Contracts are Marketing Documents
A few weeks ago, I was reviewing a noncompete agreement for a client who was considering a job offer with a big company. After reading the agreement, I told him that the agreement was very reasonable and fair, and that I wouldn’t recommend any changes to it.
Of course, he was delighted to hear this news. After that, he became even more excited about his new job, he felt that the company cared about their employees. This noncompete agreement was consistent with this company’s brand, part of which was “we value our associates.”
That’s not always the case. Many, if not most, noncompete agreements are not nearly as fair and reasonable as that. They're very one-sided and complicated, and full of legalese. They send a completely different message to their employees. Noncompetes may be just one example of that conflicting message, there may be many other such signals as well. And together, it shows a kind of hypocrisy that won't go unnoticed by the employees, leading to dissatisfaction and high turnover.
This is not just about noncompete agreements, of course! It applies to all types of contracts.
What impression would a one-sided, overly-complicated, full of legalese contract have on a company's clients? What about a sloppy contract full of spelling errors? What about a contract that suspiciously looks like an imperfect English translation from another language (maybe they even used Google Translate - [gasp!])?
Just like a company website, logo and business cards, a contract is also part of the brand. Any sloppiness in such a contract screams lack of professionalism. That not only damages the brand but also (and maybe even worse) clients can take advantage of such flaws.
Contracts should mirror the company’s brand and be considered a part of its overall marketing strategy. Not only should they be well-drafted and well-organized, but they should be part of a super simple signature process, using features like electronic signature. A great contract and an easy-to-sign process help create a perception of the excellent work that the company will provide and sets it apart from its competition. In other words, it’s supports the goal of having a marketing strategy.
I help clients with their contract branding. Contact me to make sure that your professionalism is reflected in your contracts.