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Building content style guide for Sinarmas Bank

A close look into the processes of creating a consistent language attitude and writing mechanics for the SimobiPlus app.

This document will guide you through the brand voice, tone, and principles for writing user interface copy in the SimobiPlus app.

Target users

Who: Sinarmas employees

Age: 25 - 40 years old

In-app activity: Receive payrolls, make payments, withdraw money, manage savings, manage expenses, manage portfolio.

Attitude

Attitude consists of voice and tone.

 

Voice is the core personality of our company. It represents who we are. If users describe our brand as smart and lighthearted, we need to communicate that way. Personalities are authentic and therefore don’t change quickly.

 

Tone, on the other hand, is the expression of the said personality that changes situationally. That said, the way we communicate should fit with the users’ current emotional state.

 

When these two are applied consistently in our product and marketing, it forms a closer connection between our brand and users. Therefore gaining their trust.

Brand voice

As a brand, our voice should blend with Gen Y (ages 25 - 40) and Gen X (ages 40 - 60). We need to sound professional, but not rigid or complex. 

 

These are the common traits that describe our voice:

Direct

We don’t get to the point, we start with it. Crisp and clear but in a polite and respectful manner too.

Simple

We avoid using jargon or industry-specific terms. We make sure every information is scannable.

Colloquial

We’re formal but humor comes into play occasionally when appropriate, especially for marketing purposes.

More than anything, we should always sound human.

 

Copy tone

To ensure we choose the right tone, we follow these steps:

  1. Understand the context.

  2. Get in sync with the user’s emotional state.

  3. Respond with a tone that resonates.

Regardless of the context, our tone needs to reflect what’s most appropriate according to everyday life.

Grammar and mechanics

Our writing principles will guide you towards creating user interface copy that’s suitable for our brand, users, and mobile apps.

Writing principles

We’re all about bigger ideas and fewer words.

Consistent

Stay true to your voice and tone. Consistency in voice, tone, and vocabulary throughout the experience builds trust, prevents confusion and makes for a cohesive, smooth experience.

Reduce the number of words users need to memorize. Don’t use different words if they mean the same thing.

Contextual

Offer the context for what the user is currently experiencing, and adjust your tone to sound appropriate. 

Always empathize with the user and ask ourselves “what am I feeling or thinking” when landing at a particular message.

Clear

Remember that we’re writing for humans. Make words sound natural. Use words that are suitable for all reading levels. Lead with what’s important and help users solve problems.

Concise

Economical and frontloaded. Concise doesn’t always mean short copy. It means that each word serves a heavy-lifting purpose, making each line incredibly efficient. Reveal detail as needed.

Above all, every piece of writing needs to be meaningful for the users.

 

Writing application

Based on our voice, tone, and principles, this is how we put them all into words.

Spelling (English only)

All the words need to be spelled in American English.

Active and passive voice

Use the active voice when we want to prompt the user to do something or when we talk about processes. Otherwise, it’s fine to use the passive voice.

Contractions (English only)

Use contractions as much as possible, and only if they’re universally understood. Contractions create a more conversational and friendly tone.

Capitalization

There are different forms of capitalization: title case, sentence case, all uppercase, and all lowercase. Title case capitalizes the first letter of every word except prepositions and conjunctions. Sentence case only capitalizes the first word.

Emojis

We may consider using emojis for marketing purposes e.g. campaigns or promotions, but we shouldn’t use them for usability purposes.

Date and time

For dates, we use the Day Month Year format. For days below 10, do not use a 0 before the number. For example, 6 Feb 2023, not 06 Feb 2023. In a limited space, you may shorten it by only writing the first 3 letters of the month.

 

Punctuation and symbols

The use of periods, slashes, ampersands, exclamation marks, oxford comma, and hyphens.

Pronouns

To reflect our professional brand voice, we should only use “Anda” (with a capital letter) whenever a pronoun is required. However, we may consider using kamu for marketing purposes depending on the channel, segment, and other requirements.

Currency

No space between the currency symbol and thousands are separated with a period (in Rp) or with a comma (in foreign currencies).
 

Numerals

  • Always use numbers rather than spelling them out (9 NOT sembilan). 

  • For numbers higher than 1.000, use a period as a decimal separator (1.503 NOT 1,503)

Hyperlink

In most cases, we don’t need a fullstop when it’s only a sentence and ends with a hyperlink. If it’s more than a sentence, and the hyperlink is placed at the end, include a fullstop.

Interjections

To ensure our copy reflects our brand voice, we should avoid using interjections or words that add more expression to the tone.

When to apologize

Use apologetic expressions when it’s only our fault.

That's all folks

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