Sunday, October 28, 2012

The 'Voice of TriMet'

The 'Voice of TriMet'

When writing for the public. it is particularly important to use a style and tone that represents the intrinsic values of TriMet and projects its identity attributes.  No matter who writes a particular piece of copy, it should sound like something TriMet would say. Below is a description of TriMet's "personality," as well as some notes about style and tone.


The following character traits fit well with TriMet's vision and culture, and its livability position:
  • A solid, civic-minded citizen; well known, well respected, humble
  • Cares about individuals as well as community, goes out of the way to help people
  • Asks a lot of questions, thinks about the answers, and applies them to advantage
  • Visionary—always looking ahead, anticipating challenges, planning responses
  • Great at forming partnerships, cutting win/win deals with others
  • Loves Oregon and works to preserve and enhance its livability
  • Doesn't hesitate to take an important stand
  • Innovative—always looking for the better way
  • Reliable—follows through without fail
  • Respects the value of a dollar, spends wisely

Style & tone

The style and tone of written and spoken messages should support the personality traits by:
  • "Speaking" in second -person active voice
  • Conversational, casual, yet professional
  • Using natural language that is simple and brief (speaking in the vocabulary of our audience, whatever we determine that to be)
  • Helpful, anticipating problems or preventing confusion
  • Invites feedback or lets people know where they can go for more information 
The voice of TriMet is not a smarmy "sales" voice or an overwritten, evasive "corporate" voice or a self-aggrandizing "marketing" voice; it is always clear and forthcoming. In this simplicity, it is not vapid but aspires to refresh and uplift.

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