Rolling out tone of voice for a European bank

HROD logo showing four quadrants. Image credit: 31% Wool
  • Client: 31% Wool / EBRD
  • Disciplines: Copywriting, tone of voice
  • Duration: 9 days

I collaborated with 31% Wool to help roll out a friendly and engaging new tone of voice for the HR and Organisational Department (HROD) of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The verbal narrative is based on four ‘quadrants’ that play on banking terminology, framing all communications in terms of assets, liabilities, risks and returns. HROD might describe people as its “greatest asset”, for instance, or discuss “unlocking returns” for its staff.

Read more on 31% Wool’s website…

My brief was to translate this conceptual approach across a range of materials – from landing pages to onboarding packs – while balancing the need to be punchy and direct, but also warm and welcoming.

Landing pages from HROD website. Image credit: 31% Wool

I also wrote guidelines to help HROD staff maintain this tone of voice across other day-to-day applications.

Tone of voice booklet for HROD. Image credit: 31% Wool

“Nick quickly grasped the intricacies and breadth of the client’s verbal comms, and brought to life some previously quite generic pieces with our new verbal language and a consistent tone of voice. He was happy to turn around some tight client deadlines, and I hope we’ll be working on more projects together in the future.”

Julia Woollams, creative director, 31% Wool

Telling the story of Carlsberg’s global rebrand

Carlsberg’s re-crafted logo. Image credit: Taxi Studio
  • Client: Taxi Studio / Carlsberg
  • Disciplines: Content strategy, scriptwriting, video production, copywriting
  • Duration: 12 days

I collaborated with Taxi Studio, developing a content strategy to tell the fascinating story behind its award-winning Carlsberg rebrand.

Following an in-depth briefing, we agreed to focus on three core areas – the re-crafting of the mark and other brand assets; the holistic design and packaging system; and Carlsberg’s wider sustainability story, in which the rebrand plays a central role.

Working closely with Taxi’s in-house marketing and creative teams, I conducted piece-to-camera interviews in both Taxi’s Bristol studio and Carlsberg’s Copenhagen HQ, then scripted and edit-produced videos that have since formed part of many successful awards submissions.

The videos were accompanied by ghostwritten articles to tell the story in more detail. These became core case studies on the Taxi website, as well as attracting the attention of specialist publications such as The Dieline.

Part one: Crafted to Last

How the rebrand translates across packaging and POS. Image credit: Taxi Studio

We’ve collaborated with Carlsberg on a major global rebrand, unifying its diverse markets with a simple yet versatile identity system that champions the principles of great Danish design.

Following extensive research into the brand’s 171-year heritage, Carlsberg’s famous brand elements have been carefully re-crafted for the first time in several years, striking the perfect balance between form and function...

Read more and watch video on Taxi’s website…

Part two: Danish by Design

Different variants in the holistic packaging system. Image credit: Taxi Studio

At the heart of our global Carlsberg rebrand is a simple phrase: “In constant pursuit of better.” Drawn from the ‘Golden Words’ penned by Carlsberg founder JC Jacobsen, this pledge drives everything from the quality of the brew, to the company’s sustainability credentials, to how its brand is presented to the world.

With no holistic look and feel to tie the regional variants together, or clear set of rules to govern how different assets were used, the Carlsberg brand was presented inconsistently from market to market. Another challenge was to unify all expressions of it as part of a coherent, master brand-led system...

Read more and watch video on Taxi’s website…

“Nick is an excellent writer with a particular set of skills, skills he has acquired over a very long career, skills that make him a dream for people like you. Try him once and you’ll be taken. Just like I was when we worked together on the Carlsberg brand – he’s a trusted ‘go to’ for us.”

Spencer Buck, creative partner, Taxi Studio

Clarifying an agency’s new strategic positioning

Image credit: Studio Output
  • Client: Studio Output
  • Disciplines: Content strategy, thought leadership, ghostwriting
  • Duration: 3 days

I collaborated with Studio Output on a thought-leadership piece to reflect the agency’s new strategic positioning: specifically, how it helps brands to adapt and thrive in a connected world.

Following an in-depth briefing session with the senior team, I worked closely with executive creative director Rob Coke to translate the agency’s sector-leading creative approach into a long-form article.

Read full article on Output’s website

Here’s an excerpt:

Why your brand must adapt to thrive

The connected world has shifted behaviours and transformed expectations. As consumers, we’re faced with more choice, more powerful technology and more immersive experiences than ever before. In this world, the experience of your digital products is what defines your brand.

Switched-on brands – those that understand the importance of embracing a digital mindset to succeed in today’s world – are disrupting their sectors and dancing to the rhythm of fast-changing demands. They’re not just responding to the future, they’re creating it – by continually pushing boundaries and challenging themselves to adapt to the unknown ahead of their competitors.

Airbnb put the idea of ‘belonging’ at the heart of every touchpoint. Netflix’s design and motion language showcases the content you love. Uber’s recent rebrand unifies its services with a modern, relevant visual system. And trillion-dollar giant Amazon completely re-framed expectations of service and delivery.

To disrupt their respective sectors, these four all understood one thing: the power of experience as a differentiator. They take people on a journey that conveys their brand values and personality at every touchpoint... [more]

“Nick has a knack of capturing the magic of an interview and distilling it into attention-grabbing copy. He’s easy to work with, makes the process enjoyable and meets his deadlines. What more can you ask?”

Rob Coke, executive creative director, Studio Output

Capturing the magic of BBC 2’s award-winning rebrand

20 different ‘mood’ based animations for BBC Two. Image credit: Superunion
  • Client: Superunion
  • Disciplines: Copywriting
  • Duration: 2 days

I collaborated with Superunion to help tell the complex story of its multi-award-winning BBC 2 rebrand in a clear, compelling way.

Rather than focussing on each ident individually, Superunion’s innovative new branding system curates the entire experience between programmes, effectively turning the junction into an extended ident.

Each trailer is assigned a ‘mood’ – such as ‘escapist’, ‘intense’, ‘revelatory’, ‘visceral’ or ‘anarchic’. These weave together in a seamless narrative, leading the viewer on a stimulating journey of discovery. The mood animations vary hugely in style and tone, but all feature the exact same curve motif at different points – which subtly hints at the outline of a ‘2’.

In the weeks leading up to the public launch of the new identity, I worked with executive creative director Stuart Radford and creative director Kath Tudball to craft punchy, engaging copy about the creative process to contribute towards case studies, awards entries and more.

The project won an impressive haul of awards, including Best of Show at 2019’s Brand Impact Awards, and Yellow and Wood Pencils at D&AD.

Sharing smart summer tips for lastminute.com

In 2006, I collaborated with lastminute.com to produce a 24-page booklet packed with 201 tips for smarter living – from maximising your airport time to summering like a celebrity.

Image credit: lastminute.com

3 million copies were distributed through various publications, including The Observer, The Sunday Times, GQ, Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire.

View the booklet as a PDF

Telling a passionate artist’s captivating story

Image credit: Birmingham Mail

In 2005, I collaborated with renowned graffiti artist Temper to produce a limited-edition 60-page book exploring his career so far.

Here are the 10 main chapters in full.

Part 1: Introducing…

‘He wasn’t an artist, he wasn’t an art critic, but if it didn’t look like Mussolini he’d say so. That’s the only art lesson I had’ … [more]

Part 2: The Good Die Young

Losing eight of your close family in a lifetime is devastating. Losing them in a single year is enough to tear your life apart… [more]

Part 3: Decade Collection

‘Ten years, crunched into an easily-digestible visual thing’ … [more]

Part 4: Minuteman Exhibition

‘What was the point of being the first graffiti artist in a public gallery without actually making a few statements?’ … [more]

Part 5: Popcorn Collection

For a dyslexic child struggling with words, comic books throw open a vibrant universe of storytelling… [more]

Part 6: Signature Sprite Can

‘I won everybody’s vote for eight weeks on the trot. Undisputed. It was obvious it had to be my work’ … [more]

Part 7: Saatchi & Saatchi

‘He had an office in London he wanted me to paint. He was very creative, but I didn’t know he was a Creative Director’ … [more]

Part 8: Too Good to Die Young

The next stage of the bereavement process was to splash the colour back in glorious celebration of what made them iconic… [more]

Part 9: Move Collection

‘I didn’t want to see faces; I didn’t want to see limbs. I wanted them to look awkward’ … [more]

Part 10: Outroduction

Now is the calm before the storm; the slow-motion leap before the fight begins. It’s safe to say that Temper will be around for many years to come… [more]