PROJECT: EDITORIAL STYLE GUIDE & LEGAL NOTICES PAGE PITCHES
- Innovation Award from Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Online
Client: All Disney brands
Roles: brand protector, content strategist, project lead copywriter, researcher, SEO strategist, UX lead
Audience: WDPRO middle managers, directors, senior management VPs and SVPs.
- Define the problems with the current style guides. Offer solutions for improvement. Get support to implement the solution.
- Create a single place for trademark property credit; allow the removal of registration marks from copy.
- Received support and an enthusiastic green light—from management and tech—to build the Editorial Style Guide.
- Improved content style and created style consistency across brand tracks.
- Replaced outdated printed-on-paper guide with internal, interdepartmental, interactive, efficient communication tool known as Mickeypedia.
- Also received recognition for innovation.
- Took the conversation to the next step, and proposed and got support for removing trademark symbols and offsetting across brands on a single Legal Notices page.
Tags—project roles & focus:
award-winning projects, brand direction, content management & strategy, creative direction, editor, operations, philosophy, pitches, project lead copywriter, publishing, research, SEO, strategic thinking, technical writing, UX direction
In today’s CD&P Manager’s Meeting, we recognized you for your innovative work in developing the Editorial Style Guide as a Wiki. In reviewing the draft version, I’m excited by the way you are transforming this normally static tool into a dynamic, living resource that will grow in relevance over time. We feel that you are creating a model that will extend to other disciplines in the months and years to come–changing and improving the way we share knowledge and document standards at WDPRO. I hope you proudly display your well-earned Innovation paperweight.”
Associate Creative Director
When I first started at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online (WDPRO), and writing for the various brands, I was confused by the inconsistencies of style and tone.
The first instance: writing for Disney Vacation Club, which spelled the area in Disney Animal Kingdom as savannah. Disney Animal Kingdom is part of the Disney World Resort, which spelled that same space as savanna.
You say savannah, and you say savanna. I'm the copywriter. What should I say?
The Other Problem
Each Disney product (restaurant, hotel, attraction, Park) would create their own Editorial Style Guide to define the legal ways in which to present a product name. These style guides were Word documents that were attached to an email and sent to those who needed them. These documents were usually printed and mounds of these documents would tower on writers' and strategists' and managers' shelves. These documents weren't searchable or easy to update. Usually had conflicting information.
I was assigned as the project lead writer for a massive disneyworld.com redesign. I saw this as an opportunity to correct some of these errors, provide consistency to the site, and set the foundation for other sites' style when they were redesigned.
I collaborated with a content strategist to prepare the deck below. We came up with solutions as to how and where to house the ESG.
House the style guide in a digital space. Eliminate the need for printing, make it searchable, and easy to update.
The WDPRO ESG first started as a blog, but then grew to big for that space. We moved it to another blog, then to a wiki.
The ESG kept growing and it developed into an interactive tool known as the Mickeypedia (formerly Mikipedia). Since Mickeypedia was accessible across departments, it continued to be an indispensable communication tool. Documents (Word and Excel) written by the copy team were uploaded to Mickeypedia, and ownership and tasks for these documents were noted and tracked on this page.
Since Mickeypedia was internal, we had full tech support, and the Mickey wiki was easily shared, easy to update, and accessible to all who needed it throughout the company——whether they were in California, Florida, France, or elsewhere.
- Content across Disney sites was consistent.
- The Brand was protected.
- The Guest experience smooth and much improved.
While preparing this proposal, we thought we'd take the next step and propose a Legal Notices page, to reduce or eliminate trademark symbols and offsetting.
Eventually, all brand tracks included a Legal Notices page, and writers' lives were made easier; no more having to offset or spend time adding forgotten trademark symbols. Guests got cleaner copy to read, too.
The Legal Offsets deck is included on this page, as it became part of the larger conversation of how WDPRO presented content——words——on their websites.
Next Next Steps
While thinking about the home for copy style guides, we started thinking about the copy itself and how to improve the copy style on our sites. The next big project was a massive redesign of disneyworld.com. A perfect time to pitch some style changes. We suggested something we called 'prag-magic': part pragmatic copy, and a smaller part of magic, in our Walt Disney World Next Gen Pragmagic Copy Pitch.
editorial style guide pre-pitch
editorial style guide pitch
a modest proposal regarding trademark symbols and offsetting on disneyworld.com