No News is Good News

Over the years we’ve observed an interesting phenomenon. When a completed project is delivered to the client, we have a surefire way of knowing the work was well received. There’s a palpable silence.

By the same token, if the phone rings and it’s the receiving client on the other end, there’s something wrong. Fortunately, we’ve grown more accustomed o the silent treatment than the stomach churning phone call.

Over the course of 31 years, we’ve naturally made a few mistakes. There’s one that stands out. We were asked to create an in-house newsletter for a bank that, like so many others, no longer exists. The deadline was short. The bank’s expectations were high. We took on the assignment, believing it represented an opportunity for bigger assignments. We wrote the content, created an attention-getting design, and sent the work over for approval. The VP of Public Affairs was our point of contact. She was over the moon with delight. Off the project went to the printers.

The printer got the job done in lightning speed and the distribution deadline was met. We were golden until we received the dreaded phone call.

Our point of contact’s voice was practically unrecognizable. Her pitch was high, so too, I imagine, was her pulse. “Did you see it? Did you see the mistake?” I said I had not seen the mistake. What was it? “My title. You got my title wrong. The “l” is missing from the word “public!”

Somehow I managed to react with an appropriate level of concern. I offered to pay to reprint the document with the correction. She said that wouldn’t be necessary. The damage was done.

A few days later she called to say that her new title had given people a good laugh and that we could plan on doing the next issue.