Sears Brand Voice in UX – Copywriting Standards

Key Positioning Statements

Our goal is for you to get the right product for your lifestyle and to feel secure when you make your purchase.

Outside of the immediate messaging need, we always want to convey that:

  • Sears has the knowledge to help you get the best product for your needs. We are experts in our field and have been for more than 100 years.
  • Sears makes shopping online easy. Whether you are researching a product before you buy or looking to buy it today, we have the tools to share our knowledge. We do our best to make you an informed consumer.
  • Sears is here to help. Whether you want to buy in-store or online, we are able to give you the support you need when and where you need it.

 

Tone: How We Say It

Content conveys information, while tone conveys a mood. These two things work together to build relationships with our users.

When speaking person to person, you can gauge a lot from a person’s facial expression and tone of voice. When a user is reading online, they do not have that luxury. Adding the right level of warmth and color to your words can greatly improve the user experience.

Our Brand Voice

Brand voice is made up of both content (what we say) and tone (how we say it), regardless of channel. Consistent brand voice helps us build trusting relationships with our users and helps to differentiate us from other retail companies.

These guidelines will help:

  • Reinforce the Sears brand in all communications.
  • Ensure that both the tone and content of your communications are appropriate for your audience and consistent with our overall brand strategy.
  • Build strong, trusted relationships with our users.
  • Consistently convey the Sears personality in all communications.

Sears as a brand is a friendly, knowledgeable neighbor. We are the experts next door, someone who only wants what’s best for you, someone you can trust.

We are…

  • Accessible
  • Approachable
  • Conversational
  • Friendly
  • Helpful
  • Knowledgeable
  • Real
  • Relevant
  • Reliable
  • Trustworthy
  • Warm

We are not…

  • Abrupt
  • Bossy
  • Careless
  • Critical
  • Flippant
  • Machines
  • Pretentious
  • Sarcastic
  • Silly

 

Copywriting for UX – Guidelines & Tips

Use these tips to help as you craft messages throughout the user experience flow:

 

Conversation is key
In UX, you are a machine talking to a human. But that’s the last thing we want our users to feel. Become the person inside the box, using a conversational tone to build rapport and make a connection.

 

Say you, say we
Always refer to Sears as “we” and “our” – not Sears. We’re not a big corporate entity; we’re a group of people working to give you the best shopping experience possible. This does not mean we’re perfect – but when we falter, we’re interested and willing to improve and grow.

Keep it friendly
Try to explain things like you would to a close friend. Always be helpful and warm, and never abrupt or condescending.

Use contractions
An easy way to sound relaxed is to use conversational contractions. Say, “We’re sorry” instead of “We are sorry.”

Go for the positive
Lead with what a user can do, not what they can’t. Always turn a “don’t” into a “do.” This is especially important when writing error messages. Say, “You can” instead of “You can’t.”

Avoid complex sentences
When in doubt, use short, declarative sentences. Remember, it is overwhelming to read online; offer information in smaller, easy to digest chunks.

Simplify, simplify, simplify
Instead of over-explaining what is happening in the moment, try to focus on the next steps a user can take to resolve the problem. This may begin with the statement “You can…”

Use humor wisely
We are a funny bunch, but humor can easily come across as flippant or brash when a user is going through the buy flow. Their need is to finish the task, and humor is not always welcome. Use it sparingly in the user experience. It is better suited for promotional pieces at the top of funnel and in email promotions.

Write in the active, present tense
Active sentences follow this pattern: [Thing doing action] + [verb] + [thing receiving action]. The only exception is when you’re referencing something that happened in the past (i.e. We shipped your order last week.)

When in doubt
If you can’t find it referenced in this guide, ask someone or follow the rules of AP Style.

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