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July 17, 2007

First Impressions as fast as thought

Clothing retailer, Markham fascinates me. It went on this massive branding exercise. After all was said and done, it changed its name from Markhams to Markham. Dropping the S must have been a huge creative stretch.

And, a year or so down the line,  the old logo “Markhams” still  crops up. Well in Klerksdorp and Shelly Beach at least.

Markham is not the only one that doesn’t look after its brand. Check out the Supreme Court, next time you watch the news – there are at least four letters missing from this high institution. I walked past my local fire station (Sandton) the other day – there was grass growing through cracks in the pavement and litter lying in the entrance.

In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell says that we form an impression of something and make a decision about it in two seconds. And here I thought we had two minutes to make a good or bad first impression.

It seems that when it comes to managing perceptions it is important for companies to ‘sweat the small stuff’.

That is why I believe we have to be so protective of our brands. People buy from us because they feel safe. If they see that we cannot even get the small things right, it raises doubt in their minds about our ability to do the big things right … like doing a good job for them.

As a copywriter I’m always scanning for spelling mistakes. Perhaps your clients do too and judge you on the minute errors you make.

Next time you send a proposal to a prospect, double check the spelling … getting it wrong could mean the difference between winning a contract or losing a contract.

One Comment on “First Impressions as fast as thought

Jurgen Tietz
August 13, 2007 at 8:36 am

2 seconds is too little (a blink of my eye – and I know)and 2 minutes is too long – lets settle for 30 seconds,but FIRST IMPRESSIONS make or break your future relationship with a client. That’s why you have to look the other person in the eye to see either the spark or that dull, blank look. If tha latter happens, then STOP, be honest and challenge the other party to be honest as well by saying something like; “I SEE I am doing something wrong. Please help me here and let us start agin”.
BTW I see you get hardly any comments to your blogs? Does the blog do something for you in terms of bringing in business? Do you get notified when a comment gets posted? Maybe we can have a chat next time at NSASA about the ins and outs of blogging Vs news letter, etc. as I am thinking along those lines as well, but want to do it such that I get business from it

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