Having a clear, coherent set of actionable principles is an essential ingredient for designing great customer and employee experiences, especially for larger organizations. But, easier said than done, right? 

One of the exercises we often take our customers through is called "This, Not That," and it's pretty much what it sounds like.  

We warm up by brainstorming in teams, using topics like, "What are all the uses you can think of for a roll of nickels?" Then, we individually brainstorm all the properties of the organization we are designing, and all the things that we don't want it to be. We share our ideas with each other, building on them as we go, and cluster them all on the board. Finally, we distill the themes into statements that might look something like this: 

  • Fun, but not funny. 
  • Modern, but not trendy. 
  • Confident, but not arrogant. 
  • Etc. 

Your results will be different, of course. 

From this list, we then distill a voice and tone guide that we hope will inspire great content, visuals, and behavior, and alert us when we might be drifting off the rails. 

We're sharing the Voice and Tone Guide we developed for Navicet when we first launched the company a couple years ago. It feels a little vulnerable to put it out there, but I imagine we'll get over it. Take a look at the rest of our website, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, send us an email, etc., and see if you think we've stuck to it. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Navicet Voice and Tone Guide

As an overriding principle, everything we do as a part of Navicet should be authentic. That means, we should avoid representing ourselves or Navicet as something that we aren’t – bigger, older or otherwise different than exactly what we are. This holds true for what we do, our service offerings and capabilities, as well. 

It may be appealing, for example, to show a picture of a big glass tower with our name at the top, suggesting that we are a big, established company, in order to enjoy the perceived credibility and trust that comes with an image like that. But let’s see if we can get comfortable in our own skin as a company, proud of who we are, what we know and the benefits we really can bring to our customers. 

As a team, we bring a huge amount of experience together in a powerful, capable package. Our voice should communicate that experience by being bold and confident, but without any hint of arrogance, condescension or hubris. 

We operate at the intersection of design and IT, focusing on what is possible, emphasizing pragmatic and accessible practices that anyone can adopt without a PhD or 30 years of experience. At the same time, our humility makes us cautious of dogma. We are respectful of others and their ideas, since true value comes from the power of shared ideas. 

Having a sense of humor is always tricky, so I'll just say this: after we are all the things above (confident, respectful, authentic, etc.) it's important not to take ourselves too seriously. Have a point of view. The power of our ideas and the results we achieve are what give us credibility, not how serious we are. So, don't be afraid to lighten things up.