After 16 years in business I thought about writing down all the mistakes I’ve made and how you could avoid them. But it would be a very, very long post.
Instead, let’s focus on one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, the team I’ve got around me.
When I set up tone of voice at Boots I had the luxury of working with some of the best agencies in the world. And I got to hand-pick amazing consultants, writers and trainers.
So when I started Afia I knew second best wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want juniors, I didn’t want newbies testing out their skills on clients who deserved more. So I took a risk. I decided to only use experienced freelancers. No one on the payroll. No one I could ‘control’. And boy did it pay off.
You see the thing about freelancers is they treat every project as if it’s the most important thing in the world, after all their livelihood depends on it. They’ve spent years running projects and working with all sorts of different clients and that experience ends up in every Afia project.
It also means whatever you need – brand and language strategy, workshop facilitation or just great words – we’ve got the right person. Not just someone who happens to work for me.
I’ve had a few clients ask for bios of our writers so I wanted to give you a peek behind the curtain and introduce some of our best. There’s plenty more but I don’t want to end up writing the very long blog I said I wouldn’t.
Nic’s truly multi-talented – not only is she a startling writer, but creative marketer and spot on project manager for Afia. In the last 20 years Nic’s written for all kinds of companies, from FMCG and the energy sector to family brands and banking. She’s run writing workshops, coached clients in language skills, created tone of voice guidelines for some well-known companies and edited the heck out of copy to get to a clear message.
Ang loves selling to people. She’s an expert in working out why something is wonderful and why everyone should buy it, whether that’s for a whole company or back-of-pack copy for a new shampoo. If you’re looking for help with advertising (press, print, TV, radio or digital media) then Ang can help, she’s come up with ideas for oodles of companies including Procter and Gamble, Rolex, Mercedes-Benz, Virgin Group, Coca-Cola and Kraft Foods
Pete’s thing is clarity. Complex products, tricky propositions and fiddly processes, he enjoys cutting straight to what matters to the reader. And he does it in a warm and engaging tone that always feels personal.
He’s worked a lot in the financial, utility and tech sectors, as well as lifestyle and fashion. We’ll often turn to Pete for customer letters, emails or website copy and he has plenty of large-scale rewrite projects under his belt.
Chloe loves nothing better than a long, complex document that needs a thoughtful touch and a finely tuned eye for detail. Over the last two decades she’s worked client and agency side in sectors like finance and utilities, on everything from large letter-writing campaigns and marketing brochures, to web copy and tone of voice training materials.
Dave’s spent twenty years copywriting, so he’s crafted words for just about every sector, in every format. He’s an ex-journalist so long-form writing comes naturally and he loves digging into detail to unpick problems.
Dave’s got bags of experience with travel, hospitality and leisure clients and he’s worked with agencies all over the world, from Copenhagen to New York.
Our other Dave spent the first chunk of his working life in corporate sales. He’s now much happier away from corporate-speak and using his skills as a storyteller to develop personalities and help bring them to life. Dave’s worked on a wide range of projects from Morrisons to dreaming up E.ON’s slogans for the back of a bus. His strengths lie in short, punchy pieces and if you’re looking for something witty, Dave’s your man.
Kate’s our product copy guru. She started out in publishing then moved to writing, ending up as Global Head of Copy at The Body Shop.
Then she honed her TV and radio advertising skills at Saatchi & Saatchi and co-founded Cherry. As owner of this successful all-female copywriting agency she worked with clients like Schwarzkopf, Boots and One & Only Luxury travel brand. Kate then launched a successful freelance career, working with some of the best agencies in the world (*cough* like Afia).
Bert’s the writer we turn to when we need a long-form report or policy document that’s clear and engaging. And he’s an award winner (and poet on the side) too. He loves those trickier, highly regulated sectors like pharma, accounting and finance, creating bold communications when you least expect it. Need a ghostwritten article or senior leader speech? Bert’s here to help.
And just in case it’s not clear, I’m a writer too!
As one of the first people in the world to establish and manage tone of voice, I cut my teeth with Walgreen Alliance Boots, helping them improve relationships internally and with customers. Now I use language to help companies change culture, improve performance and forge deeper connections with their customers.
I’ve helped companies like Aviva to win more customers, BP to develop their employer brand and Google to help marketers understand digital better. My strategic consultancy and change programmes helped Vodafone boost their customer satisfaction to its highest ever level and took E.ON on a journey to change their culture.
If you’ve got a language or writing project then drop us a line, I know I can find the perfect consultant for you in our team.