Corporate identity is probably the most important concept in branding. One of the most valid definitions of the title notion has been devised by The International Corporate Identity Group (ICIG). It states that Corporate Identity contains company’s ethos, aims and values, and is a way of defining an organization, enabling it to stand out in the crowd (The Strathclyde Statement). Because of that, it influences not only relations with customers, but also job satisfaction among employees and how other stakeholders view the organization.
Establishing strong corporate identity includes many aspects, but one of the utmost importance is ensuring that a consistent message is conveyed by a company. Such a unified message helps all stakeholders to believe, respect and trust the brand. Let us look at least at some of the ways to ensure that a company sends a consistent message.
Probably the most important aspect of corporate identity is visual identity. In the age of the Internet, vision is likely the most used sense. What is more, the visual content is the one you have the most influence on. Visual content includes many elements, but there are some which can be applied universally:
Well-designed logo is a treasure which gives many benefits to any organization. Apart from being an easy and quick way to identify a brand, it can also be a great source of information. Symbols create positive connotations which can point to the most important values for an institution – for some it might be simplicity, for others durability or strength. Including logo in all content concerning an organization strengthens its corporate identity.
Although it might seem as not much, colors associated with an organization have a considerable impact on perception of the company. The best practice is to ensure that all channels have a uniformed set of colors, so that quick connotations can be made. Usage of toned, pleasant colors strengthen the impression of professionalism. Bright colors are more likely to bring attention to the content. Well usage of contrast does not only highlight logo or content of your company, but also makes it more readable.
Every organization needs to communicate: with clients, officials, internally… Business stationery and other printed materials, as well as electronic correspondence are a very important tool for enhancing visual identity of any organization. Stakeholders might not be able to identify fonts and other formatting aspects of a stationery, but unified headers and formatting ensure professional image is strengthened each time a message is read.
It is important to know that Corporate Identity cannot be ensured with focusing on those visual aspects only. Like false advertising – it will not get you far. However, without the effort put into creating and maintaining visual identity, all the energy put into working on ethos and policies might just go to waste. Therefore, it is crucial to make the most out of what you and your organization have. Now, where to focus in order to maximize effectiveness? The answer is: e-mails.
With the rise of social media’s popularity, some have foreseen a quick demise for e-mails. Despite that, in 2015 the number of email users reached 2.6 billion. The number of emails sent and received daily is estimated at over 205 billion. Both those numbers are expected to grow steadily (The Radicati Group, 2015).
On top of that, most businesses tend to use emails as their primary means of communication. It emphasizes the importance of this communication channel. What is even more, electronic messages are easily personalized by usage of different subscription groups. Even messages which receivers only scroll through can include previously mentioned means of visual identity. This is a great chance to ensure brand strength.
Unfortunately, opportunities often come with a great risk. Emails are no exception. They can be considered a double-edged sword, as unskillful e-mail management can cause great harm to the brand and to people’s perception of it. So how to make sure e-mails are helping?
Using unified email stationery throughout an organization is quite an important issue. Because e-mails are highly modifiable, you can implement corporate colors, add your logo and unify text formatting throughout the organization. Using one well designed colorful email template (or templates with common elements) is likely to bring attention to your emails. However, using many different templates which have little in common is very likely to cause mixed feelings.
However headings and side banners offer great opportunities of increasing your emails’ professional look, there is a much more common element which should always be there in any e-mail.
Probably the most important feature of e-mails is signatures. Those short additions to messages contain extremely important information. Not only can they provide data about the company and the sender, they also give the recipient the impression he/she receives professional and individual treatment. Unified signature template, especially if it is nicely assembled, is the proof that an organization is professional and cares about detail.
If you want to read about creating professional email signatures, go to this blog.
As mentioned before, there are many risks connected with consistent mail messaging. To mention a few:
- Various email clients – in which the default stationery might vary,
- Sending corporate emails with mobile devices (click here for a more in-depth analysis of this issue)
- Limitation of native tools for automatic signatures insertion
How to ensure strong corporate identity in emails
Ensuring that consistent message is conveyed to customers is a priority for those who wish to achieve a strong position in the market. There are many approaches to tackling this issue. One of the best options is deploying central email signature management. To read more about it, check this article.