HERE Technologies is a business that has been evolving rapidly since the outset. Our brand is extremely important to us: it has to express our position as a leader in location technology, our level of excellence as a partner and our values as a global company.
As we move in bold new directions, we need to ensure that our philosophy, visual language and written style reflect our standards and values.
Everyone at HERE Technologies should have the tools they need to communicate about our business in a confident, consistent and common voice.
That’s the purpose of this guide.
The objectives of this document are:
- To provide a set of guidelines that clearly define our written tone and style and mirror the HERE brand identity
- To set a baseline of linguistic excellence that every employee and supplier can reference
- To answer those niggling questions about how to write units of measurement, deal with acronyms and handle different parts of speech
If you have questions, or want to discuss any of the content in this guide, please contact us at email@example.com
It has not only a distinctive look, but also a distinctive way of speaking and sounding: that’s our brand tonality.
Consistency is key
To clearly communicate and build trust in the HERE brand, we need to speak in a single, unique language. The more consistently we express our brand, the more our customers and partners will know what our brand is, what it means and what it stands for — and what makes us stand out.
Is the language we use really so important?
The way people present themselves leaves a lasting impression, even if we only meet them once. It’s no different for companies. What we say (and do) not only expresses who we think we are: it also determines the world’s attitude towards us and announces the way we work with each other, our customers and our business partners. So what we say and how we say it are very important indeed.
The tone we take will naturally vary depending on the situation and who's being addressed (ie, context and audience). Nonetheless, people should be able to recognize us through our words.
In writing, HERE Technologies sounds:
Human and intuitive
HERE experiences are based on technology, but we don’t think or sound like a machine. Our tone of voice is always human, never robotic and is expressed in words that people use when they speak to each other.
Direct and customer-focused
We speak directly to our customers. We address them as people who use our products and services to do what they want or need, not what we intend they should to do with them.
Friendly and warm
We express our brand using fresh language that is free of jargon. We sound different from our competitors by speaking in a warm, welcoming voice that inspires, illuminates and clarifies the benefits that HERE Technologies offers.
Write jargon-free copy
When drafting corporate content, you might be tempted to slip in a specialized phrase or two (or more) because it makes your text sound more sophisticated or intelligent.
Not necessarily. More often than not, you end up making the reader work harder than they should to grasp your meaning. And once you’ve lost them, they’re gone — often for good.
- Use everyday words that people tend to say
- Avoid the longer, multisyllabic word if there’s a shorter one that works just as well
- Always read what you’ve written out loud
That last point might seem like a superfluous step. But when people read, they’re really hearing with their “mind’s ear.” So write in the way people speak — naturally and jargon-free — then read your texts out loud to yourself or someone else. If you stumble over what you’ve written, you could probably rewrite it and make it stronger.
“[B]ear in mind, when you’re choosing words and stringing them together, how they sound. [S]uch matters as rhythm and alliteration are vital to every sentence.”
— William Zinsser
Use “you” much more often than “we”
The pronouns we choose set up the nature of the relationship between us and our audiences. Overusing “we,” “us” and "our" suggests too much self-interest, whereas “you,” “your” and “yours” show the customer that they are our prime concern.
Address the audience as “you.”
If you find your texts talking about us and what we offer, switch it up:
We’ll send you an email soon.
You’ll receive an email soon.
Try not to assign ownership. Unless there’s a really compelling reason to write “Your stuff,” simply use “Stuff.” If you think you should clarify ownership, or you want to reinforce a feeling of ownership, use “Your [thing],” not “My [thing].”
Avoid talking about “our products,” “our systems,” “our apps,” etc. These can feel possessive, exclusive, even proprietary. If you stick to the copywriter’s maxim, ie, “80% ‘you,’ 20% ‘we,’” you’ll keep your texts facing the right direction: towards the reader.
Write in the active voice
Decide who the subject of your sentence is and let them lead the action.
New features have been added to the app.
The engineers added new features to the app.
In the 2nd example, the reader can see the deeds of people. In the 1st, there are no people at all.
If you’re writing and avoiding the contractions so often used in everyday, spoken language, your text will feel and sound stiff. So use contractions to achieve a friendlier, more conversational tone. Moreover, they’re easier to read and say.
Make calls-to-action (CTAs) compelling
How do we persuade without being pushy or obnoxious? It takes some work, but done correctly, it’ll have a huge impact. Therefore, write action-oriented CTAs that are also friendly and inviting.
- Start with a verb. This makes it clear what the customer needs to do
- Don’t scare people by demanding things immediately
- Make the benefit clear. “Stay connected” is way more appealing than “Register”
Avoid extreme writing
Italics, bold, CAPS and underlines exist for good reason: they help emphasise significant information. But when combined, they neither complement nor accentuate each other’s effects. So if you don’t want to seem impolite, IRRITABLE or just plain silly!, use these accentuators infrequently, and, when you do, use them one at a time.
On a related note, the purpose of the exclamation point is to indicate surprise: it should not be used to try to drum up enthusiasm. Ending sentences with an exclamation point — or, worse, several exclamation points!!! — can make us sound overexcited and unprofessional. Therefore, use exclamation points sparingly, if at all.
All great brands have a distinctive style, and this is no accident. Companies with great brands use a set of writing guidelines to govern consistent usage of everything from spelling and grammar to capitalization and common terminology. Where style guidelines are embraced, brand identities tend to become stronger.
This is a writing style guideline for the HERE brand.
This isn’t and never will be an exhaustive reference. It’s a living document that will change over time. If you find yourself stuck for an answer to a style question as you write, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, likewise if you think something important is missing.
Use US English
Speakers of English as a second or foreign language outnumber native speakers by about 1.5-to-1. English is now a global language that belongs to no nation.
However, the most-spoken English worldwide is business-oriented, direct and consists of about 2,000 mostly US English-based words. So, to keep terminology aligned and maintain consistency of usage, punctuation, spelling and grammar, our default communications language is, for lack of a better expression, US English.
If you have any questions about what we mean by US English or its use, please contact email@example.com
“Here” is a pretty popular word. Statistics vary, but it’s almost always in the top 100 to 200 most-used English words. (English has about a million words.)
Our company name, “HERE,” isn’t the same as the word “here,” so take care to use it properly:
- Our company’s legal name is HERE
- When you refer to our brand, call it the HERE brand
- There is no “HERE Technologies brand”
HERE Technologies is our company descriptor, not the name of our company.
Don’t write, eg:
The name of the company is HERE Technologies
You can, however, write:
They work at HERE Technologies
For “HERE” and “HERE Technologies,” “HERE” is always written in all-caps. (This doesn’t apply to the logo, only to written texts.)
When including URLs in copy, write “here” in lower-case:
Be sure to find out the correct names of HERE Technologies products and services before you write them. The word “HERE” in our product names is not optional: it’s part of the name. Be sure to include it:
HERE Auto SDK
HERE Indoor Positioning
- This isn’t trademarked, so don’t add a “®” or “TM” after it
- The “A” and the “W” should always be capitalized
- Never write “HERE Autonomous World”
- If leading with a “the,” only capitalize when it is the 1st word in a sentence, title or header: otherwise write “the Autonomous World”
- This is trademarked, so use it carefully
- The trademarked wording is “Reality Index™,” not “HERE Reality Index™,” so never put HERE directly in front
- Always use add a superscripted “TM” after it, even after the first occurrence
- The “R” and “I” are always capitalized
- If leading with a “the,” only capitalize when it is the 1st word in a sentence, title or header: otherwise write, eg, “…when working with the Reality Index™.”
HERE Open Location Platform
- This is a proper product name and so must be spelled out in full the first time it is referenced in a single text
- When spelling out, always do so in full. Never write:
With the Open Location Platform, you can…
- Instead, write:
With the HERE Open Location Platform, you can…
- If referenced several times in a document:
- On the 1st occurrence, write
HERE Open Location Platform
- If you wish to shorten later in your text, use one of these:
HERE Open Location Platform (OLP)
HERE Open Location Platform (or OLP for short)
- On subsequent occurrences, you could write, eg:
Developers can use the OLP to decide whether…
- On the 1st occurrence, write
- Never write “the Platform” when referring to the HERE Open Location Platform
- If leading with a “the,” only capitalize when it is the 1st word in a sentence, title or header: otherwise write, eg, “…using the HERE Open Location Platform.”
For example, don’t write:
- Have you tried HERE Technologies’ new natural voice guidance?’
You can easily rewrite your way around the problem:
- Have you tried the new natural voice guidance from HERE Technologies?
“Can’t get there from HERE,” “HERE’s a great travel idea” or “The place you’re looking for is over HERE” may be tempting, but you should avoid playing too freely with our brand name.
This doesn’t mean that you should never use subtle wordplay: we’re not completely humorless. After all, we have an app called “HERE WeGo” with a news-feed and offers screen called “HERE for you.”