February 27, 2015

Power of the Pen

Power of the Pen

The hand-written note is back. And in this digital age of speed posting and garbled abbreviations instead of fully formed words and sentences, that’s really saying something.

First it was A-Rod (aka Alex Rodriguez), who issued an apology letter to fans, Major League Baseball, the Yankees, the Steinbrenner family and the Players Association, for the incorrigible behavior that landed him a one-year suspension. He put it all out there – in cursive writing – straight from the heart (and the public relations office) for all the world to see. Whether or not that gets him a pass from the fans and the media when he takes the field this spring (albeit, on first instead of third base), it was a humble and gracious way to re-engage with the public. Plus it probably diverted some of the hoopla when he arrived at spring training this week.

Then it was actress Emma Watson, who uploaded a hand-written love letter to funny guy Steve Carell on Twitter, to thank him for wearing HeForShe cufflinks to the Oscars. (The links are an emblem of a gender-equality campaign for which Watson, of the Harry Potter movie franchise, is an ambassador). How ironic is it that she used a channel with a 140-character maximum to deliver an image of a full-blown piece of correspondence? On the other hand, she could’ve just tweeted and been done with it, but she took the time to write out her thoughts long-hand. Yes, it got her campaign a lot of great publicity, but the consensus seems to be that it was a genuine and heartfelt gesture.

Maybe the business world should take a hint from all the attention being garnered by this recent outbreak of hand-written missives. Especially those of us in the client services business. Our clients are our reason for getting up in the morning, and whether it’s an occasional lunch or a phone call or, yes, a handwritten note, a personal connection will beat an email every time.

PS: For those of you who read my column two weeks ago about my recent restaurant travails, an update: Tracy and I were finally able to get into Upland, the Stephen Starr Italian restaurant on lower Park Avenue in New York City. To make a long story short, if I had to do it over again I’d take a pass. Definitely not worth the wait or the hype.