Ben Afia Speaker, Speeches, Booking Agent | MFL Global
Ben Afia

Ben Afia

Founder and CEO, Afia

Ben Afia is a consultant, writer and speaker, specialising in brand strategy and language. His claim to fame is helping Ronseal work out what to say on the tin.

He’s helped companies manage their brand and tone of voice longer than most, starting in 2001 at Boots, when managing language was only just becoming a thing. He created a new tone and went on to help people across the business to get better results from agencies and freelancers.

In 2005, with a first baby on the way and a week from exchanging contracts on a new house, Boots made Ben redundant. Which seemed like the perfect moment to set up Afia.

Afia is turning the world of “corporate speak” on its head by helping companies to be more human. He is always looking for the easiest way to get something done. It’s the same thinking he’s brought to successfully changing the culture of companies like Aviva, E.ON, Legal & General and Boots. ‘If we make this easy for anyone to grasp, they’re far more likely to adopt it.’ Hence the straightforward, memorable tone of voice structure.

Afia’s tone of voice structure uses a language format the same as people do when they’re talking to each other face to face. Of course the tone will vary depending on who you’re talking to and what you want to say, but Afia has found it helps organisations to build stronger relationships with their customers and for the people who work there to get on better with each other.

Through his work at Afia he has helped companies like Allianz Insurance win more customers, BP to develop their employer brand and Google to help people understand digital marketing better. In the travel sector he’s helped BCD get in touch with what their customers need, and companies like Haven Holidays create a wonderful customer experience that starts the minute they open a brochure.  He’s also helped Twinings to harmonise their packaging around the world, Vodafone build better relationships with their customers, and AirBP to get in touch with their heartbeat. That work was so effective they were still using Ben Afia’s words 5 years later.

“I love working with Maria because she challenges me to approach each speech with fresh eyes. That makes each one special, and a lot more fun” - Ben

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Topics

Dressing up for work

The way we behave towards our customers is far more important than people sometimes imagine. What makes people choose you is roughly 25% the quality of the product or the service and 75% the way they see their relationship with your brand, depending on how widespread and attractive your competition is.

We’ve found that when people really understand what their brand stands for and start to speak and write in a way that shows their brand’s personality, they can change the organisation’s culture for the better.

How not to be ignored when you’re writing for business

What is a brand’s tone of voice? It’s a brand’s personality expressed in words. As a company, it’s how you use language to show who you are and what you’re like.

To take a close look at your tone of voice, you have to scrutinise how you write about yourselves, to your customers and to each other, and see if this matches up with the way you want people to see your brand. All too often it doesn’t.

When your brand really talks to your customers, using just the right tone of voice, people will gladly read what you write to them.

Tone of voice isn’t just a set of guidelines

One of voice isn’t a set of guidelines. At least, one that really works doesn’t stop there. It’s a way of behaving that brings your brand to life. It’s something people do. And if they’re not doing it, it’s not working.

Guidelines are the starting point for your tone of voice. But then you need to encourage and help people to use that tone. You need everyone around the business to get it and make it part of how they work every day. And to make this change happen, you need to inspire people.

Ben is both a great writer and business partner. We worked together on the written articulation of hundreds of different new product concepts while I was consulting in the telecomms market. He never failed to impress with his ability to bridge the gap between what our client wanted to say, and what consumers will understand. He and his team worked fast, were faultlessly reliable and always delivered quality work. I'd thoroughly recommend working with Ben.

Google Digital Academy at Google

Ben worked with our entire organisation, from trustees to frontline staff, to help us with our brand and tone of voice. He totally "got" our personality through interviews and several workshops - which he facilitated wonderfully! As well as getting the output he needed, our staff found them one of the best team-building activities ever. Thank you, Ben, for everything!

The British Lung Foundation

Afia’s tone of voice training was a great help in getting our brand to resonate throughout the organisation. Ben’s ability to help people ‘get’ the language of the brand through exercises and questions was impressive to experience firsthand – a great teacher makes learning fun and effective. His process can literally reshape your business and your relationship with customers.should communicate in language people recognise and respond to.

Sophos

In a world of mediocre, corporate flannel Ben breezes through with a refreshing air of humanity. His ability to see what needs to be said without trying to sound clever leads to writing that gets read. His assistance in the development of a consistent tone of voice for Sophos was invaluable.

IntraLinks

Fees & Details

Fees From*

  • UK:

    Up to £7k

  • Europe:

    Up to £7k

  • US:

    £7k to £15k

  • Africa/Asia/ME:

    £7k to £15k

Travels From

  • United Kingdom

Languages

English

* This Speaker's fee falls within the ranges shown above. Ranges are presented as a guideline only. Speaker fees are subject to change without notice. For an exact quote, please contact us.

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