Opinion

Small but deadly – why you must protect your brand ‘frum’ typos, just ask UOB

Never be complacent, because a simple typo could quickly ruin the image of your brand or you could end up as an internet punchline until the end of time, writes Sarah Ho Si Xian of Right Hook Communications

A newly launched card by United Overseas Bank (a Singaporean company) was supposed to be the talk of the town with the bank producing its first ever diamond-embellished credit card for high earners in Singapore. However, the local bank was flamed online over the past week for their hilarious typos that sent netizens into a frenzy.

The typos were found on a plaque for a table display at a private event to launch the new credit card for a selected audience. The text read: “Singapore’s first diamond embellished UOB Reserve metal card. For those who value exclusivity in it’s most extinguished form.”

As UOB brand executives were scrambling to put out the typo-induced flames, netizens took to their keyboards and engaged in a fiery pun-fest. Some predicted that this would ‘extinguish them (UOB) from the competition’. Others referred to the credit card as a way to ‘extinguish your bank account’. Opportunistic grammar freaks also had their share of criticism, pointing out the wrong use of the word “it’s”.

UOB made a very simple yet fatal mistake, which completely derailed the true intent of their message. Here are three reasons why you should protect your brand from typos at all costs:

1: It makes your brand look like a loser

While a simple typo can often be attributed to human error, it does erode the professionalism of your brand. Although it was a small mistake, not being able to get a short text right says a lot about UOB as a bank. If they can’t get their act together for such a simple task, how are they able to do other more complex things like manage your money? After all, first impressions do matter.

2: Your intended message is not received

A typo can often cloud the judgment of your audience, as they choose to focus on the more laughable aspects of your message rather than what your product actually stands for. Moreover, with people mocking the UOB card for its ability to extinguish savings from your bank account, it paints an even more negative picture of the product in question.

3: Think they won’t remember this? Think again

Although we think that people won’t remember such gaffes, these incidents have a tendency to linger and the internet never forgets. Remember CNN’s infamous 2014 Obama/Osama error upon breaking the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed? Even after so many years, that mistake is still referenced from time to time, to say nothing of the never-ending memes.

With such deadly errors being fatal for any campaign, here are three tips on how you can avoid typos.

Establish an editorial process

Many hands, or in this case eyes, make light work. Establishing an editorial process where your work is checked by at least one other person is crucial in defending your brand against typos and mistakes. Work that is reviewed multiple times can ensure that the final piece is a polished one that maintains the professionalism and integrity of the brand.

Test your ideas with an audience

For truly important stuff, it’s always best to run your ideas by a trusted audience. No matter whether you are testing your ideas with your colleagues or clients, it is vital to seek the viewpoints of others, who can bring new perspectives to the table and ensure that the piece contains unique ideas that resonate with your intended audience. Just ask Dove. Their allegedly ‘racist ad’ made waves last year for all the wrong reasons. If they’d shown it to the right test audience, who knows, maybe someone would have spotted the problem.

When all else fails, unleash your unagi

unagi (noun): A state of of total awareness, in which you can be prepared for any danger. Or, you know, freshwater eel, whatever…

Ross might have a point when it comes to defending your (client’s) brand. Adopting a mindset of heightened awareness can ensure that such gaffes do not happen. As much as you feel that you have left no stone unturned, remain aware of all the different ways that a situation could play out or how others could interpret your words. If needs be, set your work aside for a while. Do something else for a while or sleep on it and approach it with fresh eyes later.

Never be complacent, because a simple typo could quickly ruin the image of your brand or you could end up as an internet punchline until the end of time.

Sarah Ho Si Xian is no fan of typos

Sarah Ho Si Xian is a public relations executive at Right Hook Communications – a Singapore-based PR firm, which first published this article on its own website

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