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State of Brands: Consumer Touchpoints in Focus

We’ve all gone through those terrible experiences with a purchase that didn’t go as expected.  Whether it was awful service, a faulty product that failed to meet your needs, or constant shelf outages, one thing that is undeniable is the feeling it left us with.  We know in that very moment whether we’d shop there again or purchase another product from that brand.  But who takes the blame and who takes the penalty?  Brands must understand the imperativeness of having synergies within their value chain and understand the dire consequences it can have on eroding brand loyalty.

Understanding that holistically each member of your value chain plays an integral role in enabling your brand to thrive and grow is vital to the brand’s health.  The overall health doesn’t stop at marketing, the supply chain, the customer experience (in-store and online), the post purchase experience, or the after care.  The multitude of touchpoints with their consumer creates a combination of experiences that influence perception which aids in driving brand loyalty.  Each touchpoint either reaffirms their commitment to the brand or leads the consumer astray, seeking alternative solutions to meet their needs.  Are your customer touchpoints setting your brand up for success?  Are your value chain members strategic partners that share common brand goals and objectives?

Often brands rely too heavily on the supply chain and retailers and entrust that consumer confidence will outweigh the effects of shelf outages, less than ideal customer service, and faulty manufacturing. This mistake is often reciprocated from retailers as they fail to understand that carrying sought after products and brands are only a fraction of the complete consumer experience that leads to building shopper loyalty.  While most organizations cannot manage the entire value chains themselves, understanding the importance of aligning your organization with other members who understand how vitally important their role is must be at the forefront of your strategy.

Many brands have taken an approach to owning more of the consumer experience and maximizing their value chain by becoming their own partner in the processes. Take the well known brand Apple that started as a product offered via third party retailers.  Although Apple depends on suppliers and other manufactures, they’ve quickly recognized the value of the consumer experience.  Today, consumers receive the entire “Apple” experience as the company offers their branded products (Apple), in-store (The Apple Store) and online (, and offers after purchase support (AppleCare).  Apple has successfully capitalized on the value of integrated touchpoints and ingrained themselves into the customer experience. Starbucks, known for their dynamic in-shop coffee experience, has taken their brand into stores nationwide.  Starbucks has a clear understanding of how consumers’ in-shop experience can be directly correlated to the in-store purchases of its products. This is made evident by Starbucks setting up faux coffee shops inside grocery chains to better control execution and supplement the in-store customer experience. Starbucks understands that each opportunity they have to serve you in-shop increases your perception of the brand.

Both Apple and Starbucks understand the importance of integrating all touch-points to deliver a compelling consumer experience time after time along with the fundamental importance of strategic value chain alignment.  What are you doing to ensure you have strategic partners in your value chain that share common goals and objectives to produce a thriving brand?

Tags: Retail Planning and Execution