The Importance of Every Last Touchpoint
When it comes to brand communications, brands can venture out of their comfort zone, but need to be mindful of their personality and identity and not stray too far away. Consistency is key in building a brand identity - but there is still space for creating little moments of surprise and delight.
‘On brand’ is one of those phrases that can get a bit tedious but are, unfortunately, completely necessary when it comes to creating a brand identity or branded collateral that just feels ‘right’.
It sounds like the brand should sound, or looks like it should look, says the things it should say or does the things it should do. If it doesn’t – you’re going to cause a lot of friction for consumers who were expecting one thing and get something else. It just feels a bit weird, and off-putting.
Like when Marks and Spencer’s dropped a Spongebob Squarepants meme in a Twitter ‘spat’ with Aldi and Lidl. Aldi and Lidl – I can deal with some internet bants from you, since you’re generally a bit more tongue in cheek. M&S, you make posh snacks and one of your clothing lines is represented by the British fashion icon/absolute legend that is Twiggy. I don’t think Twiggy would even know what a meme is, let alone who Spongebob is.
If something doesn’t fit with our perception of a brand’s identity, it can disrupt our experience of that ‘brand world’ - almost like breaking the fourth wall.
Therefore, brands have to think about how their personality needs to flow through all of their channels and touchpoints consistently, making sure all messaging and tone is definitely ‘on brand’.
And some of the most successful brand identities take this a step further. Going beyond consistency across the usual channels – social media, website copy, marketing and advertising campaigns, packaging, etc etc, they utilise other areas to create moments to surprise and delight their customers with perfectly on brand elements.
I’ve collected a few of my favourite examples of brands bringing their brand world to life in slightly unconventional, or at least usually ignored or under-utilised, ways.
Wahaca – Grow your own brand advocates
Wahaca is probably our best-known Mexican chain in the UK, transforming a cuisine that we’ve probably previously put down to a cheeky lunchtime or post-drinks burrito to a proper sit-down sharing session. Fresh, vibrant brand colours, energetic and interesting typography and a comfy, welcoming atmosphere are drawn from an inspiring, buzzy and approachable brand personality.
While all of these aspects are consistent across their website, the physical design of the restaurants and their campaigns, a little touch that creates one of those magical little moments are the chilli seeds. As nations have their national flowers, if brands had brand vegetables Wahaca’s would have to be the chilli. Handed out along with your bill, it’s a little piece of the brand to take home with you – and it works for a number of different reasons. The gesture represents the way the restaurant brings people togetherwith the sharing concept, and the natural styling mirrors the fresh, natural food. It’s an unexpected surprise that ends a meal on a light-hearted and engaging way, and makes a nice talking point to boost word of mouth.
Gail’s – Carrier bags with character
Another food-related one, Gail’s Bakery’s brand identity feels elegant, modern and clean. But it’s touches like using hand-drawn typography, and the witty messaging on their carrier bags as seen above, that bring a warmer sense to the brand that prevent it from feeling too stand-offish. It seems really simple – but sometimes the simplest things have the most effect, and this is a great example of a small detail on a touchpoint that could attract interest and attention if spied across the street.
IKEA – A splash of (brand) colour
An example of taking the brand identity through to the smallest of details, IKEA’s highlighting on their site uses their brand colours instead of the usual light blue. This is a really small feature that many people won’t even use – or even notice if they do – but for those who pick up on it, it creates another of those little moments of recognition, like a little wink or inside joke. Without even saying anything, they come across as a bit witty, even a bit cheeky by ‘IKEA-fying’ this little feature. Like all of these examples, a small, but lovely, touch.