What’s a Brand Style Guide?
Do you use a brand style guide for your written content? If so, good for you. If not, I hope by the time you finish this post you’re convinced to consider it.
A style guide is not a list of rules; it’s more like a list of preferences of the creators of the guide. It will include suggestions for punctuation, words to use and not use, capitalization, and much more.
Its main purpose is to keep your writing consistent across all pieces of content. Your website, physical collateral such as brochures and booklets, apps, and advertising should conform to your brand style guide.
Most corporations use AP (Associated Press) style, though it was created for journalists. It’s also widely used in content for the web and marketing and communications.
Why Do You Need a Style Guide?
Especially if you have multiple contributors for the content you produce and publish, a brand style guide can help standardize your language and guard against bias, whether intended or not.
Using a brand style guide mean you are not at the mercy of the grammatical whims of an entire generation who has grown up using mobile devices and text messaging, many of whom may struggle to construct a complete sentence. In many cases, proper grammar is considered optional, and too many media outlets have eliminated editors.
You need a brand style guide for the same reason you need guidelines for how your visual assets are used. Here’s a section from Instagram’s extensive guide to the use of their brand assets, such as the logo and icon.
Their goal is a consistent appearance for their brand, no matter where it appears.
A writing style guide operates in much the same way. If you capitalize a word in one paragraph and not another, your content will be inconsistent and less than professional.
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