“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Ralph has a point here and foolish consistency can be a horrendous hobgoblin when you’re developing written materials for your business. You can grind yourself into minutiae oblivion trying to ensure consistency in your brochures, business cards, web sites, invoices, forms, business plans, and presentations.That said, Ralph’s wasn’t railing against consistency, rather “foolish” consistency. Particular when it comes to business publications, a measure of editorial consistency is worth pursuing. There are esoteric reasons, but here are the pragmatic motivations:
* Consistency will save you money because you’ll spend less time editing and proofing your business materials.
* Consistency will make you look more professional if all your publications have the same look and feel — consistency is a key to brand building.
* Consistency will make it easier to work with subcontractors and vendors because they’ll have a guide to how your company formats business materials.
The quickest way to establish editorial consistency is to adopt a style guide. You can create your own style guide — and in time, you probably will. However, it’s easier and quicker to build on what’s already available. Almost every publication and corporation from the Associated Press to General Electric has their own style guide and it’s easy to adopt one of these are you own.
The Associated Press style guide is one of the most simple and universal; almost every English-language newspaper uses it. So that’s a good place to start. As you encounter style issues, you can develop an addendum that’s specific to the editorial issues of your organization. That will ensure that you don’t print your company name in three different formats in the same publication.
* Bob’s House of Carpet
* Bob’s house of carpet
* Bobs’ House Of Carpet
* Bobs House of Carpet
So don’t be foolish, but be consistent and reap the rewards of presenting yourself professionally every time you write.