March 4 is National Grammar Day. But in today’s world of texting and tweeting, should good grammar* even be a concern? Should it be a concern in marketing and branding?
Why good grammar DOES matter in marketing
1. Bad grammar can damage a company’s credibility
Poor language skills can be a red flag that causes your audience to question the quality of the product you’re selling. Think about it, most people don’t want to buy from a company that has grammatical errors across its website or social media. It comes across as sloppy and unreliable. Yes, grammar even counts in social media!
2. Bad grammar can make your emails look like spam
According to Norton, emails littered with misspellings and poor grammar are usually signs of fraud and could be marked as spam.
3. Bad grammar can hinder your search engine optimization (SEO) success
Does spelling and grammar matter for SEO? Yes. This Responsory post by Jill Zacher explains how poor grammar can negatively affect your SEO and your user experience.
Why good grammar DOES NOT matter in marketing and branding
1. The Father of Advertising said so
David Ogilvy, widely regarded as the Father of Advertising, said, “I don’t know the rules of grammar. If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think.” In other words, know your audience — and speak to them in a way that helps them respond to your message.
2. Language is just another one of our creative tools
“Black and white photography is the correct form of photography and the only form that should be used in marketing.”
“The trifold brochure is the proper format for marketing collateral and the only format that should be used.”
These statements show the folly of placing limits on any of the tools in our toolbox. Language — just another one of our tools — was created by people for people. Its rules evolve as our needs evolve. We’re the boss of it … it’s not the boss of us.
3. Good grammar can break good marketing
“Got milk?” vs. “Do you have milk?” ’Nuff said.
Marketers need to communicate in a way that helps us achieve marketing goals. If we strategically bend — or even break — a grammar rule along the way, no harm is done. But if we break a grammar rule accidentally, the harm can be devastating.
*Note to sticklers: The definition of “grammar” is stretched here to be a catch-all for the rules and regulations of language.