What is the value of not making mistakes?

Last week a friend told me about what happened when his company brushed up on their brand identity, and how a simple distribution problem ended up costing them tens of thousands of dollars.

Espen Getz Harstad
Dec 6, 2017 · 3 min read

We help minimize mistakes.

Sometimes when people ask me about Brandpad, I just say that we’re in the design software market, because a brand guidelines system is so ‘nichy’ that I expect most people won’t understand what we are doing. If you’re not a designer, you probably don’t know the hassle regarding brand guidelines or even the importance of them. But last week, I ran into a friend who asked me, and in this case, he understood very well the value of what we were doing.

The story.

My friend work in a corporate IT company that had just brushed up their corporate identity. This was not a big rebranding project, but a modernizing of the existing visual identity they already had. When the project was finished, the new files and guidelines were passed down to the marketing department, the sales department and so on. The company was ready to move forward in an updated suit, and everyone was on board. Well, so they thought.

Distributing updated usage guides can be a hassle, and without a dedicated solution or strategy on how this should be done, the problem often grows with the number of people involved. If just one person gets left out of the loop, the problem can quickly become costly. Of course, this was the case with this company, as it turned out that the person responsible for the company’s garage didn’t receive the new guidelines. So what happened? Well, he used the old color codes when foliating twenty new cars. Two weeks later when they came back to the garage, the cars had had to be re-foliated, ending up costing the company twice as much as necessary.

How do we value not doing wrong?

As the founder of a brand guidelines system company, this story was right up my alley. But in addition to that, it spawned an interesting conversation about the concept of value and cost. It’s easy to calculate what a mistake like this costs you, but what about the value of not making that mistake? Minimizing mistakes as a value proposition is not something you see very often — except in the case of advisors maybe, where you pay to have someone guide you in the right direction. To me, it seems that not fucking up is considered a hygiene factor, even though people fuck up all the time. And how would you even put a monetary value on something that just causes you not to make mistakes? With Brandpad, we aim at closing the gap between the designer’s vision for a visual identity and the clients usage of it. But even if we could prove that having an identity on Brandpad would minimize accidents (like the one above), I’m not sure that would work as a selling point — at least not alone. Why is it that doing right has little value when doing wrong clearly has cost?


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