Blogging, text messaging, tweeting and other forms of social media continue to contribute to a less formal and personalized use of language in online marketing campaigns and electronic correspondence. It has never been more important for a brand to take the time to proofread its written communications. A brand that advertises its message through content that is articulate and well-organized, and with a minimum of mistakes, demonstrates a high level of attention to accuracy and detail – which, in turn, increases the perception of credibility, authority and trustworthiness among audiences.
A study conducted by Grammarly, the online spell-checking and proofreading application, investigated the information posted by several major competing brands on their LinkedIn profiles. The brands that made the fewest spelling and grammatical mistakes were found to be the companies with the greatest market share.
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The correct use of vocabulary and the mechanics of language by a brand is often regarded by end users as a reflection of its competencies in other areas, including its commitment to accuracy and efficiency, its ability to communicate information effectively, and its overall approach to ensuring the quality of its products and services. Typographical mistakes, incorrect grammar and punctuation and contradictory style standards not only can create conflicting messages and generate confusion, but reveal an embarrassing lack of professionalism that could compromise the reputation of the brand. If a company is careless about promoting its own brand identity, it calls into question how much attention is being paid to the other aspects of its operation.
The Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University, following three years of research involving more than 4,500 people, published a list of design factors that influence consumers when deciding what to believe is credible on the Internet. The use of clear, well-formulated copy, correct spelling and careful adherence to consistent formatting guidelines are among the important variables affecting how users perceive the integrity of the information they encounter as a part of the user experience online.
With baby boomers retiring and a generation accustomed to the world of instant messaging taking their place in the workforce, there would seem to be a growing disregard for proper spelling and grammar and a belief that the manner of presentation is of less importance than the message itself. Flexibility with the rules may be excusable in the realm of informal social media networking when relationships are casual and where copy length limitations may regulate the need for abbreviated language. However, to be taken seriously in the professional space, a greater degree of formality and attention to the conventions of grammar and spelling is essential. Misspellings have the potential to undermine consumer confidence and can impede the efficiency and rank ordering of online search results. It only makes sense to follow the example of the most successful brands by taking the time to ensure the accuracy of grammar, spelling and formatting across all marketing content before it reaches its intended audience.