Why it’s important to create an organisation Style Guide

Big businesses have in-house style manuals or style guides which set out basic grammar rules and conventions, plus those used specifically by the company.

This is so each document put out by the business, including emails, is presented consistently. For instance, every time an employee creates a bullet list, the style guide means, in theory anyway, that they will stick to the company’s convention for bullet points. It could be that semi colons are always used at the end of a bullet point, or never. If you are unsure, the style manual will tell you.

Of course, most businesses grow organically and don’t have the luxury of a style guide.

Consequently, every employee will be using different conventions and styles. It’s not the end of the world, but when you are trying to build a brand, consistency is everything. It does look odd to receive emails from different people at the same business where one has used initial capitals on the title ‘Managing Director’, and the other has not. It looks as if there’s a lack of attention to detail.

My advice is to KISS – Keep It Simple…

Your style manual doesn’t have to be too long or complicated; one-page A4 should be enough. Think about how you want your business to present common phrases and grammar:

  • Job titles – initial caps or not?
  • The directors or the Directors?
  • Bullets – semi colons or not?
  • Dates –12th June or 12 June?
  • Abbreviations with full stops or not– I.T. or IT? K.P.I or KPI?

For help with copywriting, proofreading any of your business documents, contact Proof Communications on 02 8036 5532 or 0411 123 216 or head to the contact page.

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