To be or not to be ..

…taken seriously? That is the question. It should be easier than ever to get your brand message ‘out there’ as access to online platforms via phones has become the norm. Once the realm of the young, switched-on crowd and nerds/geeks, even the most staid companies realise the potential marketing opportunities. Big bucks are spent on interactive websites, lavish campaigns, and social media feeds. Companies spend a fortune designing expensive packaging, and promoting consumer experiences for their products. But how come so many forget the basics? How can you expect to be taken seriously when you launch a website with simple spelling mistakes? What about a ‘news’ feed that contradicts your website’s front page? A slogan or brand catchphrase that doesn’t make any sense?

Stop! The old adage ‘Back to basics’ is what’s needed.

Use a proofreading service to make sure you have covered the basics:

correct spellings ✔

correct grammar ✔

correct language ✔

In a country like South Africa with our multitude of languages, what passes as ‘ok’ colloquially is often not acceptable when written. Your website is visible around the world. And many companies are targeting overseas customers.

Is the style of your writing in keeping with the rest of your brand? A casual style, peppered with ‘slang’ may be right for a young, hip brand, but not necessarily for companies appealing to the luxury market or the older generation.

Is your message consistent?

A visit to my local supermarket recently proved my point. Numerous spelling mistakes made labels farcical. A poster on the wall declared that they are “inspired to get it right”. Do I believe their claim? Do I notice their in-store promotions? Do I feel inspired to return?

A friend commented that I was taking it all too seriously and that I must remember, “This is Africa, after all”.

We are paying the same (if not higher prices) as First World countries for our groceries, books, Internet access and telecommunications. If we need, and are paying for these things, then shoddy products, service and image cannot be acceptable. If South Africa wants to do business with the rest of the world and be taken seriously, it is time to lose the ‘Third World’ excuse. Yes, we are a developing country but it’s time for South Africans to help themselves – take business seriously and the rest of the world will listen.

If you are not sure whether your business is communicating in the way it should be, contact Sleet Consultancy to discuss our services and how we can help.

Jan Evans Sleet

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