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...


Why aligning your culture, brand and customer experience matters

By Ben Afia

If you’re leading a company you want every person in your organisation to know what you do, why do you do it and how do you do it – your vision, purpose, culture and brand. So, you want to articulate your strategy and cultivate a culture that can deliver it – your values, behaviours and…

How human is your business?

By Ben Afia

I was on the phone to Apple support this weekend – sussing out a problem with monitors then rebuilding my Mac Mini (a fun weekend, eh?). Apple people genuinely seem to listen and understand. They’re not scripted, they respond when I tell them the steps I’ve already taken and don’t (usually) make me jump through…

What’s your back to work policy?

By Ben Afia

Sadly it was the last session of my Peer Network cohort recently. We’re a group of creative business owners who’ve been getting together (virtually) since Jan. I’ve loved practicing my coaching skills. Of course the point is to receive support and my gang have been fabulous. But I surprised myself by getting just as much…


Zimmer frames, how language evolves and getting het up about grammar – podcast

By Ben Afia

I’m not quite ready for the old people’s home yet, but it’s funny what comes up when you’re chatting. Susan Heaton-Wright recently invited me onto her Superstar Communicator Podcast – a weekly broadcast around being a great speaker and communicator. I’ve been speaking on the power of language for over a decade, and the Professional…

It’s a donut, not a doughnut – podcast

By Ben Afia

Mark Reed-Edwards, a man with a wonderful radio voice, asked me onto his podcast again. And we ended up with 45 minutes of stuff to help you think differently about language, brand and connecting with your customers. What did we cover? How to change how you talk to customers along their journey. Your customer…

How powerful is language – podcast

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: Why words matter and how using the right ones can transform your business.…

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…


What’s your language revealing about you?

By Ben Afia

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…

six-objections-to-a-new tone-of-voice

6 objections to a new tone of voice (and how to overcome them)

By Ben Afia

You put your time, your best thinkers and hard-earned budget into a new brand tone of voice, then you find little pockets of resistance: people who’d rather keep things the way they were. They’ll have different reasons for sticking to their guns, and before you can convince them that writing in a different way is…

How to get great work from copywriters

Nine steps to getting great work from copywriters

By Ben Afia

Some of the things we’ve learnt over the last 15 years: How to write a brief that’ll inspire How to make sure you don’t pay over the odds How to make sure things happen to deadline How to make sign-off quick and painless What to do if the tone isn’t quite right Starting with a writer…