So today, for the third time, I find myself chasing major companies for money after the 30-day period on my invoice has expired.
I do wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t kept my records in order. Would I ever have been paid? Or would the invoice be expedited/dormanted/deleted, or lost behind a filing cabinet, as per Brazil?
This is about more than money. It’s about brand.
People sometimes talk about brands as if they’re something mysterious or difficult to grasp. They talk about brand equity and brand values. They mention brand advocates and – yuk – leveraging brands. Or brand synergies. Arghh.
For me, it’s simple. A brand is the person as company – quite literally, the corporate. Some companies are nice, others are nasty. Remember how PR is essentially about what people say about you when you leave the room? Well brands are the same. You’ll do business with them and if you continue to love them you’ll tell people how great they are. If they don’t pay you in time – after 30 days, for chrissakes – you’ll smile and be nice to them in future, but slag them off to your friends. Like I’m doing now.
Of course, culprits shall not be named – even the ones that were 40 days late, or the ones who failed to pay me on time twice – but suffice to say, they should be big enough, and grown up enough, to know better.
Because when I first met them I thought they were great. But poxy accountants, working in the engine room, thinking that their efforts have no impact on the brand, have now made me very wary of working with them again. Their brand is damaged.
So, it’s an object lesson. Brands work outside the company, and inside. They permeate the company. If the company wants to be associated with great client service, then each and every member of the company needs to know this and work with it in mind. Even the accountants. Good Lord, even the copywriters come to that.