Designer | Writer

Brand Voice and Tone

Deloitte Digital US went through a re-branding exercise, and needed guidelines for their updated approach to communication.

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Deloitte Digital is stability with fearlessness. We listen to our customers and our gut. We hear what they’re saying and what they’re not. We’re fast, but we’re thoughtful. We never lose our sense of humor. We’re smart enough to know that learning never stops. Good enough is never good enough.

 

Using our words…and stuff

With every bit of content we publish, we aim to:

Surprise – Bring something new, either in subject matter, approach, result, or punch line. Rather than explain what we are not, show them what we are. Build on the exciting tension that not knowing what will happen next can bring. Embrace the unexpected.

Engage – Meet our clients where they are, and then bring them along to where you want them to go. Make them feel welcome, and give them reasons to stay. Be respectful, be inclusive and, yes…be funny.

Empower – Give them the tools they need to make a decision, and make those tools easy for them to find. See each interaction as an opportunity to educate – about our work, about our aspirations, about our culture. Speak to them like the smart, capable people they are – come from a place of equals, not experts.

Inform – Honesty is at the core of our communication – avoid the overly dramatic and extravagant. Focus on what you know to be true, and what you believe to be helpful.

To do this:

Be clear – Eschew obfuscation. No jargon, no grandiloquence, no bullshit. Choose the simple path. Never use two words when you can use one. Be direct, but be kind.

Be useful – Have a point, and get to it. Answer their questions, and give them the information they’re looking for (not just what you want them to know. It isn’t always about you. Jeez.).

Be friendly – you’re a human. They’re humans. So…write like a human. If that means you break a few grammar rules, that’s okay. We’re trying to have a conversation, not a monologue. Start with writing like you talk, and then take it from there.

Be appropriate – this should go without saying, but…it needs to be said. Know your audience, and change your tone and presentation accordingly.

 

Voice and Tone

One of these things is not like the other…

Voice

Deloitte Digital’s voice is human. We do a lot of cool stuff, and we’re excited to talk about it, and we want our audience to understand. So our voice is friendly, approachable, direct, and clear. We want to let people know about us and what we do so they can make good decisions and get on with their lives. We do not want to baffle, talk down, or delay.

We are:

  • Entertaining but not goofy
  • Confident but not cocky
  • Intelligent but not dull
  • Informal but not careless
  • Helpful but not domineering
  • Expert but not officious
  • Weird but not awkward

Tone

So, we’re pretty informal. Remember, it’s a conversation between equals, most of the time, so it’s okay to relax a little. But it’s better to be clear than be clever. A little empathy will be helpful – be aware of where your audience is, what they’re looking for, and their frame of mind. Once you have an idea of their emotional state, you can adjust your tone accordingly.

Deloitte Digital has a sense of humor, so it’s okay to make a joke when it’s appropriate and if it makes sense. But jokes are like UX: if you have to force it or explain it, it isn’t good. If you’re not sure, just don’t.