Date: February 2018

Founded in 1851, St Austell Brewery is one of Cornwall’s biggest brands and remains an independent family-owned business. Their flagship product, Tribute Ale, has won multiple awards and is known countrywide for its quality and taste.

After Tribute launched their new brand strategy – Quality speaks for itself – some of the Tribute team were struggling to achieve the brand tone of voice. They wanted us to help by creating a practical tone of voice guide with easy-to-follow advice, and to run a copywriting workshop with them.

Brand tone of voice

The first step was to familiarise ourselves with the brand – its values, audiences and wider strategy – to create an authentic tone of voice. We developed personality traits, drawn from their existing brand values, to guide the writing style. Each trait contains tips on how to use language, sentence structure and certain writing techniques to craft the Tribute tone of voice.

The guide also shows the tone of voice in action, with sample passages and a brief analysis, so that those using the guide can see how the tone of voice can be put into practice. Finally, there’s a copy style guide, which sets out punctuation, spelling, usage and formatting to ensure communications are stylistically consistent.

The Tribute Ale personality traits, mocked up on cards.
The Tribute Ale tone of voice, with bullet points on how to write as Tribute Ale.

Copywriting workshop

We then ran a copywriting workshop for the St Austell Brewery team, packed with practical exercises, insights and advice. The aim was to equip them with new skills and understanding that they can apply to real writing situations. We covered key themes such as awareness of audience, techniques such as warm-up exercises and applying the tone of voice, and best practices for particular platforms. The team left with a greater confidence in their writing abilities and experiential knowledge of how to craft persuasive copy.

The Tribute Ale copywriting workshop handout.
A group of people sit at a long table with writing materials.
A woman writes in a notepad.
A woman writes on her notebook.
Three people sit together discussing ideas.

Jeremy Mitchell, Marketing & Communications Director, St Austell Brewery

Thanks to the Nixon team for the workshop. I’ve had unanimously positive feedback from the team who found it useful and enjoyable!