If Susan Sarandon singing in white negligee to be touched doesn’t inspire you to touch someone then you’re a lost cause and we can’t help you. Not that Sarandon is the point here, we just liked the idea of slipping in a Rocky Horror Picture Show reference because why the hell not, but rather the universal desire to be touched is the point here. Whether it’s physically, emotionally or mentally, as humans we crave to touch and connect with one another. To feel like we’ve had an impact or someone has had an impact on us. And while it’s so true for every personal relationship, it’s even more true for brands and the behaviors they employ with their consumers. Because the things brands have mostly cottoned on to over the years is this; if they mimic human behavior and human wants and needs, they will convert prospects to sales and their revenue will go up. It’s quite literally that simple. And what is more human than the desire to be touched?

And so we have touchpoints. The aim of them is to touch the consumer both mentally and emotionally, guiding them through the journey to a point of sale. It seems glaringly obvious and we all subscribe to the idea, but here’s the thing, brands are mostly talking about touchpoints but every retailer does not interrogate each touchpoint and live up to it. There might be a few poorly defined touchpoints at the beginning and then a sudden rush calling them to buy something, do this, type an email address in or give away their first born. Well, the latter doesn’t actually happen but it feels like that when brands ask for so much of your time, attention and money, and give so little in return.

Brands, especially retail brands need to start giving more back. They need to look at those touchpoints as not just a fancy extra, but an integral part of their content marketing strategies. Because the idea of content is to inform, surprise, entertain and delight the would-be consumers and touchpoints have always been some of the best ways to do this.

For example, a brand that does this really well are Wyevele Garden Centres. Throughout their branding they’ve developed integrated consistency and rolled out a project that amplified their brand throughout the entire line, from press ads to digital and all the way to in-store touchpoints. That dedication to making sure your brand is saying the same thing, every step of the way, is what sets apart brands today and the reason your customers will or won’t engage with you.

Another retail brand who gets this right is the sock company Quiet Rebellion. Their content is brilliant, clever and perfectly matches their audience, but more importantly, once you’ve bought some socks they don’t leave you high and dry. Once your box of socks arrives it comes with three postcards with illustrations of rebellious people across history that you might not know about. The cards tell an entertaining story about these people and by the end, you’ve been informed, surprised and delighted. And when you’re dealing with socks as a product, that’s a tough ask and yet they’re a brand who does it flawlessly.

The product or service can vary but it never changes a brands ability to create meaningful touchpoints that resonate and connect with their audience. Often, it’s as simple as inserting a card into the package with a personal note. People want to be touched damnit, and it’s time brands started doing it, they can’t afford not to.