Brand guidelines

Your writing checklist

Here’s a way of thinking about how to approach writing and talking that reflects the brand. When writing try asking yourself these questions. You should be able to say ‘yes’ to all of them.

  • Have you thought through what you are trying to say? What’s the main message or theme? What’s the benefit that you need to get across to your audience? Does it support our purpose?
  • Have you clearly identified who you are talking to and how you want them to react? Good communications are not simply about information, but about changing perceptions, attitudes and feelings.
  • Have you considered the medium? You’ll need to adjust the tone and style to suit speech, print, film or online communications. Look at similar communications that you like or think are interesting and try to analyse what makes them work.
  • Is the way you’re communicating your message engaging, interesting or intriguing? Does it demand people’s attention, pose questions or raise issues that are directly relevant to your audience?
  • Does what you say show an understanding of your audience’s situation, aims and objectives; does it try to create a dialogue and build relationships with people?
  • Does your communication reflect British Council values? Is it centred on mutuality and integrity? Does it sound professional and creative?
  • Does your communication express our personality? Is it confident, independent, friendly, respectful, trustworthy, focused and in some way, inspiring?
  • Does your communication capture our tone of voice? Can you feel a sense of leadership, approachability, warmth and enthusiasm? Is what you’re saying straightforward, open, honest and authoritative?
  • Is your copy free of acronyms? If not, ask yourself will they be understood by everyone who receives the communication, and if they must be used, please introduce them in full.
  • Do you always refer to the British Council by its full name? The British Council should never be referred to as ‘BC’ either in written or verbal communications, internally or externally.
  • Is your message coming across clearly? Is your communication easy to read, watch or listen to? Will the audience come away with a sense of having experienced something worthwhile and valuable?
  • Does your communication have a ‘call-to-action’ that leads to something happening – questions, a request for more information, a telephone call, email or meeting – a reason to keep in touch and keep the dialogue going?
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