In the early years we discovered something
very wrong with branded merchandise — everyone started with uninspired product.
“There has to be a better way to build brands
— with intellect, purpose and great storytelling!”
...and we found it all starts with strategy
and a sophisticated set of tools.
Introducing the Touchstone...
The formula for how great brands are built.
The BrandEQ™ System is Touchstone’s signature methodology that allows us to create the aspirational merchandise collections and award winning projects we’re known for.
Here’s how it works...
BrandEQ™ is broken down into two paths — Collections and Projects.
Before we start talking product options for any collection we build, we workshop through a unique set of tools first to ensure that every decision we make aligns with your brand and every piece created resonates with your audience. These BrandEQ workshops are designed to gather insights that we use as a blue print for building great merchandise collections. Ultimately, this is how we connect with the hearts and minds of your consumers.
Not every opportunity though needs an inventory-based ecomm store. However, we still utilize a sophisticated formula for those projects too! Much like our COLLECTIONS workshops, our BrandEQ system for PROJECTS follows a similar path of discovery and insight before making any product decisions. In the end, the result is the same — aspirational merchandise execution that’s consumer-focused, and brand aligned.
The Due Diligence of Discovery
The homework we do before the workshops
First, we simply want to learn — Where are you at right now? What have you tried? What worked? What didn’t? What lessons did you learn? — with conversation-starting questions like this, we get dialogging on the right track, headed towards solutions that will make a difference.
We’re visual learners here at Touchstone and we like to see where you and your audience live in their respective markets and environments. These general placements give us a reference point of understanding going into the next round of workshops focused on your brand personality and your consumers’ style profiles.
Understanding your brand’s point-of-difference in the industry allows us to see how you separate yourself, whether it’s a unique, ownable approach or a patented process/technology, we want to highlight and exploit these advantages going into the next steps.
Through our methodology and approach, we deploy an intellectual set of tools and a process which delivers merchandise collections that are simply fanatical!
We Workshop Together
The collaboration that leads to success
The BRAND Workshop
Why does your brand exist?... You would not believe what a show-stopper/stumper question this is. Ask yourself the question right now! Like most, you may not be articulate; you may pause… a lot; worse off, you may not even be able to define it well at all. Don’t feel bad… that’s where most brands are.
We start here because it is the “filter” that everything passes through. It is the responsibility and duty of a brand builder, like Touchstone, to be able to tell the story of a brand through product execution and an aspirational merchandise collection.
Through this process in our BrandEQ™ system — of workshopping our clients through their brand’s “WHY?” — we’re able to access some pretty vulnerable and uncomfortable spaces, and what comes out of it is redefining.
One of the most profound tools that our BrandEQ™ system uses is Brand Archetyping. Simply seeing a brand as a personality, allows us to liberate a brand in a whole new way. The measurement of what product execution is correct, is simply aligning (or not aligning) with the personality of a brand. Challenge yourself to think about where you’ve seen a “miss” that a brand has had or when you’ve been part of that “miss.” We eliminate this lonely and vulnerable feeling with the insights gathered from of our Brand Archetypes workshop
The CONSUMER Workshop
When we dive into the Consumer focused portion of the workshops, we start by building out mood boards that depict the retail trends of your targeted demographics — what brands they’re loyal to, what colors/materials/fabrics they gravitate towards, what they eat/drink/drive... anything and everything about them that will allow us to make informed decisions about the merchandise we choose to put in front of them. These Style Profiles are essentially a cheat sheet that our merchandisers use to build collections that generate a fanatic response.
Day-in-the-life is the categorical use of how the product or collection will live within someone’s daily life. Too many times we see clients (especially corporate clients) get tunnel vision focused on just the work life aspect of giving their consumer (or employee) access to branded merchandise. This closed-minded view can significantly decrease your overall brand exposure — and at the end of the day, that’s the whole point of what we do. With our BrandEQ™ methodology, we focus on 3 areas — work life, evening life, and weekend leisure. Building merchandise collections that serve each of these functions gives your brand maximum visibility.
Segmentation is exactly what it sounds like — the act of separating to create specified groups. This can be done based on price tiering or product use/application — whatever the needs of the consumer demand. When we built a merchandise collection for ourselves, we identified and defined our collection segmentation by lifestyle — PREMIUM, ATHLETIC and CORE. For your brand, you may be focused on your retail audience or the function/role your audience serves in — C-suite or Business Casual perhaps. And if it makes sense for the collection, product segmentation can even come into play in the web store site navigation.
The Visual Line Plan (VLP) gives you a holistic overview of your entire collection, broken down by segmentation and micro collections so you can see overall brand consistency and ensure there are no gaps or redundancies in any product categories.
The Brand Book serves as a ruler for every decision we make.
If it doesn’t align with the Brand Book, it’s not right for the brand.
The Brand Book
The complete rule book and guidelines for all strategic merchandise decisions