quality videos or slick editing. They’d rather see clips from genuine moments (like when a bridal wear brand owner posted her wedding on TikTok).
“People flock to TikTok for catchy yet imperfect videos,” explains Jessica Elliott, writer and business consultant. “The raw, behind-the-scenes content pulls viewers into a story, even if only for a short time. Brand pages aren’t perfectly curated with pages of perfectly posed products and people. Instead, TikTok is all about authenticity, and that is something that small businesses can take advantage of.”
2. Host experiential events.
Part of pulling back the curtain is inviting people to experience your brand firsthand. Experiential events are a great way to do this. When it comes to brand touchpoints, events—whether in person, digital, or a combination of the two—can build trust and familiarity and improve brand recognition.
Events are especially impactful if you can work with your team to identify why you’re creating the event and what your strategic objectives are. The planning phase of an event can be just as valuable as the event itself: It gives team members the chance to get on the same wavelength, connect with brand values and strategies, and feel a sense of ownership. How do you know which event type to choose? Think about what would be the most engaging.
“Hybrid events allow you to capitalize on both in-person and digital aspects to engage your audience,” writes Jeff Snyder, founder and chief inspiration officer. “At Inspira Marketing Group, for example, we hosted a virtual launch for the pharmaceutical company argenx’s new platform for people struggling with myasthenia gravis. In addition to digital features like a virtual art gallery, we incorporated real-world elements to engage our audience holistically. During the event finale, we illuminated landmarks across the country in the community’s signature teal color.”
3. Turn setbacks into chances to improve stakeholders’ lives.
Sometimes your brand touchpoints might not go according to plan, but that’s okay. “Don’t catastrophize setbacks or failures,” writes Allie Mendoza, CEO and founder of Biz She Loves LLC. “They don’t necessarily mean the end of your business. Think of them as a delay in achievement due to things beyond your control. Failure doesn’t have to be permanent unless you don’t try again. So, keep moving. Keep trying.”
This might feel like a challenge sometimes, but the beauty of two-way marketing is that it opens dialogue between your brand, customers, and employees. If something isn’t working, you’ll have a chance to change things. For instance, when United Airlines first saw survey results from consumers exposing the negative associations people had with air travel, they decided to use the insights to relate rather than alienate. They conceived a brand campaign called “Rising,” which promoted a brand vision of improvement and accountability.
Realizing employees or customers want a different experience from your brand might make you think you failed. However, these instances represent opportunities for you to redesign and rework brand touchpoints until all stakeholders are happy.
Using brand touchpoints and two-way marketing to engage employees, as well as customers and other company stakeholders, can lead to more engaged company ambassadors within your team. In turn, you can strengthen your brand, build trust, and improve resiliency in the face of today’s challenges.