Brand roll out — connecting consumer touchpoints
If you’ve ever bought a pair of Converse from an actual Converse outlet, you’ll know most of their stores are, to be generous, low-fi. Unadorned shelving, sparse decor, pile ‘em high merch display approach. From a brand roll out perspective, this shopping experience is far from luxurious and very much ‘Street’.
But if the brand is engineered that way, to veer from that essence wouldn’t be smart. If you walked into a Gucci store and it looked like this, your level of cognitive dissonance would be unfathomable. For the world’s canvas shoe of choice, however, it makes perfect sense.
The combination of digital, collateral and environmental design as a fluid communication journey is essential for creating a seamless experience. It removes subconscious barriers and allows consumers to more readily agree to continue their engagement with your brand.
With the currently all-pervasive spirit of entrepreneurship driving anyone who ever had an idea for a taco filling to start their own food chain, the ambition to expand branding across a raft of channels and mediums has never been stronger, or more easily achieved.
More than ever, designers are given the opportunity to fully explore every aspect of the brands they’re bringing to life. These days the average fast food start-up is, in itself, a micro-exercise in multimedia brand roll-out. A single small outlet might involve Branding, Fit-Out, Menus, Bags and Packaging, POS system, Website and more.
All of these touchpoints contribute to building brand loyalty (ok, add regular Loyalty EDMs to that list) and consistency inspires consumer confidence. If a brand looks like it knows what it’s doing, they’re more likely to come back for more.
Non-linear consumer journey
The same applies to big brands and products with a longer lead time. Increasingly, consumer journeys are non-linear, so ensuring your touchpoint are all driven by the same vision and communications strategy has never been more vital. With search and social popping up repeatedly along the way, every piece of communication in whatever form or medium needs to smooth that path to purchase, not throw up speed bumps by seeming out of place.
Back to our brand roll out, I’ll happily pick up a new pair of Converse from a store that looks like an overstocked warehouse, because the product, brand personality and price point fit perfectly with that environment, which in turn has complete synergy with their digital and other marketing presences. If I’m buying shoes at a Gucci store having researched my preferences on their website, I’ll understandably expect a little more from my in-store experience.
Keys to an effective brand roll out across multiple touchpoints:
- Consistent application of branding and colour ways – develop a style guide even if you’ll be rolling everything out yourself, it will help identify potential weak spots
- Environmental design that has a visual and aesthetic sympathy with your brand essence – materials, scale and aesthetic all need consideration
- Language and tone of voice that remains consistent across all channels – key messaging and vocabulary should be part of your toolbox
- Campaigns and messaging remain relevant to the brand no matter where they appear – don’t go talking ‘Street’ just to fit in if it’s not within your brand DNA
- On that note, messaging should only appear in places and touchpoints relevant to the brand – consumers will again be faced with the confusion of brand dissonance if you talk to them where they’re not expecting it