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Renea Morris

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Branding OHIO: Using e-mail to reinforce our identity


E-mail is quick and easy to use and has become a necessary form of business communication. It is important to remember that despite its alacrity, e-mail should follow the same guidelines as any written communication.

Think of an e-mail as a letter. You want to capture the attention of the reader and ensure that your message is understood. With e-mail, the date and your return (e-mail) address are already added; the major components you’ll need to include in your message are subject and signature.

Subject
When reading the subject, the recipient should have an idea of what’s in the body, how important it is and an understanding of the call to action. The message should be organized, clear and concise. It should not contain spelling or grammar errors. Use the spell check feature and re-read your message before hitting send. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to read. One e-mail = one subject. If this isn’t possible, use subheads to ensure that the most important details are apparent.

Message
E-mail can never fully replace verbal communication. In fact, some discussions shouldn’t occur through email because of difficulty in expressing the intended tone. If the tone of your message is a little rough, it’s probably a better idea for you to pick up the phone. Moreover, it’s never a good idea to send a message written in anger. Take some time to cool off sending the message. You may decide not to hit send at all.

Signature
To close the message, most e-mail programs give you the ability to create a standard signature that appears at the end of all of your email messages. An e-mail signature is important because it affects the tone of every email you write.

At a minimum, your e-mail signature should include your name, organization, position, and how to get in touch with you. Please also consider the following:

  • Keep it as short as you can while providing all of the information you deem most important  
  • Condense information into fewer lines by using bullets to separate text
  • Include links to your most important social network profiles
  • Include your e-mail address 
  • Update your signature on your mobile device if you use it to send messages frequently

This link takes you to the brand website where you will find several resources that demonstrate our brand in action, including brand guidelines and e-mail signature templates, which you’ll find at www.ohio.edu/brand/look/signatures.cfm.

For OHIO consistency, the e-mail signature format follows our business card design in the way the information is displayed. Someone from University Communications and Marketing can help you set up your email signature, using one of the preferred templates. We will replace the University’s social network sites with those of your college or unit to ensure relevancy with your constituents.

Every touch point, including your email signature, presents an opportunity to express OHIO’s identity.