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...


Vision, mission and values – where’s your truth?

By Ben Afia

Like everyone else, I’ve had to change things in my business in the last year.That’s partly my choice – I want to focus on where I can make the most change. Starting at the top with language strategy. But the work I’ve been asked to do has changed too. A lot of clients have been…

This week’s Dirty Language Award goes to…

By Ben Afia

Bad communication isn’t just bad communication. It’s a symptom of something deeper going on in your organisation. And when there’s a problem with your culture, processes, leadership or behaviour, it shows up as Dirty Language. And this week’s Dirty Language Award goes to… 🏆 The Furness Building Society 🏆 2 sides of A4 16 paragraphs…

How does Appreciative Inquiry work?

By Ben Afia

What’s Appreciative Inquiry? Appreciative Inquiry (AI) inspires change by involving people in creating the kind of organisation they want to belong to. It’s human nature to look for problems and try to solve them. This ‘negativity bias’ means we spend most of our time discussing what’s not working. This leads to stress, and when we’re…



How to connect with your audience – podcast

By Ben Afia

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…


Demystifying tone of voice – podcast

By Ben Afia

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


Twin tones: why don’t people always write the way they speak?

By Ben Afia

In this article we take a close look at: • the reasons people change their tone from speaking to writing • convincing them it’s fine to sound like humans when they write • ways you can help make this happen The great divide We’ve all seen it happen. We hear people explaining their plans in a way that inspires…


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

By Ben Afia

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 your tone of voice up to scratch? Now’s a great time to look at the…

How to help your company to be more human

By Ben Afia

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…


Celebrate what’s right with the world

By Ben Afia

How about a little joy? I’ve loved taking photos since I was a teenager. Especially street photography. But I’ve always felt like my photos weren’t quite edgy enough. Like they need more grit or drama. But then I watched a TEDx recommended by my Appreciative Inquiry mentor, Mette Jacobsgaard. Appreciative Inquiry is the approach organisational…

How language builds brand

By Ben Afia

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: And how you express empathy – why truth matters. Why words matter and…

An brief intro to language strategy

By Ben Afia

Hi folks, here’s my quick intro to language strategy – what it is, who I’ve helped with it and what results it brings.