To those of us who can still write and read cursive, a handwritten note can make a lasting impression. We grew up sending handwritten letters cross country to friends and would wait eagerly for their reply. We called them pen pals. Today they’re called Facebook friends and we have more friends than we actually know on a personal level and wouldn’t even know what to write if we were so inclined – which we’re not. Tweet maybe. Write never.

So I was surprised when I received a handwritten note from a restaurant where I had recently dined. Immediately I was impressed that they took the time to personally thank such a modest patron as myself. I would expect this type of personal recognition for a CEO who treated his staff to a banquet of surf and turf and fine wine – but not to the guy who ordered the grilled steak salad and the ice tea.

However, once my eyeglasses cleared from the “warm and fuzzy” vapor I was emitting, I read the note and was dazed. Apparently, the restaurant thought enough to send the note, but didn’t think the content mattered. In the 24-word note, I counted four punctuation errors, two misspellings, and a preposition and conjugation error that rendered the intended message painfully unintelligible. I suspected that the person who sent the note had assigned the task to her adopted Ecuadorian eight-year old who was not only learning English but also cursive – until I remembered that they don’t teach cursive to eight-year-olds of any nationality anymore.

Since branding at every stage of customer interaction is vitally important, should I be touched by the gesture and the thought behind it? Or should I be mortified that a fine dining establishment allowed a corporately-branded linen card linen be sullied with content that might as well have been written in crayon? If I was not expecting a thank you note in the first place, “no note is good note” might apply.

Facilities, merchandising, marketing collateral, packaging, signage and employee behaviors all contribute to your customers’ perception of your brand. That’s why a brand audit from Electrum Branding goes beyond the measurement of customer service delivery and provide an ongoing assessment of business compliance and adherence to your brand standards.