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How businesses can utilize email signatures to build a consistent brand image

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(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Bloomicon)

Any successful business knows that the key to building a positive reputation starts with having an easily recognizable brand. Even a simple, distinguished logo carries key information about a company and what it represents.

In this digital age, many employers now realize that corporate electronic communications reflect the tone of an organization just as much as letterheads. 

As emails continue to dominate written forms of business communication – with 376.4 billion emails anticipated to be sent and received daily by 2025 – email signatures have never played a more vital role in maintaining brand image.

Though easy to overlook, your email signature is as important as any other part of your corporate identity. Think of your email signature as a digital business card that you give to customers with every email you send. 

A badly designed email signature can not only reflect poorly on your professionalism but has a wider impact on the image of your organization, potentially discouraging customers from returning to your business. A strong email signature, on the other hand, can add significant value to your brand.

With this in mind, I will discuss the ways companies can use email signatures to build a consistent brand image and boost reputability. 

Consistency is key

Keeping all messaging consistent is the key to ensuring your brand is instantly recognizable to customers and your brand’s voice should align with your brand values. 

You want your customers to believe your company is reliable, so sending mixed messages through inconsistent branding will only create distrust. With 90 percent of consumers deeming brand authenticity an important deciding factor in which companies to support, brand consistency has never been more important.

There are three key rules to consider when building stability within a brand: 

Employee behavior: Your employees are the first line of contact with your customers, making them key players in driving the message of your brand. From top to bottom, your chain of employees should all demonstrate the same behaviors to reinforce a consistent brand image.

Design: So much of making your brand recognizable involves incorporating simple yet memorable designs within your logo and wider corporate identity. Take IKEA as an example, with its striking blue and yellow logo reflecting its Swedish roots and designs. Even its whimsical TV advertising is consistent with its branding, you know you’re watching an IKEA advert long before the logo is revealed. 

Communications: What you are communicating to your customers and the language in which you do so can have a big impact on how your brand is perceived. To effectively communicate with your customers, you should be transparent and coherent in the content you share and use a tone of voice that reflects your brand.

The above also applies to email signatures which, though often neglected, are an important part of a consistent brand image.  

Professional uniformity

Delivering a consistent brand experience across business emails is vital for building trust and authority among customers. By not having a uniform company-wide email signature, it could potentially harm the professional image of your organization.

However, whether it be for legal or marketing purposes, different departments often have personalized email signatures to accommodate different business leads. For example, a sales department might be looking to push a promotional signature by advertising certain products. 

Leaving it to your employees to manually change their email signatures is not only wasteful from a time perspective but can easily lead to copy and design mistakes in your company’s email signature, delivering an inconsistent brand experience. 

Having a centralized solution allows businesses to manage the core design and content foundations of an email signature, ensuring a consistent brand identity is portrayed on every corporate email.

Building connections

Since working from home has become the new normal for many employees, corporate communication has become primarily digitized for various organizations.

Yet emails don’t have to be impersonal – your email signature can be a useful tool for forging connectivity between individuals, potential clients, and businesses. 

Email signatures bridge the gap between a sender and a recipient, helping to make an interaction more personalized and memorable. Including a headshot photo in your email signature puts a face to a name, humanizing the interaction for the customer.

Adding links to personal pages like a ‘Meet the Team’ page on your website or even LinkedIn profiles can also help establish and develop meaningful connections between business and client.

Links to social pages are also important to include as part of your email signature. Social media is often a haven for company news, highlights and, in some cases, the latest promotions. Not only does this help build a rapport with customers, giving them an informal place to engage with your company, it also helps drive brand loyalty.

A marketing and customer service hub

The needs of consumers are continuously evolving, with the pandemic in particular causing a shift in customer expectations. Unfortunately, those businesses that can’t or won’t change to meet the demands of their customers may be left behind. 

With 79 percent of consumers admitting they would only buy from brands that show they understand and care about them, it’s crucial businesses take on board customer feedback at all opportunities.

Innovation begins with understanding what problems your customers need solving, and the only way to gain this insight is to give them a voice. This is where your email signature can assist in customer service.

Consider including 1-click surveys, and simple traffic-light performance indicators in your email signatures. These help respondents feel heard and give businesses the chance to gain crucial feedback at every stage of the user journey.

Email signatures are also the perfect place to subtly display accolades – this is a great way of reinforcing your trustworthiness as a brand without explicitly listing your credentials. 

Companies can also benefit from using their email signatures as a way of demonstrating ethical practices that customers may find appealing. For example, many now factor in a company’s environmental impact as part of their buying decision, with 74 percent of consumers willing to pay more for sustainable packaging. So, it pays for brands to highlight these credentials.

Maria Canton, Head of Global Marketing, Exclaimer

Maria is the Head of Global Marketing at Exclaimer, a provider of world-class email signature management solutions where she spearheads the company's global marketing efforts.