Ben Afia is a director of 26 and set up his brand tone of voice agency in 2005. Ben loves getting out and winning huge projects, and I like working on them. For Ben I’ve run workshops for E.ON’s corporate department, Haven Holidays, Aviva and Legal & General and I write for his website. I’ve also written packaging copy for Wilkinsons and Cadbury and brochures for Blind Veterans UK.
When I say I’m working with Lee Jeans, the British ask me if I mean Lee Cooper. No, I don’t. Lee is the company set up in 1998 in Salina, Kansas by H.D. Lee that became the largest workwear company in the US. Now it’s part of the VF Corporation, the world’s largest clothing and accessories company. As part of the Odyssey Network (see later) I’ve been writing an interactive storybook for them about their extraordinary past, present and future.
Breast Cancer Care
The first series of workshops I did for Breast Cancer Care was on letter writing to the charity’s supporters, who’ve generally been through a tough time with cancer or with people close to them having the disease. This was in 2006. Since then we’ve run marketing writing workshops, speechwriting days, two creative days to work on Breast Cancer Care’s tone of voice and coaching for the Ask the Nurse team.
Marshall Cavendish Business Books
Not technically a client perhaps, but they publish my business books, so I’ve decided to count them anyway. The Fake Factor came out in 2005 (and 2006 in Japan). Online Marketing in a Weekcame out in 2011 and 100 Great Branding Ideas was published in January 2012.
Skype have excellent brand guidelines and a clear direction on their written tone of voice. The problem is that it’s quite difficult for non-copywriters to stick to it. I dropped in every now and again to help the Learning and Development department to turn rather academic training language into clear interesting (shorter) copy for their intranet.
The Odyssey Network
I’m delighted to be part of Stephen Zades’ amazing Odyssey Network, a creative thinking team that introduces its clients to new experiences from around the globe. When people write that they are delighted, they usually mean that’s it’s all part of a day’s work. In this case it’s true. Unfortunately the projects are secret, but we can organise one for you.
Sense is the UK’s charity for deafblind people, dealing with everyone from young people born with their senses impaired to old people whose senses are deserting them. I’ve been working recently with the customer support team on their letter writing, making their very traditional writing more warm and personal.
Univeristy College Falmouth
Falmouth College has an excellent professional writing department, and it’s wonderful to go there as a guest lecturer; quite a few members of 26 are regulars on the train from Paddington. In 2009 and 2010 I spent a week there running a summer school in business writing, and led a workshop for the MA students.
Zetetic Business Strategies
A zetetic is a quest or an inquiry. Often we work hard, but we can’t always remember why and don’t achieve what we set out to do. Joseph and Elizabeth Pritchard are unusual and particularly effective business strategists who work closely with their clients to inquire into their purpose. They solve organisations’ problems, and find ways to put the inner glow back into lacklustre businesses.
Also not strictly a client; it’s a voluntary role. All copywriters need some light relief from the demands of deadlines and rewrites. 26 is a not for profit organisation for everyone involved in writing for business: writers, designers, agencies, and everyone else who’s willing and able to pay the £26 annual membership fee. Recently we’ve made 26 second films, written 62 word descriptions of 26 Treasures in the V&A and had the booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson as our speaker.
innocent drinks and Great Ormond Street Hospital come to my workshops. (Chuffed about that.)
And some from history…
Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
From 1996 to 2010, I wrote the Lush Times, the blackboards and the labels for Lush, and a ream of web copy. It started when a paper I wrote for my MA helped to get them funding from a team of investors. Wonderful, inspiring client to work with, but I needed a little time to write a book so I trained up my replacements and bowed out.
STEAMCREAM is a wonderful natural cream that’s always the same but comes in a multitude of beautifully designed limited edition Japanese tins. I wrote their web copy and set up their social media. It’s the next big thing, and it’s already been featured in Vogue.