Check Your Words Before You Wreck Your Brand

The stage was set, with a dozen or so giant screens and #branding slapped on everything. The perfect location was chosen — Ryerson University’s Digital Media Square. The people behind the podium were all prominent players who had a hand in the massive announcement.

But when Ontario premier Katherine Wynne took the stage to announce her new initiative to increase government transparency, the audience could focus on only one thing — the glaring spelling error on the podium.

It read, “Open Goverment #OpenON.”


Reporters tossed question after question at the flustered premier, who deflected the blame on an unnamed staffer, and the entire launch, meant to be a benchmark for her premiership, was overshadowed by the missing n.

Critics claimed it was emblematic of Wynne’s rush to push an initiative designed to draw attention away from other scandals.


The lesson? Something as simple as a missing letter or even a misspelled name can mar your brand and make you look unprofessional, uncaring or, in Wynne’s case, unprepared. It could imply a lot more than a simple error — it could imply deeper, systematic problems in your organization (whether that’s true or not).

Your audience needs to know that you put as much time into your communications as your customer service. It needs to know you’re organized and care enough to check your messaging.

Simply, your audience needs to know you’ve got your stuff together.

So check your spelling. Check it again. Get someone with fresh eyes to check it. FaceTime your mom if necessary. Do everything it takes to ensure your words are perfect.

Make sure you are saying only what you want to say, and not implying anything else, good or bad.

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