After interacting with your business, do customers feel how you want them to feel? Do they see the heart of your brand? Do they hear the message you’re trying to tell?
The brand story matters in your market and, as a result, to your bottom line. If your audience doesn’t understand your story, attracting and persuading them to buy from you will be much more challenging.
Are all of your customer touchpoints truly representing your brand?
A common scenario we see
Hayden opened a beauty salon ten years ago, and while things have been going pretty well, something doesn’t seem entirely right about her brand. Her vision for an elevated salon experience doesn’t match what her customers say about it.
She’s also not excited about her website or any of her advertising and feels like her salon doesn’t stand out from the others in the area. Hayden wants to find the problem and fix it, but she can’t quite put her finger on what’s wrong. Her time and focus are already stretched thin across all the other more pressing business needs of the salon, so she doesn’t have much opportunity to solve the problem.
Sound familiar? We’ve seen it played out repeatedly with all different kinds of businesses, but the solution is simple!
Design each customer touchpoint to reflect your brand identity
We’re not just talking about customer service here. We’re talking about making every encounter your audience has with your brand reinforce your brand’s message. It’s about purposely designing each touchpoint to surprise and delight your customer. While these touchpoints have all the typical customer service interactions (talking on the phone or resolving order issues), they also include what your online order confirmation message says, how your packaging looks, how you sign off in emails, and so much more.
These run-of-the-mill moments are your golden ticket to closing the gaps between your brand vision and what your target audience, customers, and team actually experience. At Luum, we call these micro-moments. Collectively, they create your customers brand experience.
These tiny moments are opportunities to show your audience the heart of your business. Each time you interact with a customer in a thoughtful way that reflects your brand story, you earn a little more trust. Or, as Brené Brown would say, you add a marble to their marble jar. The more marbles, the more they trust you and learn what your brand is all about.
So, how do you design compelling micro-moments to bridge the gap between the brand of your dreams and the actual brand experience? There are three crucial steps we always recommend taking. Implementing these three things will make you (and your whole team) more passionate about and invested in your business and boost your bottom line.
1. Identify what makes you remarkable and what you want to be known for
Before you can craft intentional micro brand experiences, you must set your intention. No doubt, you want people to know what you do and that you are exceptionally good at it. But, in addition, you want them to walk away from their experience with you understanding your business and what it stands for.
So, the first step is identifying what you want to be known for—what makes you unique and different from your competitors. Basically, what’s your secret sauce?
Here are a couple of insightful questions to help you find the answer:
- What comes naturally to you that is remarkable (and valuable) to everyone else?
- What is the one thing you or your business is exceptionally good at?
Once you identify your brand’s super power, those values should guide every part of your customer’s experience. For example, a designer whose secret sauce is designing ultra-modern, modular furniture should have a brand that looks, sounds, and feels modern. People looking for classic, traditional pieces should know right away that this designer is not the right fit, while those looking for stylish pieces should immediately spot that this is the designer they’ve been looking for.
Next, decide how you want your business to be known. How do you want other people to describe your brand?
Here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself:
- How are people currently describing me? Do I want to be described that way or not?
- What adjectives do I want to come to people’s minds when they think of my business?
- What adjectives do I not want to be associated with my brand?
At Luum, we call these adjectives your brand keys. They help guide your branding choices.
To show how this works, let’s return to our example of Hayden from earlier. Hayden identifies that the secret sauce for her hair salon is making each customer feel valued and confident, from the moment they walk in the door to when they see their new look for the first time. Hayden’s brand keys are uplifting, inviting, artistic, and refined.
2. Design Touchpoints with Purpose
If you want people to hire you because of your secret sauce, you need to make it obvious what it is and that it genuinely affects every part of your business. We believe the best way to do this is to intentionally design each part of your customer’s experience, including the micro experiences, to reflect your secret sauce and brand keys.
Here’s an insightful exercise you can do to identify all your customer touchpoints and how you can change them from the everyday interactions customers expect to memorable experiences that will surprise and delight them.
- List each decision a customer must make from when they first learn about you to when they take the final action (to purchase, make an appointment, download, subscribe, etc.).
- Are any essential steps missing from this process that could make the customer’s decision easier? What objections might they have? How could you address those?
- Can you remove any steps to make it simpler and more effective?
- List any other times a customer interacts with your brand or has an experience with it in any way.
- How can these steps and interactions be modified to reflect your brand keys? Which steps best present an opportunity to surprise and delight your customers?
(If you’d like a guide to help you walk through these questions and evaluate each interaction, use our free worksheet for this exercise.)
After doing this exercise, Hayden might uncover these simple opportunities to surprise and delight her salon customers and reinforce her brand keys:
- Create an uplifting motto to display on her website and in the salon and to use whenever an employee answers the phone
- Package hair products in high-quality tissue paper and beautiful custom bags designed with her motto
- Print her business cards on weighted card stock for a more refined, tactile experience
- Give new clients a hand-written welcome card and a thank-you gift
- Surprise regular clients with an email offer for a limited edition gift next time they’re in the salon
3. Help Your Team Catch Your Vision
Your employees play a crucial role in your customers’ experiences. Customers will quickly notice if your employees aren’t on board with creating memorable micro brand experiences, and your efforts will fall short.
The best way to help your team catch your vision is to initially implement just one micro brand experience. When they see the difference the first change makes, they’ll understand why these small improvements are significant and will be more willing to implement the other changes. Then, introduce these changes one at a time to let the team adapt and gradually become more passionate about your brand themselves. Their excitement and belief in the business will naturally reveal themselves in customer interactions.
Share your brand keys with your team and explain your vision for your business—how you want your customers to feel and what you want their experience to be. Encourage your team to evaluate each customer interaction in light of your brand keys. Empower them to make decisions in dealing with customers, using the brand keys to guide them. Invite them to make suggestions about other ways to improve customer touchpoints. The more ownership they have in this process, the better your customer’s experience will be.
• • •
Identifying her brand keys and designing new micro brand experiences had a ripple effect. Her employees thought about the salon’s brand, making them proud to hand out business cards and promote them on social media. Customers became excited to give their friends referral cards and were more willing to buy products. One-time customers became repeat customers who became loyal customers.
Even though Hayden’s example is fictional, we’ve seen this work. For example, we recently worked with a client to create unique opportunities that connected their brand beliefs to their brand experience. We evaluated each step of their customer journey, asking, “How can this better reflect the brand’s values and better care for the customer?” After gradually implementing these changes over several months, the client saw a 20% increase in revenue!
Your business can benefit in the same way. All it needs is a consistent brand reflected in each customer interaction.
How can you add more marbles to your customers' jars with each interaction you have with them?
Use our free detailed worksheet to help you find the answer. This worksheet will guide you in identifying key customer touchpoints, evaluating which ones need improvement, and brainstorming how you can elevate these touchpoints from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Want a little more help? Reach out to our team for a free 20-minute strategy call. We’d love to hear about your current client journeys and share some ways you can improve your overall experience.