I was just about to make a positive remark about the attractive design on the cover of the document, when a colleague of the person whose department was responsible for putting the piece together blurted out, “Hey, Jim, the county’s name is spelled wrong on the cover of your report.”
You could have heard a pin drop as Jim (not his real name) flinched with embarrassment.
This scene unfolded during a branding workshop to a group of 20 county government leaders. It was at the point in the presentation when everyone gathered around a large conference table to peer-review each other’s printed materials. The purpose: To determine how well the materials reflected their respective departments’ brands.
Was the error that was pointed out on the document a mere typo? Hardly. The document in question happened to be a financial report that was scheduled to be released to the public.
If the county’s name is misspelled on the cover of this document, how can we be guaranteed that the page after page of dollar figures inside are correct?
In effect, the typo represented a breach in the trust Jim’s department was trying so hard to restore under new leadership.
There is nothing an organization can say or do that isn’t a reflection on its brand, everything from how courteously its phones are answered, to whether or not staff is dressed appropriately, and, yes, even typos—especially if you’re responsible for financial figures.
The fact is the public picks up on all kinds of cues that provide them with insights—be they right or wrong—about who you are, what you do, how you do it, and why they should care, which are the key questions any good brand must address.
Rightly or wrongly, perception is reality. Pay attention to details. They matter when it comes to how people perceive your brand—namely who you are, what you do, how you do it, and why they should care