We’ve all been there. You’ve spent hours working on an important document, continually scanning over and over to find traces of error and it’s only until after you’ve hit print that you find you’ve used a ‘no’ instead of a ‘know’ or repeated the same sentence twice. Luckily, printed errors on a small scale are often a quick and relatively cheap fix…but what if you’ve printed over 46 million copies?
This is exactly what happened recently when the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) made a spelling error on the new $50 note that somehow went unnoticed for six months. In the small text of Edith Cohen’s maiden speech, ‘responsibility’ is missing the third ‘i’ and to make matters worse, the same error occurs three more times on the note. A spokesperson from the RBA addressed the printing gaffe stating, “We are aware of it and the spelling will be corrected at the next print run.”
There’s a few things we can learn from this situation. One, before you print 46 million copies of anything, make sure you’ve had multiple people thoroughly proofread…and two, what you put out into the world will reflect back onto your brand.
Brands not only drive the impressions we leave and the impact we create but are a huge contributor to people’s perceptions and trust levels. The RBA’s embarrassing situation raises the question that if such an influential brand responsible for the nation’s currency can make such a simple mistake, what other errors are being made?
The RBA isn’t the only big brand to have suffered from an embarrassingly public proofreading blunder. American Republican politician Mitt Romney’s personal brand took a hit in 2012 during his run for President due to a misspelling of the word ‘America’ on his mobile app. While Romney’s campaign spokesperson brushed off the mistake saying, “I don’t think any voter cares about a typo at the end of the day”, at that pivotal moment in his campaign, the awkward typo may very well have lost him crucial votes.
A spelling mistake by most businesses won’t have the same impact as those made by the Reserve Bank or a presidential candidate, and we can take comfort knowing that we are all human and mistakes can and will happen for many reasons, some of them out of our immediate control. It doesn’t, however, mean that we shouldn’t always strive to produce the best quality work we can.
Ensuring that the messages we convey and how we communicate them are clear and without errors positively reflects on our brands and our attention to detail and professionalism.
At DAIS we have a Cert Four Eyes rule, where at least two people must check everything that leaves our studio. So proofread, always ask someone else to check over and then check a few times more. If it’s your brand it represents you, so it’s your responsibility.