As makers of compelling digital experiences, we know that content—particularly written content—is a key factor in how we express our brand. Paying attention to the voice and tone of our writing helps us reflect the Pega brand while maintaining awareness of each situation’s unique needs.
Voice and Tone
Think about voice and tone as two sides of a similar coin. Voice is the brand’s overall personality: how we say things, the words we choose, and how we put sentences together. Tone is how that voice is reflected in a given situational or emotional context. For example, even if your voice is usually passionate and direct, you wouldn’t use the same tone to discuss your favorite movie as you would to address a work conflict.
Pega’s brand personality is built on three characteristics: Passion, Power and Partnership. Across our Digital channels, our voice is:
- Clear and succinct. Avoid technical jargon or Pega-specific abbreviations.
- Authoritative. Establish expertise up front without being arrogant.
- Helpful. Aim to educate and give people a clear path forward.
- Direct. Use short, declarative sentences, and remove unnecessary words.
- Accessible. Make sure that your writing can be understood by people whose primary language is not English.
Our goal is to empower the people using our Digital experiences to make smart decisions and solve their problem—whether it’s understanding which Pega product meets their use case, or troubleshooting an implementation challenge.
While our voice stays consistent across channels, our tone changes depending on the user’s situational and emotional context. Some examples:
- System Errors: Focus on a helpful, informative tone that tells the user what just happened, and how to fix the issue, e.g. “We couldn’t find that email/password combination. Please try again.”
- Promotional copy: Use a concise, confident tone that conveys expertise, e.g. "Want to put your competitors out of commission? Never give them a chance to steal your customers.“
- Technical content: Focus on clearly walking someone through the major concepts, with screenshots as applicable, e.g. “Using Pega Co-Browse, a remote viewer can connect to a presenter’s browser instantly and show them sections of the website by highlighting different elements on the page.”
Below are some highlights from our style guide to use when writing copy for Digital interfaces. For an exhaustive list of style guidelines, Pega employees can download the Pega Writing Style Guide on Pega Brand Hub.
Abbreviations and acronyms
For the clearest and most powerful writing, use abbreviations and acronyms as minimally as possible. If you are only mentioning a term once, do not abbreviate it – just spell it out. If you are mentioning a term more than once, write it out in full the first time you use it in a piece of content, then place the abbreviation in parentheses () immediately afterward. You can then use the abbreviation by itself for subsequent mentions. Example: Today, artificial intelligence (AI) is more than a buzzword. AI is a reality.
- No need to spell out common, non-technical terms like CEO, RSVP, etc.
- If an abbreviation uses all capital letters, don’t use periods in between the letters.
Active vs. passive voice
Write in the active voice, not the passive voice – it’s more concise, more direct, and easier to understand (and translate).
- Passive: It was believed that a shift should be made to digital channels.
- Active: Bankers believed they should shift to digital channels.
- Passive: Customer service is improved by doing this.
- Active: This improves customer service.
All caps, bold, italics, underline
Reserve these for the few key words that you really want to emphasize. If overused, they can have the opposite effect – the reader won’t know what’s important and your message will lose impact.
- Don’t combine them, like this, or use more than ONE type of emphasis per sentence.
- Bold or italics are preferable, especially when writing for digital. All caps signifies “shouting” and underlines are easily mistaken for hyperlinks.
- Don’t write full sentences in all caps, or use all caps near an abbreviation.
- Incorrect: REAL CRM solutions work FASTER.
- Correct: Real CRM solutions work faster.
Use an ampersand when it’s part of a brand name (Procter & Gamble) or occasionally to save space in a headline or email subject line: Learn about AI & robotics. Do not use ampersands in regular text. Avoid using both an ampersand and the word “and” in the same headline or group of headlines.
Pega is a global company and much of our writing will either be translated into other languages or shared in markets where most people are not native English speakers. Keep these tips in mind when writing content that may be translated or shared internationally:
- Avoid slang and local or national references.
- Don’t rely on puns or wordplay. Often these are lost in translation.
- Instead of long, complex sentences and flowery language, use short, clear sentences and precise wording.