I have a branding dilemma and I'm not sure if it's something minor or a symptom of something major. Ready for this?
Should I use caps or lower-case?
You can roll your eyes all you want, but it's a question that's starting to bother me. Stay with me for a minute. The internet has plenty of presentation norms and I know what most of them are. At the very least I know that web pages for business executives have significantly different norms than chat messages between teens.
case for lower
but i don't want to use capital letters. lower-case is more relaxed; more personal. it's how i want you to feel when you come over for dinner. you might think it's the finest table and tastiest food, but i want you to wander around the house if you'd like, get something from the fridge, or laugh out loud. lower-case is more my style.
lower-case is also easier, which means it's what i'd rather do. same point, less time.
Case for Upper
But I don't want to use lower-case either - at least not for writing. When I read through a dozen comments on a blog and one is written in lower-case, I skip that one or else put a lower value on it. I can't help thinking the writer is less educated. How arrogant, you say. Well I'll add hypocritical, too, since I e-mail almost exclusively in lower-case!
Caps are also more professional and readable. I can imagine my second-grader trying to read a chapter book with no capital letters. Talk about run-ons.
For you non-analyzing types, you can't believe this is anything but a joke. But for me, a writer and speaker who mixes with a variety of audiences, this is only partly funny. I don't toss and turn or seek counseling over it, but it crosses my mind subtly every time I log on and start to type.
This constant e-wareness of whether to use caps or lower-case is why I think it is a symptom of something more serious. See, I'm the guy who reads Henri Nouwen's books, like Reaching Out or The Genesee Diary, and says, "Henri knows me." I'm the guy who reads Brennan Manning's Abba's Child and passes it on to all my friends. (Notice the link? I'm passing it along. Check out the others while you're at it.) I think I'm suffering from a case of Personal Brand Insecurity and I'm sure it's affecting my work.
PBI isn't just about what letter forms I should use. It is about searching for who I am, trying to find my voice, and wanting to care less about people's impressions and more about what matters. In C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, the demon uncle gives the following advice to his apprenticing demon nephew:
"The man who truly and disinterestedly enjoys any one thing in the world, for its own sake, and without caring twopence what other people say about it, is by that very fact forearmed against some of our subtlest modes of attack. You should always try to make the patient abandon the people or food or books he really likes in favour of the 'best' people, the 'right' food, the 'important' books. I have known a human defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions."
As I think about branding, advertising and all aspects of marketing, I wonder how someone like me could do it consistently and honestly while suffering from PBI. I applaud all of you who can.
Any advice? (About caps or lower-case, I mean, although PBI counsel is welcomed, too.)