How Email Can Kill Your Brand Image, and How You Can Save It

Email is a dying breed….or is it? By targeting in-market consumers you can assure yourself of not damaging your brand image


“The Problem: Hundreds of emails in your inbox each morning. The Solution: Fighting an onslaught of email is no different from managing a paper overload on your desk: the key is to take action on an item as soon as it arrives. Aim to read each message only once and either act on it or delete it.” – Wall Street Journal article, October 10, 2006.

Most would agree that making sure your email stands out from the other email your members receive will increase your return on investment and response rates. And some may think email marketing is a dying breed due to constant spam and unnecessary emails members get on a daily basis. The scenario of email dying is not likely. Even with the issues surrounding email today it remains the number one avenue for communication. Email providers have increased their efforts to reduce the clutter in their customers’ in-boxes by placing multiple spam filters in their systems. The result is all financial institutions, credit unions included, are having a tougher time reaching their customer base. The email addresses that you just collected today may never receive an email marketing promotion from you tomorrow.

Once you’ve assured yourself delivery by doing such things as managing white/blacklists, taking care of IP address look-ups, and making sure you have deliverability guarantees, the focus must shift to the most important thing plaguing today’s emails – branding. The number one challenge is to differentiate yourself from the mass e-mailer that spams your prospective and current members on a daily basis. Will messages that get through sabotage your brand image or will yours also end up in the “Junk” box?

How the message reflects upon your brand is critical. People don’t like getting emails that don’t pertain to them: “Click here to receive a Visa Card with a $20,000 credit limit!” is an offer I received last month. Only one problem, I don’t have a need for a new credit card. I have a sneaky suspicion that I wasn’t the only one who got this email, or the only one who had NO need for it. Recent studies show that failure to understand customer’s needs is one of the top customer complaints. Understanding these needs and addressing them are critical to the success of marketing efforts.

Email is a channel in which it is very difficult to predict customer needs. Member’s who are not in-market for the advertised product will be very frustrated with the perceived spam and many will go to great lengths to get rid of them. This could cause unneeded brand damage.  Email marketing that is relevant, matching the member’s needs, will have a far higher response rate than traditional email. This may take more time, but it could drastically cut down the amount of recipients you frustrate with your emails, improve your long-term results, and your current customers will thank you!




Sept. 10, 2007


  • Members have an ongoing relationship with credit unions and need to have access to a secure 2-way communications channel that they can always count on. email certainly is not it. Even if you keep off blacklists for the major carriers, email is not secure and still will face anti-virus, anti-spyware or anti-spam filters resident on the member''s or prospect''s computer. Forget about getting images or attachments through this gauntlet. There is a better way.
    Chuck Van Court