The Brand Voice Guide Sample series is intended to be an informative, entertaining introduction to brand voice development and strategy. All characters, locations and references are the property of the respective creators.
These samples are abbreviated, mock versions of the full brand voice guides that I create for my clients. For the sake of brevity, these samples often exclude important sections such as mission and vision statements, common copy situation examples, word springboards, and formatting and grammar guidelines.
Want to see a particular character or fictional company included in this series? Let me know in the comments!
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is an educational institution that provides training for young witches and wizards between the ages of 11 and 18. The boarding school is located in a large stone castle with sloping grounds in the Scottish highlands. The school year, which begins on September 1, is a three-term year with holidays breaks at Christmas and Easter and a summer holiday.
As a state school, tuition is free, as the Ministry of Magic covers all of the school's financial needs. The school is overseen by a group of twelve wizards under the Ministry of Magic, known as the Hogwarts Board of Governors.
About 1,000 students attend Hogwarts each year. Each student is sorted into one of four houses the first night they arrive at the school, during the annual Welcoming Feast in the Great Hall. Sorting is assigned by the bewitched Sorting Hat, which sees into the student’s mind and chooses a house based on the qualities that child possesses. The houses are named for the founders, and exemplify the qualities that each founder considered important and necessary.
Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus (Latin), "Never tickle a sleeping dragon".
"Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something please,
Whether we be old and bald,
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling,
With some interesting stuff,
For now they're bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we've forgot,
Just do your best, we'll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot."
Tradition – Hogwarts has a long, celebrated history. Students should continue its traditions in order to instill school pride and maintain the school’s status as an educational pillar in the global magic community.
Solidarity – As a small and widely concealed population, it is essential that the school policies, faculty and staff instill a sense of solidarity and community amongst the students.
Accountability – All students, regardless of status or age, are responsible for representing all magicfolk. While at Hogwarts, they should anticipate and accept appropriate consequences for their actions.
Scholarship – Hogwarts is, first and foremost, focused on training and educating young witches and wizards. The castle and grounds, hiring and admission practices, and all school policies are created to foster maximum learning and preparation.
Formal, but not dated
Direct, but not curt
Inclusive and eclectic
Authoritative, but not isolating
Steady and reliable
Hogwarts was founded around 990 A.D. by Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Salazar Slytherin and Rowena Ravenclaw around 990 A.D. Soon after founding the school, Slytherin left the school after a falling out with the other founders about blood purity.
The founders constructed the castle and the various rooms, chambers and tunnels within it, some of which are believed to still be undiscovered. Changes to the castle’s structure and grounds have been made since, by both natural occurrences and at individual headmaster’s requests. Numerous charms and spells were placed on and around the school at the time of its inception and since. These precautions were, and continue to be, put in place to make it impossible for a Muggle to see it as the school, and to protect the students, faculty and staff from any potential threats or interruptions.
Deliver pertinent information to current and potential students.
Maintain ties with other wizarding institutions and foster community.
Address school issues and parent inquiries.
Communicate changes or additions to school terms, schedules and rules to parents, students, faculty and staff.
is useful and contextually appropriate.
For example, “Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.”
is formal and dignified.
For example, “This document hereby serves to state the aforementioned third-year student of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is permitted to visit the village of Hogsmeade at such a time that the school arranges, and with the signature of the undersigned parent or guardian.”
is clear and concise, without wordiness.
For example, “We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
provides reasoning and contextual support when appropriate.
For example, “The student shall abide by all such rules & regulations relevant to such expeditions and set by the school as per article 528/Z of the 1714 Edict.”
makes careful use of capitalized text to identify headlines and important information in lengthy documents.
For example, “PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST YEARS ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICK.”
In this section, we will address frequently used writing techniques and common questions you may encounter while communicating for our school in print, in person or by other means (Howlers, Floo Network, Patronus transmissions, etc.)
When sending letters that appear in the respective witch or wizard’s handwriting, carefully review the content to ensure easy readability and understanding.
Ink spills, blotches and smudges are not acceptable in official school communications.
Lists are a great way to present information - when it makes sense to do so. Unless the order of the list is important (for instance, if it is the steps in a process), there is no need to number the items. Instead, use bullet points.
Vertical lists highlight a series of requirements or other information in a visually clear way. Use these to help your reader focus on important material.
For example, all school supplies should be provided to students in a list format, and all supplies should be categorized by type, such as “Uniform”, “Books”, etc.
Quills and Ink
Use of Quick Quotes Quills, Auto-Answer Quills, Smart-Answer Quills, Spell-Checking Quills and Self-Correcting Ink are all discouraged, as the results are inconsistent and charms are unreliable.
Self-Writing Quills and Self-Inking Quills are acceptable for regular use.
While all Hogwarts communications should be developed and published in English (UK), appropriate translations should be made for documents conveying information for appropriate foreign audiences. Such languages include French, German, Spanish, Gobbledegook, Mermish, etc.
To ensure consistency and avoid potential offense, all translations should be checked twice over for accuracy.
Abbreviations and Acronyms
If you think there’s a chance a reader won’t recognize the abbreviation or acronym, spell it out the first time you use it. If the abbreviation is more common than the long form, then just use the short form.
Examples of commonly understood acronyms:
O.W.L.s (Ordinary Wizarding Levels)
MOM (Ministry of Magic)
S.P.E.W. (the Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare)
Make careful use of sentence case and title case.
The following should always be in title case: Hogwarts' courses, school houses, Ministry of Magic departments, company names, countries, cities, towns and streets, recognized wizarding villages, and professional titles.
See “Communication Principles” for guidance on fully-capitalized text.
Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes
Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes
All dates should comply to the following order: day followed by month. Year should only be included when not explicitly understood by the reader.
For example, “1 September”.
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