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.

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Videos, articles, papers and podcasts...

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

Culture

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...

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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.

Brand

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...

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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...

Communication

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...

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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...

Behaviour

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Confessions of a Marketer podcast

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

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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...

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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...

Articles

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Empathy – it’s what you need

By Ben Afia | October 23, 2020

There’s one thing my clients have been crying out for in recent weeks, it’s empathy. I don’t mean they think I’m not hearing them (at least they’ve not said so). It’s empathy for their people and customers. Some are concerned their marketing and comms teams might be sounding tone-deaf. Others are worried about how their…

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Does an R look like a head?

By Ben Afia | September 28, 2020

I’ve seen what happens in companies when you change the language you use: happier customers, improved NPS scores, fewer complaints and increased click-through rates. But its power is more fundamental than that. It’s baked into who we are. This week The Secret History of Writing on BBC dug into why it’s the most important intellectual…

Why your copywriter is rubbish

By Ben Afia | July 29, 2020

You write a brief. You’re really happy with it. You send it to your copywriter. The copy comes back. It’s crap. You email back and forth. The next draft isn’t much better. By the eighth round of amends you’ve lost the will to live. You’ve wasted days on this. You don’t have the words you…

Podcasts

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How to cut the crap and write so people buy – podcast

By Ben Afia | April 24, 2018

Why is most business writing so bloody boring? Unclear, too. The result is people who don’t get our message and do what we hope. I’ve been helping companies develop their brand and language for 22 years. And that’s taught me a few things about how to write so people hear us. In my new ebook I cover…

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How to connect with your audience – podcast

By Ben Afia | March 9, 2018

What is tone of voice? And what does it mean for an organisation’s values, brand, and… security? Bruce Hallas and I discussed this recently, on his Re-thinking the Human Factor podcast. Bruce and I cover: how tone of voice can help you write policies and get people using them how tone of voice can bring a brand to…

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Demystifying tone of voice – podcast

By Ben Afia | November 3, 2017

This week I made a podcast with Mark Reed-Edwards, the greatest voice on radio (to my ears). We discussed what tone of voice really is, in episode 3 of Confessions of a Marketer. Mark and I get into: what brand tone of voice is the kinds of companies who’ve done it whether it’s about grammar,…

White papers

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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…

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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…

Video