The human business donut

This donut means business. To build an authentic brand, start with your culture. Discover what you're like at your very best and build on it. Once you've defined your brand, you have direction for your communication. Back that up with the right behaviour and you have a more human business that'll make your people and customers happy.

Language strategy donut Ben Afia grey circle
Videos, articles, papers and podcasts...

to help you get more from your culture, brand, comms and behaviour.


How language reveals your culture

Every word we use matters. It's what creates our culture. It's what attracts the people who buy from us and the people who work for us.

Appreciative inquiry process

How does Appreciative Inquiry work?

Appreciative Inquiry inspires change by involving people in creating the kind of organisation they want to belong to. The problem is it’s human nature to...


The Language Manifesto

When you focus on language, you help everyone connect as humans. You’ll find it easier to give customers what you promised and they’ll be happier.


Language builds brand

Why words matter and how using the right ones can transform your business. How clear thinking = clear writing and better results.

Hollywood and your brand personality

Brand personality is a powerful way to understand how your business relates to your customers. So we’ve taken a look at how Hollywood...


Tone of what? Voice and tone? Brand voice? Explain…

A really good brand tone of voice will draw people to your company and keep them listening… and buying. It’s using words to communicate...


Cut the crap. How to write so people trust you

Learn the approach we developed through training more than 40,000 people in some of the world’s largest organisations. In this guide...


Why don’t people write the way they speak?

We hear people explaining their plans in a way that inspires the whole room. They’re clear, they’re interesting and they throw in a few jokes...

Can language really make a company more human?

What happens when you get a load of tone of voice experts in one room? Find out what they had to say about tone of voice, language and social media...



Confessions of a Marketer podcast

Hear my conversation with Mark Reed-Edwards on his Confessions of a Marketer podcast, where we discuss language, culture...


Empathy - it's what you need

There’s one thing our clients have been crying out for in recent weeks, it’s empathy. Some are concerned their marketing and comms...


How to make sure your new brand tone takes hold

How do you help people to write clearly, consistently and on-brand? Strong tone of voice guidelines are a good start. But you also need...


Scams, spam and the right tone of voice

By Ben Afia | September 6, 2012

How copywriting gives away the e-cheats. We all get them. They squeeze through our spam filters and squirm their way into our inboxes pretending to be something they aren’t. Then they offer us something they think is irresistible to make us click on their evil, bank-account-emptying links. This week it was an email that purported…

#7 of 100 great branding ideas

By Ben Afia | September 6, 2012

NAMING #7: BE POETIC A hundred years ago companies generally named themselves after their owners or their location. They might choose a snappier brand name for products but they were mostly practical and descriptive. But early brand names did sometimes get poetic, with elegant metaphors to summon up a vision of the ideal. The idea…


How powerful is language – podcast

By Ben Afia | August 27, 2020

Fancy a mini-masterclass on the power of language in business? Check out Robert Craven’s interview with me on his GYDA Talks podcast. It’s part of the GYDA initiative, helping digital agencies grow. We covered a lot, from afiatone to our donut model: Why words matter and how using the right ones can transform your business.…


What’s your language revealing about you – podcast

By Ben Afia | November 4, 2019

Maria Franzoni, Speaker Bureau Director, invited me onto her Speaking Business podcast to chat all things language. What did we talk about? What’s tone of voice Not getting hung up on definitions of what tone of voice is and isn’t How I help businesses with tone of voice and I share a few examples The…

Language Manifesto podcast

By Ben Afia | July 13, 2019

We’re all very busy. There isn’t always time to sit and read the latest book or article but we do want to keep up with the latest thinking. I find there’s usually some time to listen. In the car, in the gym, even a quick podcast between meetings. And that’s why I was really pleased…

White papers


Brand tone of voice. Is it the icing on the cake, or is it the cake?

By Ben Afia | November 20, 2020

Brand tone of voice (or how not to be ignored when writing for your business) In this article we’ll explain: What tone of voice is How to get people to read your stuff How to check whether your tone of voice is up to scratch And how to make your tone of voice better Is…

How to help your company to be more human

By Ben Afia | September 20, 2020

We help companies to be more human. So we’ve recently turned to the writings of psychologist Carl R Rogers to help us think about just what this means. Carl had seven different stages of becoming more human, based on his therapeutic experience. We’ve used these to define four different stages that companies go through as…


How Hollywood can give your brand great personality

By Ben Afia | July 18, 2020

We’ve found that thinking about brand personality is a handy way of helping companies understand how they relate to their customers. And nobody builds better personalities and characters than Hollywood. So we’ve taken a look at how Hollywood character types relate to business brands, and how you can use this to develop your brand. You’ll…