550 employees. 1 voice.

In-house copywriting training | Practical Action | 2020

A bespoke package of copywriting training helped this charity’s 550 employees get to grips with a new brand and tone of voice.

A new tone of voice

Practical Action is an innovative international development organisation. It puts ingenious ideas to work so people in poverty can transform their lives. As Practical Action’s copywriter, I train colleagues in all aspects of writing, tone of voice and storytelling. I also support external agencies in using our tone of voice and writing style to support the brand.

In 2019, the charity had a comprehensive rebrand to align its look and feel to a new strategy and reach out to fresh audiences. The result was a bolder, more focused identity that was as innovative as Practical Action’s way of working. Built into the refreshed brand was a warm and direct tone of voice and an engaging way of sharing our stories. It was all very different to what the organisation was used to.

Tone of voice and storytelling training helped Practical Action staff reflect the organisation’s brand values.

In-house copywriting training

I produced a package of training to embed the new tone of voice and storytelling approach throughout the organisation. The training needed to be engaging, flexible and cross-platform. International colleagues in regional offices in Africa, Asia and Latin America would need to be able to access it effectively.

My four-part modular training package begins with an overview of foundation writing skills. This aims to bring colleagues up to a minimum level of writing competence. Communications and project staff then move on to the more advanced tone of voice and storytelling modules. These classes help them reflect our brand values in an emotive and memorable way. Meanwhile, persuasive writing classes are designed to support the marketing and fundraising teams. These modules focus on exceeding targets and driving meaningful engagement.

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The workshop was well organised and clearly a lot of thought had gone into communicating the main messages. The examples were very helpful and Ruth has a clear and engaging presentation style.

Copywriting workshop attendee

Global training

My online copywriting and tone of voice training has been rolled out to Practical Action’s 550 employees in 11 countries around the world. I continue to host workshops and mentoring sessions to fully embed the new principles. The training has helped staff communicate in a bolder, more creative way. It’s also helped cement understanding of the new brand more generally.

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