The Progressive Voice
While our voice, writing style, and word choice vary per audience and business area, these are general Progressive voice guidelines that should be followed in all of our written communications.
We always consider the customer’s point of view (empathy) and show them how our tools, products, and service benefit them. Avoid adjectives—highlight real differences without overembellishing. By putting the customer first, we build trust and help them make informed decisions with confidence. The focus is on the customer, not us.
Write for humans, not robots
We use clear, approachable language that our audience can easily understand and relate to. Use a conversational tone. Avoid jargon, slang, clichés, and business speak (contractions are OK!). Speak in a way non-insurance folks can understand.
6th – 7th grade reading level
At Progressive, our goal is to use language with the customer that has a reading ease score between 60 – 75 and a 7th grade level target. This will ensure that messages to our customers are clear and easy to understand. Use the Flesch-Kincaid* tool in Word to test your readability. These tips will help:
- Shorten your sentences
- Keep paragraphs short (around five sentences)
- Break up paragraphs using subheads and bullets
- Use words with as few syllables as possible
- Use active voice instead of passive
- Include dialogue (natural conversation tends to be short and direct)
*To tap into the Flesch-Kincaid tool, run the typical “Spelling & Grammar” check from your toolbar. Then click the “Options” button at the bottom of your screen and check the box that says “Show readability statistics.” This will give you all of the stats you need to boost your readability score, including sentences per paragraph, words per sentence, and characters per word. It will also give you your passive sentence percentage and both your Flesch reading ease and Flesch-Kincaid grade level scores.
Progressive’s brand behaviors is a framework to guide our voice, tone, and attitude in any and all communications. The behaviors fit into categories which appeal to our customers’ and consumers’ heads, hearts or hands.
Use our seven brand behaviors in your writing, where it makes sense. For example, you wouldn’t use disarmingly humorous for a claims communication, but you would be clear and helpful. Our brand behaviors make our brand distinct, real, personally relevant, and … human.
Appeal to their intellect
Connect with genuine emotions
Provide utility in our actions
We know insurance
And when it gets down to the nuts and bolts, we can break it down and put it back together again with the customer in mind.
We believe a little laughter and wit bring people together.
We lighten dark moments and shine a light on the reality of the world, but use humor to connect and tap into the notion of “It’s funny because it’s true.
Our glass is always half full
We use positive messaging to promote positive thinking and constructive behavior versus negative language that could induce fear, indecision and inaction.
We are real-world smart
That means we use everyday language without jargon—even for the most complex topics. If there are terms we put out there, we take time to explain them simply.
We speak with, not down to you
No matter how much knowledge we’re dropping, we’re personable. We invite people in, encouraging them to share their—and our—stories and experiences.
We treat customer relationships as valuable and permanent from day one
We guide in an informative way and offer useful options.
We zig where others zag
Sure, we’re an insurance company, but we think differently about what we do and how we do it, developing new, better (and, well, unexpected) ways to engage, guide, and help and always focusing on the solution at hand.
For a deeper dive into our brand behaviors, check out the Content Style Guide, where you’ll find more information about Progressive’s communications, savings & discount claims, and more.