A Lesson in Consistent Branding from the New York Yankees

Frank Abagnale Sr.: “You know why the Yankees always win, Frank?”

Frank Abagnale, Jr.: “’Cause they have Mickey Mantle?”

Frank Abagnale Sr.: “No, it’s ’cause the other teams can’t stop staring at those damn pinstripes.”

I always think of this little bit of dialog from the movie Catch Me if You Can whenever I explain brand consistency in one of Constant Contact’s Email Marketing Boot Camps.

On April 11, 1912 the Yankee’s adopted the pinstripe uniform. 5 years later they added the “NY” monogram on the front. They have kept that same look ever since.

While other teams in the expansion explosion of the 60’s explored pop colors and logos, the Yankees kept constant. They held on to the pinstripes even through the brown and orange uniforms of the absurdist 1970’s.

For over 100 years those pinstripes have been dominant in Major League Baseball. Love them or loathe them, it’s hard not to respect them, as they wore those uniforms to 27 World Series wins. When the Yankees hit the field, opposing teams had to immediately feel the impact of Yankee dominance, their brand is that recognizable.

Your email can carry a brand that recognizable as well

Many small businesses and nonprofits change up the look and feel of each email. When I am shown campaigns like this I often ask why they would do it. The answer, to make each one look different so the recipient will know it’s a new email.

I also see this same kind of pattern around the holidays, with the email color scheme celebrating the holiday rather than the business. We tell our classes to be very careful and thoughtful about changing your email in this way, you could be limiting the number of opens you can get and weaken your brand identity not only in email but in other marketing efforts.

Consistent branding is fundamental

Branding in the modern sense was born from the cowboy days of the old west. Cattle were branded with hot iron to distinguish ownership. We’ve taken on that history with a brand immediately distinguishing a company. Brand also lends itself to the personality of an organization. In conjunction with an email full of tips, offers, and advice, it is this personality that connects your audience, emotionally to your company.

Brand is so important to successful email that it’s the very first thing we tackle in our classes. We apply as closely as possible the color scheme from attendee’s websites and logos. Thanks to Constant Contact’s easy-to-edit email templates, it is often easier than most attendees ever thought possible.

We build the email with that strong brand laid in

We then lock that email down without any timely content. This has now become a master template. Each subsequent email sent is a copy of the master template, consistently sharing the color scheme, links, and logo of the original email with the added timely content.

Once emails are sent on a firm schedule with engaging content that builds relationship, the consistency of brand allows the viewer to build a visual connection to your organization. With time, all the recipient needs to see is that branding in a preview and they will open the email. Once opened, the consistent branding allows a deeper affinity and should that recipient see your brand in other marketing vehicles the connection to your organization comes with them.

Let your brand be the first thing recipients see and connect to

Celebrate your organization’s big news in your text, images and video. Wish happy holidays with your content. But let a consistent and recognizable brand be the first thing your email recipients see. Brand recognition, the ability for people to tell you what a company does, sells and believes in, solely by color scheme and logo is coveted by originations big and small.

You start this process by keeping a consistent look and feel. Constant Contact offers a wide variety of email templates and styles. Regardless of what kind of email you send, it should contain the same look and feel so your brand will speak for you.

Hit the field with a consistently branded email

When the Yankees hit the field, over 100 years of brand recognition come with them. Their uniforms and logo carry far more than player names and numbers. They carry history, success, dreams and passion. If you are fan of the team, you are reminded within seconds of why you love the team. If you are not a fan you are reminded of what you loathe. Regardless, when your eyes stare upon those pinstripes, you have an emotion, and you remember.

When your “team” takes the email marketing field, lead with a consistent brand. Have your fans connect to you and feel the passion you have for what you do. Play ball!

Want to get some hands-on training about branding and more? See if there’s a Boot Camp in your area.

Photo Credit: mbell1975 via Compfight cc

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