Brand’s Power in E-Mail

A few weeks ago, I attended a Digital Summit in San Francisco. It summit brought together leading strategists in media, marketing, and communications to discuss changes in the digital marketing world. One speaker was an executive creative director at a large advertising agency.

He talked about brand’s power in digital media and told an extremely insightful story that demonstrates how much impact a simple brand logo can have. As I thought about how his comments play out in the email world, I started rethinking how all my recent email campaigns had been designed. Had they lived up to their brand promise?

The story goes like this:

Have you ever wondered when the first brand actually came into play? I have. I think it started in the 1400s. Picture this: You are John Jones, standing at the helm of your ship and longingly looking for shore. You haven’t seen your family in months and can’t wait to get home to hug your daughters and kiss your wife. As you look out into the water, you can just see land ahead. You’re very excited.

A few minutes later, you check how far away the land is. As you look through your brass telescope, you see land getting closer by the minute. You turn to your left and see something else through your telescope. It takes up the entire lens. As soon as you see it, your telescope immediately drops to the floor. You start to sweat. The brand promise associated with this image plays loudly in your mind.

The pirates board your ship and begin killing the crew. With your last gasp, you declare, “Yet again, the brand promise has been fulfilled!” The brand grows stronger as you grow weaker, and you fall to the floor.

This is a powerful story with an even more powerful moral. For email professionals, your email campaign delivers a predisposed brand promise. How you leverage the brand’s impact is up to you.

This story challenges us to determine the best way to position and strengthen our brands’ impact. Our duty is to ensure all aspects of an email campaign adequately represent the brand and its associated promise. We must work to make the brand stronger in the hearts and minds of our readers.

Does your email deliver the brand impact it should? Here are 10 quick questions to ensure your messages deliver on the brand promise:

  • Does my list understand why I will send them a message?

  • Does my brand logo sit where it can be easily seen and add trust and strength to the copy?
  • Does my creative appropriately represent that careful combination of personal relevance and corporate branding?
  • Will my reader feel a personal connection with the copy and understand how it will benefit her, fulfilling the brand promise?
  • Will my entire email be compelling enough to drive further interaction with the brand?
  • What are the top three words the reader will remember? Will she remember the brand? Are the words she’ll remember in line with the brand promise?
  • Is the brand representation strong enough so that readers will be compelled to forward the email to others?
  • Will my email be surrounded by other media, or followed by other email messages, so the reader doesn’t feel abandoned by the brand?
  • Is a reply to my email handled in a manner consistent with the brand’s promise?
  • Is the reader’s transition from the email to the Web site a smooth one that supports a better brand experience?

I work on many direct marketing campaigns these days. The brand’s impact on these messages makes it clear that in email, the line between marketing and advertising is blurred. As responsible email marketing professionals, we must ensure we fulfill our clients’ brand promise with every message we send.

Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.

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