Charli Matthews, Transform Conference 2012


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Distinctive brands have a distinctive tone of voice. But so many brands still sound the same. They say they want to stand out, yet something holds them back.

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  • When we come up with a tone of voice for a business we start by looking at their values. It’s our job to turn values into a tone of voice and then make sure those values come through in everything that company writes. So at The Writer we see a lot of values documents, vision pyramids, mission statements, style guides and we’ve noticed a few things, so I cn tell you what’s good, bad and what to do, not to do etc – werong and right. I’m going to talk to you about three of them.
  • I decided to have a look at a few brands, dig around in their websites and find their values page. We’re going to see if you can guess who these values might belong to.
  • This company say “The world is changing all around us. To continue to thrive as a business over the next 10 years and beyond we must look ahead. Understanding the trends and forces that will shape our business in the future and moving swiftly will prepare us for what's to come. Our shared values that we are guided by are...”Any guess on who that might be?
  • The most recognisable brand in the world, and their values are that bland.
  • This company say “Our success has been built on a number of core company values that have remained almost unchanged since our earliest beginnings. They are:”Bit of a rag tag bunch of words.Any idea who that is?
  • Very similar to Coca Cola.Don’t seem very British
  • Who do we think this might be?
  • Thales RaytheonIf you want to sound distinctive, all having the same values aren’t going to help.
  • Or often the writing principles we see when we first start working with them aren’t principles at all. They say things like...
  • To get this sort of stuff in your writing you need a little more guidance.
  • How adventurous? Blacks or Snow and Rock adventurous...or Ann Summers adventurous?
  • How do you add sparkle to your writing? And how much sparkle do I need? Do I add sparkle when I’m responding to a customer complaint?It’s just no practical or applicable.And the most common principle we see...
  • We’d expect to see “don’t violate the integrity of the corporate identity”Their first mission statement was smash adidasLots of attitiude and very specific
  • Change the way you write and you can change the way people think about what they do. You can change the way they behaveGuy interviewing with them and after seeing this he thought it was the sort of place he wanted to work. From the expenses policy!
  • Start by getting the language of your values to match your values. If you’re a passionate brand, show me that passion in your values. You might need a few more words, but you’ll give people a real picture of what you’re about. That will help make your writing principles more practical.And it’ll help makes sure that whatever it is you stand for, whatever it is you value, it’ll come out in everything you write. is company who’s done that.
  • Charli Matthews, Transform Conference 2012

    1. 1. Values
    2. 2. Thing #1Everyone soundsthe same
    3. 3. Leadership Passion IntegrityAccountabilityCollaboration Innovation Quality
    4. 4. Quality ValueInnovation Trust Service Proud
    5. 5. People integrity Customer commitmentProduct & service excellence
    6. 6. Thing #2The principles areabstract
    7. 7. Be professional
    8. 8. Be adventurous
    9. 9. Add sparkle
    10. 10. Thing #3Get real
    11. 11. Operational excellence
    12. 12. Doingeverydaythings better
    13. 13. Don’t fuck withthe swoosh
    14. 14. We’re a frugal company. Butdon’t show updog tired just tosave a few bucks.Use your common sense.
    15. 15. Start withyour language
    16. 16. Moo loves ambitionsMoo loves cleverMoo loves resourcefulMoo loves niceMoo loves passionate
    17. 17. HelloIm Little MOO - the bit of software thatwill be managing your orderwith It will shortly be sent toBig Moo, our print machine who will printit for you in the next few days. I’ll let youknow when it’s done and on its way to you.
    18. 18. Let’s have a go
    19. 19.