choozle

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Brand Standards & Guidelines

Language

Rules for Language

At Choozle, words serve a crucial purpose: they help us accomplish tasks efficiently while also reflecting our brand’s personality. The tone and voice we employ influence how people perceive Choozle. As humans communicating with other humans, our language aims to be personal, relatable, clear, helpful, and engaging, all while maintaining a professional standard.

The guidelines here support the idea of consistency—not uniformity—so that we’re speaking with a harmonized voice. Some variation based on product, device type, and the audience is expected.

• Strive for simplicity and clarity.
• Never use a long word where a short one will do.
• If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it out.
• Never use the passive where you can use the active.
• Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Personality

Choozle is committed, instructive, genuine, friendly, and innovative.

Genuine and committed experiences are the moments our customers don’t expect from a technology partner. Surprise and eliminate friction by guiding our customer to positive outcomes.

• Committed: We are devoted to solving our customer’s problems and business challenges.
• Instructive: We are open to guiding our customers through the complex landscape of digital advertising.
• Genuine: We’re sincere, trustworthy and reliable.
• Approachable: We treat our customers with respect as if they were a member of our team.
• Innovative: We are highly creative and agile to accomplish things in a manner that no one has done before.

Tone

Tone conveys our attitude toward what we are writing about and who we are writing to. When you create content – whether it’s introductory text on the UI, an error message, or a topic in the docs – you are essentially a storyteller. Good storytellers are experts in two main areas: what they are saying (the important information that the audience needs to know) and how to say it (the experience that they want to create for the audience). Be a good storyteller.

Voice

Voice is the foundation for communicating Choozle and our brand message. Our voice expresses the core of our personality while bringing comfort, ease, and a sense of connection to our customers. Our goal is to empower our customers to meet their business goals. Be consistent with voice across the platform.

Committed to the Customer

  • Be concise—write sparingly. Use familiar words and avoid extraneous info. What you take out is as important as what you leave in.
  • Supporting characteristics: Skimmable, Crisp, Clear, Minimal, Smart, Spare, Clean, Concise, Relevant, Real
  • Craft short sentences and use familiar, day-to-day words.
  • Write using active voice and simple present tense.
  • Make content scannable. Use bullets, bolding, line breaks, and white space.
  • Don’t overuse methods of emphasis. If everything is emphasized, nothing is emphasized.
  • Make it clear on every page what the call-to-action is. Shoot for one call to action per screen.
  • Don’t overwhelm customers by describing every option and outcome.
  • Make it easy for them to make a choice.
  • Showcase likely options or common scenarios aimed at the majority of customers, not edge cases.
  • Fight the pile-on. Don’t add links to every possible resource; don’t have multiple links to the same place on the same page.

Instructive but Simple

  • Guide customers in a reassuring way so that they know where they are, how they got there, and where to go next.
  • Supporting characteristics: Human, Reassuring, Friendly, Consistent, Clear, Committed, Personal, Helpful, Mentoring
  • Make content relevant to what customers are doing and where they are in the app. Avoid extraneous info.
  • Never leave customers hanging. Tell them what they need to do next.
  • Give customers clues about the length of workflows, where they are in the flow, and the benefit at the end.
  • Build customer confidence with cheering and encouragement.
  • Make the call to action clearly visible over other content in the screen.
  • If customers run into a problem, explain what happened (if helpful), why, and how to fix it.
  • Provide extra guidance for newbies or new features. Let customers know they’re OK.
  • Make it easy for customers to get help when they need it.

Genuine and Real

  • Talk directly to customers in a caring, friendly tone. Be conversational and create trust by making them the center of attention.
  • Supporting characteristics: Personal, Friendly, Empathetic, Real, Engaging, Conversational, Informal, Reassuring, Honest, Trustworthy
  • Show customers that you know them; make them feel good.
  • Address the customer as “you”; use “we” (as appropriate) for the product or Choozle.
  • Write as if you’re chatting with someone: use contractions, common phrases, interjections—even dangling prepositions.
  • Acknowledge the customer’s point of view and how they’re feeling.
  • Be honest and transparent. Don’t try to hide bad news or be overly optimistic.
  • Apologize when appropriate, but be sincere.
  • Make experiences personal by using customer info—name, company, and so on—where appropriate.

Approachable and Friendly

  • Engage customers with playful, and real language. Inject excitement and a bit of energy. Celebrate accomplishments.
  • Supporting characteristics: Spirited, Lively, Personal, Human, Energetic, Friendly, Approachable, Charming, Cheerful
  • Use active words, especially verbs; choose unexpected adjectives, nouns, and interjections for variety.
  • Cheer customers to make them feel good, for example, after first-time tasks or completing difficult steps.
  • Reward customers by sprinkling in a little humor. Don’t force it and keep it organic.
  • Make fun of the unexpected and random. Avoid repetition and frequent use. Keep it fresh!
  • Use universal, timeless experiences as scenarios. Avoid cultural references that might become dated.
  • Acknowledge tiresome tasks as, well, tiresome.
  • Never make fun of customers. It’s OK, though, to be self-deprecating occasionally.

Grammar, Punctuation, & Capitalization

The primary for spelling and grammar references for all Choozle communications are the latest editions of The Associated Press Stylebook and Webster’s New World College Dictionary.

abbreviations and acronyms

Spell out for the first citation and follow with the abbreviation or acronym in parentheses.

Avoid overuse of acronyms; include only if necessary to clarify multiple references in copy or if the organization/program/etc. is more commonly known by an acronym.

active voice versus passive voice

Active voice is a more natural, direct and succinct way of communicating. In a sentence with active voice, the subject is doing the action. In a sentence with passive voice, the subject receives the action expressed by the verb. When writing for Choozle, use active voice as often as possible.

ampersands

Use only if part of a formal name.

and/or

Try to avoid the “and/or” occurrence. Usually, rewriting the sentence with “or” better reflects the meaning. Other times, you should use “or both”.

capitalization

In general, avoid unnecessary capitalization.

Titles: Capitalize all nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, subordinating conjunctions, and a few conjunctions. (also referred to as title case).

Blog Headlines: Capitalize only the first word and any proper nouns (also referred to as sentence case).
Departments: Capitalize the formal name of a department; lowercase the informal name except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives (the marketing department).

Lowercase seasons: fall, winter.

commas (serial comma)

Do not use the serial comma in a simple series of nouns or phrases: red, white and blue (no comma before and).

Use the serial comma before the terminal conjunction in a complex series or in other cases where the serial comma will provide clarity and improve readability. Use a comma before and conducts.

company names and products

Refer to Choozle as “we” or “our” after the first mention, and always capitalize the first “C” in Choozle. Avoid the addition of an ‘s to indicate a Choozle possession. When describing a noun of which Choozle is in possession, write the sentence to describe both as separate nouns.

contractions

Use contractions to maintain a conversational tone when it’s appropriate for the audience and platform.

ellipses

Treat an ellipsis as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods with a space before and after (…).

Use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of one or more words when condensing quotes, texts and documents. Avoid deletions that would distort the meaning or dangling the intention.

Do not use ellipses in titles, headers or social media, and do not use an ellipsis when a colon should be used.

email and web addresses

Email addresses and URLs should appear in lower case, not underlined, eg name@choozle.com and www.choozle.com. Do not include http:// at the beginning, and do end with a full stop if the address appears at the end of a sentence.

em dashes

An em dash (—), like an ellipsis, has a space before and after. Use an em dash without spaces for a true break or to set off a parenthetical statement. The name “em dash” refers to the width of the dash — about the same width as the letter “m.” Don’t use two hyphens in place of an em dash.

en dashes

The en dash (–) is used to represent a span or range of numbers, dates, or time. The en dash is slightly wider than the hyphen (-) but narrower than the em dash (—). There should be no space between the en dash and the adjacent material. Depending on the context, the en dash is read as “to” or “through.”

exclamation points

Use sparingly, to indicate emphatic or emotional statements.

gender-specific language

Avoid language that indicates gender unless it is truly necessary; never assume gender.

hyphenation

When an adverb is used to qualify an adjective, if the adverb is not readily identifiable as an adverb, it should be hyphenated. Compound modifier, like third-party data.

Adverbs that end in ‘ly’ do not use hyphens eg slowly moving train, highly educated scholar

A hyphen is used to separate two vowels used together in a word when they are the same vowel, eg co-ordination, co-founders, co-operate, but reappointed not re-appointed.

The following words should not be hyphenated:
• online
• website
• email
• startups
• ad tech
• mar tech
• 3rd party

numbers

Should be written as actual numbers between zero – ten. When possible, avoid beginning a sentence with a large number or a calendar year. When writing a percentage, use numbers for the amount, unless it is over ten, and spell “percent.” However, because online content is consumed faster than printed content, use the percent symbol in email.

When describing a numerical range in most communications, write out the word to describe that span. When describing a range in tables, charts, graphics or graphs, use an en dash (–) instead of a hyphen.

In the context of money, capitalize the letter “K” as an abbreviation for one thousand and the letter “M” for million.

present tense

Use the present tense to describe product behavior. Avoid using the future tense to describe the way a product always acts.

second person versus first person

Second person, “you” or “your”: Use this conversational style for most situations, as though the platform is speaking directly to the user.

First person, “I” or “my”: In some cases, you may need to use this form of address to emphasize the user’s ownership of content or actions.

semicolons

Use a semicolon to separate two independent clauses that are not joined by a conjunction. When appropriate, use an em dash (—) instead, or simply start a new sentence.

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