Who here has enjoyed, seen, Instagrammed (we see you), talked about, or (if you are throwing shade) have been annoyed with the Pumpkin Spice Latte epidemic? It is literally everywhere and has taken the coffee and social media world by storm. The thing is, Starbucks hit it out of the park with their marketing strategy around the famous #PSL. The reason – they use it to tell a great story. They take advantage of every communication avenue and brand experience, align them with all things fall and pumpkin and continue feeding an infamously successful autumn monster, which ends in sales – lots and lots of sales. Well done, Starbucks, well done. So with PSL’s on the brain, we are diving into the reasoning behind Starbuck’s marketing success – brilliantly consistent touch points.
Our explanation and infatuation with brand touch points can be seen at the beginning of our brand story process. At the start of each client project, we host an all day STORY workshop where we explain the purpose and the extent of a brand story. These days are packed full of education, those deep – get to the core of your business – questions, and of course good food.
As the day unfolds we dive into what a brand story is and how it is told. It is at this point, that things can start to feel a little overwhelming. For instance someone might come with a problem – I need a new brand, a revamped business, or the very common ‘what is my story question’ – and learn that it is way bigger, far more time consuming, and slightly more daunting than the typical “build your brand in these 5 steps” blog post might lead on. The “oh my gosh what did I just get myself into” look usually sets in when we start talking about touch points. It sounds like a nice couple of words, fairly easy to digest, and they do not seem to carry too much weight – right? Unfortunately those two little words when used in relation to our brand story are as big and as broad as you want your brand to be.
With that being said – touch points are anywhere and any way that someone might experience or come into contact with our brand. And any experience that someone has is a part of the brand story. So our story is not just copy, it’s not limited to social media, and it’s not just a collection of moody lifestyle photos. Our story is the experience of our brand and people experience our brand through touch points. This includes but is not limited to social media, podcasts, websites, photos, promotional material, your sales process, the person who answers the phone, follow up calls, store fronts, product packaging, and the actual product or service – the list goes on.
Sometimes we view one touch point as more important than the other. BUT they are all equal. That little tiny caption we throw up on Instagram is JUST as important as the entire sales process. WHY! SO ANNOYING RIGHT? I know. But the key to our customers and clients hearts, is TRUST. That five letter word will either build a loyal tribe or turn a little start up into a big flop. Trust is built when a brand experience is consistent. That means that the little things (like Instagram captions) need to tell the same story as our sales process and our sales process needs to tell the same story as our website and our website needs to tell the same story as the color we paint our space and the way we design our packaging or the way we respond to emails.
Now, it is at this point in the workshop that we pause and offer some encouragement. And that is…..this is a process!! Thank goodness right? The worst and best news is that our brand story will never arrive. Ever. Which is the most freeing thought we could ever have. This means that the everyday pursuit of building and growing a brand matters – even the boring parts. The mundane, the work, blood, sweat and tears are developing something over time and will continue to do this for years to come. So do not be discouraged – take a little inspiration from all that #PSL marketing and just keep building.
Brand storytelling is a journey. And any step forward is progress. We really love what you guys do. We love your passion and your heart and are so honored to be a part of a community of entrepreneurs, business owners, dreamers and doers. If you are wondering how to begin the process of creating consistent touch points, you can start by simply:
1. Asking yourself where people experience your business.
2. Deciding if your touch points align with the brand story you want to tell.
3. Evaluating the consistency of your brand across all channels (communication, experience, message, visuals, etc.)
4. Pick something to work on.
5. Start building.
words by hailey – story strategist