Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Cost of Wasted Opportunity

An Itch

It's amazing how a little thing like a crappy email signature irritates me.
I'm not just talking about pictures of kitties, Comic Sans, horrendous colors and the joke of the day here, i'm also referring to the insipid black and white plain text signatures as well.

One of the primary things that spurred us on to begin building BrandFu was an internal itch at SYNAQ that needed serious scratching. How could we always ensure that our corporate identity (CI) was consistently and correctly applied to all our staff email's that left the network and ended up in the inboxes of customers, partners and suppliers? And more importantly why did this matter so much to us?

 Why it Matters

It matters because, as a small business like so many small businesses out there, we spend a great deal of our time and limited cash giving birth to our brand identity which is what will hopefully set us apart in the bloody ocean of the competitve marketplace.
We love our logo, with its meaningful and intricate design, colors and pay-off line, and are proud to show it of to all our family, friends, and the world at large.
We also get an immense thrill when our customers start to identify with our logo and brand, and start to tell others about our businesses and the awesome, professional things we do for them.

Sound familiar? Well then why is it that I still see so many businesses (most notably larger business) that I deal with, sending out business emails with no consideration for their CI. I see signatures that differ in layout, style and content across different people in the organisation and I am continuously horrified at some of the non-business content (did I say kitties already?) that some employees feel they have the right to include in their email signatures. And the worst part is, some business owners and their marketing people don't know about this or even worse, don't care!
The net effect of this lack of email brand consideration is that you're wasting a very important opportunity.

 The Wasted Opportunity 

As we all know, email (albeit an old and crusty technology today) is still the most used and accessible tool for effective business-to-business communication. Email maintains this incredible track-record because it "just works", it's cheap and almost everybody, including your grandma, knows how to use it. So why do so many business end up treating their business email like a second-class citizen? Well maybe it's because they don't understand or have forgotten the true value of brand identity.

In this article, Jeremy Schafer of MyCorporateLogo explains in very succinct terms the benefits of brand identity, namely:
  1. It helps give the company an established and professional feel. This increases the customers trust in the products or services the company offers.
  2. A powerful brand identity is important as in general, people find it easier to recall images than text. There is an old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”. The logo represents that picture and can be remembered and identified with greater ease than a thousand words describing the company.
  3. Logo graphics can bring about awareness of the products or services that you offer in cases where the company name is not self-explanatory.
  4. As the company grows, the consumer base stays loyal to the brand.
When revisiting these compelling and well-known benefits, it becomes apparent that the business email we sometimes take for granted is one of the easiest and most effective ways to consistently build that brand awareness. The benefit that resonates the most with me, is that correctly and consistently branded email imparts a sense of professionalism and establishment to the recipient who opens it. For me it's so great to always get a sense that you're dealing with a company that is on top of its game and is proud of what they're doing and who they are.

In Closing

Take a look at your business email today and then ask yourself:
  • are your email's always professionally branded?
  • are you supporting and loving your CI as you should?
  • are your customers and partners experiencing that sense of identity with your business when you communicate with them?
If the answer to any of those questions is no, then maybe it's time to checkout BrandFu.

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