All this new business stuff gives me a good opportunity to do a good deal of reading on industry topics. Some of it is pretty cerebral marcom stuff (theory, research methodologies)-but I like to see topics and strategies that people without marketing or communications backgrounds can understand and apply with success in the arena.
I got to thinking about the email signature. Practically every company I’ve worked with in the past 20 years or so has initially been falling down on this. Either they have email signatures and everyone more or less has done their own version (marred by all sorts of branding sins, i.e. incorrect logo usage, bizarre personal quotes, incorrect contact info), or they don’t use one at all (??!?!?!?). Just signing your name to a blank email is complete negligence, people!
Best practices from a branding perspective for email signatures is actually pretty easy stuff-and it just takes a few minutes to set up. Use your logo correctly, if you choose to use one. In government contracting, logo usage is often more difficult because government systems will save your logo as an attachment for security purposes, so you may just want to use your company name if you work a lot in those circles. Don’t forget to add your telephone, and company name if you don’t need the logo. For commercial use, I like social media links, but same issues with government systems, so you need to do what works for your organization. STOP with the personalized stationary, the biblical quotes, what your college football coach said to get you riled up for a game or the Shakespeare-save that for your personal stuff (or really just get rid of it, most people think it’s annoying).
Check to see what your marketing office recommends if your company has one of those (if not, give us a call!), and stick with it when you get a new machine. Also, including a Vcard is nice of you-I’d highly recommend that for anyone working in a development or sales role. Branding isn’t rocket surgery-but it does take some diligence and planning.