The Brief

There was nothing wrong with Hawksmoor’s voice. It was strong and confident, erudite, down to earth, respectful, generous and subtly funny, just like Hawksmoor. The problem was that it belonged to Will, one of its founders. As the business grew – and with it the demands on their time – the rest of the team needed to step into the voice with confidence as they took on more writing.
Our challenge was to define Will’s tone of voice, to separate it from them personally and make sure its character and key messages were landing with customers, so we could give the Hawksmoor team a road-tested TOV toolkit for day-to-day writing.

Our Approach

We started, as always, by immersing ourselves in Hawksmoor’s words. We interviewed Will, Huw and the team, we read their books, we combed through the current guidelines. And, of course, we mined their communications – emails, website, social channels, cookbooks and the staff manual – to nail down the voice DNA, essentially what makes Hawksmoor sound like Hawksmoor.

Next up, we brought customers into the dialogue with an email survey, followed by in-depth Zoom interviews to check that Hawksmoor’s key messages aligned with their motivations. At this stage, we injected a little dose of customer voice to make sure that Hawksmoor’s tone would connect with its audience.

Once we’d presented our findings, and the team had chosen three TOV pillars and four key messages from our shortlist, we had everything we needed to pull together Hawksmoor’s final brand messaging guidelines.

What we delivered

  • Full set of brand messaging guidelines, including examples to help the team put the guidelines into practice.
  • A single-page desktop tone of voice ‘cheat sheet’ with writing and editing tips for day-to-day reference.
  • Initial guidelines presentation to key stakeholders.
  • A practical TOV workshop for 40+ team members, from the leadership team to reservations and marketing, recorded on Zoom for external suppliers.
  • New set of welcome journey emails in the refreshed TOV, introducing the brand step by step to mailing list sign-ups.
  • A summer beach-hut writing workshop in Whitstable for the marketing team to help them keep content fresh through key dates, year after year – easier said than done!

Will Beckett


Hawksmoor’s tone of voice was best represented by the co-founders producing copy. This was difficult for the team and partners to emulate. We went to Annica with the challenge of articulating the tone for everyone who had to write for the brand. She was very good at getting buy-in from the whole team and we really honed in on what language makes Hawksmoor. It was a very helpful for us and it’s now baked into our induction process.

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