How much branding does a failed payment email need?

Quarterly Learnings Report: Customer stories and lessons learned, delivered quarterly

Last updated
Jan 27, 2022

How much branding does a failed payment email need?

When customers see a dunning email in their inbox, you want them to instantly think, "Oh, I know who this is from!"

Brand recognition and customer trust are important elements to get right. That said, too much customization can feel too impersonal, detract customer focus, or be outright off-putting in some cases.

Key Takeaway: keep your emails simple, and unmistakably on-brand.​

The Giraffe Gaffe

The Browser started out using a branded email layout with their logo at the top. After running campaigns for a few weeks, customers reached out asking, "Are these emails really from you? I don't see a giraffe anywhere in the email."

Realizing that their whimsical, recognizable giraffe caricatures were a key part of brand recognition, they added one to their email template.

Months later, customer concerns are gone and The Browser campaigns are running without a hitch.

Another company reports seeing higher engagement with plain text emails. Their customers are used to getting outreach in this form, and respond well to it.

And another found certain colors and stylized elements helped align dunning emails with marketing and other channels.

So what's going to work best for your company?​

The Right Approach

With customer feedback as your guide, the best approach is often to include a mix of branded emails AND plain text in your recovery flow.

A recent analysis of the top-performing Churn Buster accounts showed no correlation between extensive customization and higher performance — with top accounts running remarkably simple email campaigns.

So give your email templates a quick once-over to make sure they match your brand voice and are recognizable to your customers.

^ previewing from the campaign schedule

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
-quoted in Apple’s first marketing brochure​

From the Customer's Eyes

One more thing: send an email to yourself and see how it looks in your inbox *before* you open it. A common mistake is duplication of a company name in both the subject line, and in the sender.

For example, it could look like this:

Sender: Churn Buster
Subject: [Churn Buster] There's a billing problem!

By identifying ourselves as the sender, customers already know who the email is coming from.

Especially with longer company names, this wastes valuable inbox real estate. Customers checking email on a phone may not even see the full message—and with these emails, a subject line can be enough to prompt action.

Not sure how to approach branding in your email templates? Email and let us know how we can help.