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The Brain Can Detect Grammar Issues Without You Knowing: How Brand Standards Fix Your Business Communication and Boost Sales

by Savannah Lyons, on Aug 23, 2021 11:01:42 AM

Would you believe me if I told you that the brain can detect grammar errors even when you’re unaware

What about this: our brains are also hardwired to make grammar mistakes. That’s right—go ahead and forward this article over to your boss to explain the reasoning behind last week’s embarrassing typo. 

But typos are only half of the problem. The other half is being consistent with your brand standards. Why is this important? Because the same way our mind can spot typos, our brains subconsciously pick up on irregularities through text

Typos and irregularities lead to doubt and lack of authority. Doubt and lack of authority lead to a dry revenue stream.

If your team struggles to stay consistent in their copywriting, know you’re not alone. At Sauce Marketing, we take a lot of pride (and meticulous spell-checking) in ensuring that our clients relay messages clearly and consistently.

What are brand standards?

Brand standards are the rules, guidelines, and exceptions that preserve and protect the look and feel of your business. Oftentimes they’re compiled into a brand style guide or a digital rulebook. 

Establishing a brand style guide is crucial to communicating clearly to your audience. Why? Because an up-to-date brand style guide tells every member of your team how to write for your brand. It tells your audience what your brand means. It keeps your copy streamlined and consistent. Consistency in your messaging and branding keeps every stakeholder—from employee to customer—on the exact same page. 

Here’s what the typical brand style guide includes:

  • Key messaging (mission statement, vision, values)
  • Logo(s)
  • Colors, color palettes, and usage guidelines
  • Typography, fonts, and usage guidelines

While this is a great list, there is much more to your brand than the fonts and colors. The way you write copy communicates an aesthetic and authority as well. Don’t believe me? Keep reading!

Why consistency matters

Have you ever read an online article only to find a typo? How did it make you feel? Chances are it left a bad taste in your mouth and tainted the article you were reading. If they missed a simple spelling mistake, how do you know they won’t miss something if you were to hire them for your brand?

Typos and inconsistency undermine credibility. If you don’t have time and commitment to proofread and correct common writing mistakes, customers can’t trust you to solve their problem. 

Your brand is no different. As the StoryBrand methodology tells us, if you confuse, you lose. That includes your grammar and spelling. When your spelling and grammar are irregular, your reader is required to burn more calories deciphering whether or not the inconsistency is a message or a mistake. Save them the trouble by being consistent from the start.

You may be thinking, But Savannah, everyone knows you need proper grammar for your brand! And you’d be right! But you’d also be surprised to learn about the countless intricacies pertaining to grammar that, if neglected, can make or break your brand’s authority.

What should be consistent

Every part of your brand should be streamlined, guided by the map that is your brand style guide. When it comes to copy, here are several pieces to ensure are always consistent:

  • Titles: Do You Capitalize Every Word? Or go for a more casual approach?
  • Subtitles: ALL CAPS? Punctuation? Note it in your style guide so that your web designers know the correct font settings.
  • [Brackets], {braces}, (parentheses), oh my! Whichever you choose, choose one and stick with it.
  • Branded terminology: Your brand is likely to have some special terminology. Be sure you have established rules about their spelling and capitalization rules. 

Here’s an example of a few of Sauce’s branded terms:

  • Growth Guide (not Growth guide or growth-guide or growth guide)
  • #GrowSmarter (not #growsmarter)
  • Recipe for Success (not Recipe For Success or recipe for success)
  • Team Sauce (not team sauce or Team sauce)
  • Simmer Session (not simmer session or Simmer session)

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of everything to be included in your brand guidelines, but rather a starting point.

Tips for proofing your own work

Sometimes, you’re short on time or don’t have a proofreader available. Here are a few easy techniques to proofread your own work:

    • Install Grammarly. This free and handy app proofreads as you write. My personal favorite asset to the Chrome extension? Weekly emails informing you of how your writing compares to others, as well as what “tones” you’ve used the most in your writing. It can be quite illuminating.
  • Run your copy through Hemingway Editor. Another free tool that should absolutely be used at your disposal. The Hemingway Editor helps you keep your sentences in active tense without needless words.

  • Change the font. You’ve been staring at your Google Doc for four hours straight. Change it up a bit! Shifting to a new font can allow your eyes to read your text with a fresh perspective and spot those hard-to-find mistakes (like “to” instead of “too”).
  • Print it and proof it the old-fashioned way. Same logic as the previous tip, only this one makes you feel a touch more classy. Who doesn’t love an opportunity to harken back to the good ole days?

Nix your brand’s inconsistencies by partnering with Sauce

Brand inconsistencies are bound to happen, but they can be stopped and prevented by developing a strategic brand style guide with editorial guidelines to keep your brand streamlined. If you’d like to get started on your own, schedule a call with a certified Growth Guide to learn more today.