Style Guide: The Invisible Cornerstone in Brand Building
What really moves a car?
If you are reading this, you are already aware that it takes four wheels to move a car. Not just that, all of them must move at the same speed and together. In short, the effort has to be synchronous because that’s the only way to move.
Similarly, it is not just how you write—it’s about how everyone in your organization writes. If not a signature style, all the documents at the very least should have common identifying elements. Inconsistencies, although small and seemingly irrelevant, have the potential to drive away clients. Therefore, it never harms to keep in mind what your readers or clients expect.
Simply put, every organization requires consistency in documents and a style guide ensures just that. The presence of an in-house style guide means that an organization emphasizes quality and values correct interpretation.
A style guide is an organization’s ready reference for writing. It sets the pitch for a document, deciding the formatting, how key terms are written, and the tone of voice. Primarily, it has the answers to your questions while writing or editing a document.
When in doubt, check it out!
If you think Google is your go-to buddy for everything you write, you definitely need a style guide!
A style guide is like an armory to bulletproof your writing against inconsistencies. For example, you could be split between US English vs. UK English; Asia Pacific vs. Asia-Pacific; besides vs. in addition to; mm vs. m for million; due to vs. on the back of; FY20 vs. FY 2020; period or no period after bullet points; space or no space after and before the em dash. A style guide also includes the dos and don’ts in usage of certain phrases and acronyms.
Editors are no exception! They usually work on documents from diverse verticals, each with a distinct terminology and style guide. It is not possible to recall each and every detail, and that’s when a style guide could make life easier. A quick flip at times is always a good idea because it reinforces the minute details that normally escape the eye.
The bottom line
There is no authority on what’s correct and what’s not. It’s always easier to consult the style guide so that the target audience can easily connect to an organization’s writing on the basis of consistency.
Stick to the style guide because it is the invisible cornerstone that builds and cements your organization’s brand!