Chalk Talk

A Bad Spell of Branding

I confess. I make instant judgments.

The above photo is an exception*, but when I see misspellings and bad punctuation, I immediately judge the writer as unintelligent, uneducated, or, worst of all, lazy. I hate to admit it, but I’m so bothered and distracted by it that I totally lose the impact of the message.

Take the apostrophe. Why do people feel the need to add an apostrophe willy-nilly to anything plural? Or they don’t understand that it stands for a missing letter in a contraction. “It’s” means “it is.” “You’re” means “you are.” Simple, right? Apparently not, as this mistake is everywhere. When an advertiser does it, what happens to that brand? I, for probably not one, think it’s unintelligent, uneducated or lazy.

For example, a Stella Artois sign, the beer that brands itself as premium and sophisticated, advertises: “PERFECTION HAS IT’S PRICE.”

Stella Artois example

Ironical, isn’t it?

Missing the proper comma changes this Diet Pepsi headline: “PACKED WITH TASTE LESS SUGAR”

Pepsi needs a comma

Which leads to the fewer vs. less rule.

Seriously, how many “LESS CALORIES” can you find on packages in the grocery store? It drives me to drink the full-strength stuff.

Am I the only one who judges a brand this way? Nope. And it gives me hope, people. A study last March by Standing Dog Interactive revealed that 58 percent of consumers were either “somewhat” or “very” annoyed by the presence of copy errors, with one respondent volunteering: “If…I see a typo, I’ll leave without buying a thing.”

It just goes to show that every message, every communication, every word you put out there reflects on your valuable brand.

Protect it. Nurture it. Build on it. But be careful; one slip and it’s the difference between “knowing your shit and knowing you’re shit.”

* I actually love the “Mo Fyah Creations” sign. For me, that’s not bad spelling, that’s attitude.

Red Chalk Studios has been helping clients understand, develop and grow their brands for over 16 years. Interested in building a strong and successful brand? Let’s talk!

Interested in growing your business?