Hello! How have you been doing?

In the last email, we talked about the need for branding even when your business is not big/successful/established yet. Here's a recap of the points:

  • There are businesses that don't need branding.
  • But if you're planning to expand your business, branding is unquestionably necessary.
  • Great and versatile branding can be scaled up and added to without any problem, no matter which direction your business will take.
  • All the frills of branding are important, but understanding the big ideas that will drive your business is even more urgent. If you don't do that first, your branding will have no meaning.

If you've established the meaning and purpose of your brand, it's time to address the physical and visual details of your brand. 

  • Physical details: Things that can be seen, held and felt. Examples include packaging and business cards.
  • Visual details: Things that can only be seen. Examples include social media profiles and website.

Is it important to distinguish between these two types of brand details? Yep! It's going to affect your choice if you have a limited budget. I'm going to talk more about it below.


The underlying principle of branding

Branding isn't for the owner. Not really. Sure, you need to be able to identify with your brand personality, and it must be something you don't actively hate, but the bottom line is this: put your customers first.

So in choosing which detail to brand first, it's important to prioritize something that would add value for your customers.

If you're like me, it's so easy to justify any purchases for my business. Custom email? Yup, looks professional. Business cards? Sure, for networking purposes. Stickers? Umm, for boosting morale. 

But I can't say for certain that those things add value for my audience (i.e. you). 

They make me look professional and trustworthy, but what do you get out of it? It doesn't impact your life in any way.

It becomes important to distinguish what is for you and what is for your customers when you have a limited budget. When you invest for your customers' experience and convenience, the investment will pay off ten-fold. In other words, prioritizing your customers will help your business grow.


Branding the touchpoints

There are a lot of ways you can improve customer experience. A limited budget means it's necessary to focus on only a few or one at first. How to choose? At a glance, these are the steps:

Identify touchpoints (points of contact between the brand and the customer)

Identify the touchpoint(s) that will

  • allow for maximum impact visually and physically.
  • last for a reasonable amount of time.
  • help you deliver freebies. 

Ideally, the touchpoint you choose first should fulfill all the above requirements. By points of contact, I mean any kind of contact you will have with a customer or potential customer. Any interaction, even if it doesn't involve a sale. I'm going to explain a bit more on each requirement.

A touchpoint that allows for maximum impact visually and physically needs to be attention-grabbing. At the very least, it needs to be camera-ready. With the visual trend of social media platforms these days, any touchpoint that can take advantage of this will be able to market itself.

Anything that can last is good because 1) it's a sign of quality and 2) it's a constant reminder of your brand in the customer's home. If it's exceptionally useful or attention-grabbing, it might even pique the interest of their visitors. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic here, but you can't deny that a physical reminder that stays with the customer is powerful.

Freebies are always a pleasant surprise. More so if they're completely unexpected. You don't have to give out freebies every single time (or even to every customer), but a touchpoint that allows you to do so will help you exceed customer expectations in a big way.

It's pretty clear where I'm going with this right?
The touchpoint that ticks all the boxes in 90% of the cases is the packaging.

  • It's a physical detail. Something that can be seen, felt and held.
  • It goes with the product, so it's for the customer.
  • Depending on the design, it can have a great impact on them. It can convey your brand personality in a very obvious way. You'd want the customer to get it right the first time around.
  • Depending on the quality, it can last for a reasonable amount of time. 
  • You can put the freebies inside of the packaging so that your customers get a pleasant surprise when they unbox.

You only have to look at the duck scarves Instagram to see how these requirements are applied. The account reposts photos of the customers duck scarves boxes proudly arranged and displayed. And that's only the packaging!

It can make a huge difference to brand loyalty and memorability. Unboxing is a very special moment that brands should take advantage of to the fullest. Don't be a brand that gets its packaging thrown away the second the product is taken out. 

We're going to discuss how to make your brand details (other than the packaging) extra special in the next email. This is particularly relevant to businesses that are service-based!

P.S. I used to have one of these Crabtree & Evelyn's biscuits tin. It was given to me by my aunt for me to store things in. The cookies were long gone by then. Years after, the brand still stood out in my mind, eventhough I don't always run into its outlets. Just because of the tin.