Brand guidelines

What our tone is not

Our tone is not arrogant or patronising. It is not dull, smug, overly official, dry, over-familiar, glib, loud, cheeky or disrespectful. When writing or speaking, we do not use jargon, ‘management-speak’, unnecessary abbreviations and acronyms, and we avoid complicated and wordy sentences.


‘The UK has many commendable exports and music is one of them. From the Beatles and the Rolling Stones of the 1960s, whose records are still loved by millions of fans today, to the plethora of bands and musical stars hoping to make their own mark in musical history, UK artists have long been the pioneers of new musical territory. It would be fair to say that when it comes to melody and lyrics, the UK has truly been a world-beater for the past five decades. Each new UK musical sensation has been part of, and added to, various criss-crossing musical genres’.

This piece of writing, in a magazine aimed at international students interested in studying in the UK, is overly formal and out of touch with the audience it tries to talk to. Although aimed at students, the language is worthy, old fashioned and has nothing that really grabs your attention. It lacks energy and feels as though it has been laboriously created rather than naturally and enthusiastically developed. As a result it lacks credibility among its readers.

‘This in turn meant that there was a need for more teachers of English as a foreign language and hence a demand for professional teacher trainers of English who were familiar with contemporary teaching methodologies such as new communicative teaching techniques’.

In this example, the writer adopts a very wordy, complicated way to say something that is probably quite simple. The language again is rather formal and would not feel natural if read out loud (a good way to test if your copy is on brand or not). The overly academic tone does not reflect the warm, enthusiastic and engaging tone that we want to demonstrate.

‘Yes! 40 teachers have received TKT Essentials Certificate. Other 50 will take exam in March. 600 teachers from all over UK are currently benefitting from TKT Essentials through cascading courses’.

This piece of copy is trying to convey a very positive message, but due to a number of grammatical errors and the use of acronyms the message is not as strong as it could be. If copy is being written by colleagues whose first language is not English, it is strongly recommended that a native English language speaker proof reads the copy before it is signed off. Acronyms should be avoided if at all possible. If they are to be used they must be introduced in full first, to ensure they will be understood by all readers of the materials.