When customers think about making a purchase, they rarely think of products. Instead, they think of brands.
Brands are only as good as the products they provide. However, the images of these product providers help make them a memorable, dependable, first choice customers can rely on, time and time again.
Marketers in companies of all sizes understand the importance of brand identity. The question is often about the best way to build and maintain the image you want. For growing companies, marketers may be working in small teams or even flying solo in their quest to connect with customers.
In some cases, the person in charge of the marketing may be wearing several different hats and juggling responsibilities.
How can you achieve a marketing strategy that encapsulates the brand identity you want to build? Your email channel has a lot of potential.
Not only can it help you build a brand image in the minds of your audience, but it can also help you maintain that image and reap the benefits that come with it.
Why brand identity matters for marketers in growing businesses
It would be fair to say brand identity is critical in companies of all sizes. The difference for smaller and mid-sized businesses is they have to be more strategic when building their audiences.
There’s less promotion done by word of mouth for these businesses, and they almost always have fewer resources (both financially and in labor) to expend building their brand.
There are plenty of reasons why building a brand identity is important, including:
- It makes you recognizable: Your company needs to be one that customers automatically think of when a need arises. They need to know who you are, what you offer, and why they should choose you over the competition.
- It makes you different: This point ties directly into the previous one. Your brand identity sets you apart from the competition. When you’re a growing business, you need to make sure you convey what makes you different from others aiming to get the same customers. Even the definition of branding via Entrepreneur highlights the importance of differentiation.
- It helps you stay consistent: If you want to set yourself apart, you should be consistent with what makes you different. This consistency helps people get familiar with your company, making you more memorable and improving the odds you’ll be one of the first options they consider.
The next question marketers ask is why they should focus on email marketing as a means of building a brand image. One of the biggest benefits is the cost-efficiency of email. Dollar for dollar, it’s one of the smartest ways to use your resources for promotion. Emails can show who you are, what you offer, and why readers should care.
Source: Campaign Monitor
When resources are limited, marketers want the channel that will take them the furthest. Another benefit of email is that it offers many ways to help you build an image and stay consistent with it.
Create brand identity design guidelines and stick to them
Design guidelines are hugely helpful, but not just for crafting your brand identity. When there are guidelines to go by, any designer who works on images or even entire newsletters has a starting point to go off of.
Doing this is a massive timesaver, whether you’re hiring designers or handling the job in-house. Brand identity guidelines are also useful for making your emails consistent. it doesn’t mean you can’t use variety. Remember, brand identity is about finding what sets you apart and being consistent with it.
With that in mind, you can try a lot of different approaches to your email newsletters, in terms of the design, while maintaining brand identity guidelines. A lot of it is about subtle touches. For example, a corporate consulting firm may stick to professional-looking fonts and simple color schemes.
In another example, a spring clothing brand may use bright color schemes, even while mixing up the pallet.
With these guidelines in place, it’s easier to create a newsletter design quickly without sacrificing quality. You’ll achieve that uniformity you need to build a memorable image, all while helping you streamline newsletter creation.
Use brand tone and voice guidelines in your copy
Email copywriting is just as important as the design. Though the two are both important pieces of the puzzle, sometimes companies tend to focus on flash over substance with email marketing.
Good brand message examples will demonstrate the same level of consistency as image guidelines. In other words, the way you talk to your customers should also be memorable. Just as you want uniformity in your design, you want the same in your tone of voice.
When looking at brand identity, design and copywriting go together. For example, a formal tone of voice would go well with professional-looking images. A tone that uses modern slang may work well with more outlandish color schemes and out-of-the-box image choices.
Don’t be afraid to reuse your go-to images and design traits
In an industry where originality is everything, marketers are understandably averse to recycling materials. You need something that sets your brand apart. However, once you have it, don’t be afraid to spread it around.
It’s true your email newsletters should offer things that subscribers can’t get anywhere else. Exclusive offers are one of the main ways to encourage subscriptions.
You may look around at your landing pages and social profiles and see these things everywhere. It’s easy to get put off adding them to your email newsletters for fear of being repetitive. Brand identity design is about having these small, subtle touches in your content to make it feel attached to your brand image as a whole.
Now you know the importance of design, copy, and subtle touches in your email newsletters. Next, consider how you can implement all these elements in your content.
Create email newsletter templates to go with your guidelines
What’s better than having brand identity guidelines? Brand identity templates. There’s arguably no better way to streamline newsletter creation than with templates.
Templates get your readers used to seeing your content in a certain format. You may end up preferring to open your newsletter with an image. Or you may find the use of several small images followed by text is a better opener.
However you prefer to build your newsletters, finding a winning format and building a template is a smart move.
It’s even a good idea to have several templates and alternate between them. It’s another strategy for balancing on that fine point between variety and uniformity. The same perks come with templates that come with guidelines. They’re quick to use, they make things easy for outside designers, and they help make your brand more memorable to readers.
You can also make templates for each type of email. There are many categories, such as welcome, thank you, purchase confirmation, apologies, and updates. A go-to template for each one gives you a consistent approach, no matter what you’re doing.
Build campaigns around your brand image
The final tip is to keep your brand image in mind when creating campaigns. Is your brand more of a thought leader? A nurturer and a helping hand? A bold trendsetter? Remember this voice and image when you’re creating a series of content.
Everything from your welcome email to the calls to action themselves can be built around the image you’re trying to create.
Source: Campaign Monitor
Dedicated campaigns with the intent of conveying your brand image are a great way to maintain it in the long term.
When you learn to write content around the idea of your brand image, especially in long-term campaigns, you get more comfortable within that brand. Its characteristics and underlying essence will come through more clearly in future content pieces.
Email newsletters and campaigns are always marketing tools first. The hidden benefit behind using email for branding with long-term content like this is that it is an effective practice exercise.
Email remains a great option in the marketer’s toolkit. Even if you’re working with limited resources or handling your marketing duties without help, email can jumpstart your brand identity.
Email newsletters can encompass everything about your brand: its characteristics, essence, tone and speaking style, logos, and signature imagery. Email marketing remains a holistic strategy that can provide a number of different benefits when branding is your goal. Remember:
- Email marketing can help set you apart from competitors
- Newsletters make your audience familiar with you
- Email is one of the most cost-efficient strategies available
Your brand is more than your business’s image. It’s what sets you apart and makes you unique. It’s what makes your customers remember you and, most importantly, what makes them turn to you over the competition.
Looking to build your brand through email newsletters? Campaign Monitor offers the platform, tips, and additional resources you need to succeed.