Tomorrow is April 1—April Fools’ Day, a day when it’s traditional to pull pranks on friends, family, and co-workers. But we decided to use a day dedicated to (mostly harmless) lies as an opportunity to talk about truth-telling.
Truth-telling is an important part of Draper’s business outlook for several reasons. Many of our products are heavy, and will be suspended over people’s heads. Others will be used in classrooms where small children are present, in hospital rooms, or as part of military simulations. In these and many other situations, it’s important that we’ve told the truth about our products—that we’ve gotten the facts right.
- The fabrics don’t off-gas VOCs into the air.
- The projection screen specifications are accurate so the right solution is in place for critical viewing.
- The product is sturdy, stable, and safe.
We verify that what we say about our products is accurate through testing. Some of this is done by third parties, and comes with certification, such as UL, Greenguard Gold standards for off-gassing, or ISF certification for color accuracy in screens. Other testing is done at Draper, and repeated on a regular basis to verify that customers get a product that performs like we say it will.
When we say one of our projection screens is a gain of 1.0, then it will have a gain of 1.0 all over the screen. If we say a screen will have a certain viewing cone, then it will. If we say a product is Greengard Gold certified for no off-gassing, we can provide the documentation to prove it.
Interestingly, we also test products not manufactured by Draper. Often we find that what is published about those products’ performance isn’t accurate. We’re not talking about being slightly off—we all have very small tolerances we allow in lab testing—we’re talking way off.
Perhaps there are differences in equipment or testing procedures. Or perhaps others have a bigger “grey area” for how far off-spec a product can be. And anybody can have a bad day and miss a product problem that makes it to a customer. After tracking this for some time, though, we have to conclude that providing incorrect performance or specification information seems to be a consistent choice. Unfortunately, that means customers are getting products that don’t perform as advertised. That’s not just bad for a particular manufacturer; it’s erosion of trust that can impact all of us.
Draper strives to make sure our products perform like we say they will, and we test them repeatedly to verify that they do. It’s important to us because we want our customers to trust our products, and to succeed.
And that’s no April Fools.
What are your stories about product marketing and truth-telling? What has your experience been? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.