Our perspective at VantagePoint

“The Bug Couch”: Remembering that even the smallest missteps can damage a brand

Long before I joined the VantagePoint team, a bug crawled out from between the cushions on a couch in the middle of our art department during a daily traffic meeting. This one bug surprised the unsuspecting account executive who sat on the couch that morning—who, in turn, forever dubbed this couch, “the bug couch.”

I’ve never actually seen a bug descend from this couch, yet I still call it “the bug couch” like my colleagues and carefully eyeball the cushions before taking a seat. And last week, when a new account coordinator joined our team, what did we do? Warned her of the bug couch, of course!

My point? This otherwise clean, well-structured, comfortable couch had one bug many months ago, and its personal brand may never fully recover.

Most companies are aware of the critical importance of crisis planning and communication to squash any big “bugs” that may come their way. But what about those small, pesky bugs we tend to swat away without so much as a second glance? That poorly designed presentation? The makeshift product brochure? Those typos in the catalog? The less-than-effective training? A misguided message? Collectively, these seemingly small overlooks can create a colony of brand-damaging bugs.

It’s not uncommon for marketing departments to pour immense effort and attention into major initiatives, while dismissing issues in smaller projects to allow more time for the larger tasks. But what about those customers or prospects who notice these mistakes or are disappointed in the quality of a presentation? In their eyes, your brand may appear out of touch, outdated, inconsistent or worse.

To help prevent such negative brand encounters, identify the areas that get the least attention and determine if there are ways to improve the process:

  • Could refreshed templates be created to standardize common needs?
  • Could outside resources be tapped into?
  • Are brand style guidelines in place?
  • Can you initiate a proofing process?

Just like an exterminator will tell you, a little preventive control can go a long way in protecting you from future damage.

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