Don’t turn up the volume.
If you did, sorry.

We do know what we’re doing.
We put the instruction in the sentence.

But we digress.

Honk is a brand and language consultancy.

Our clients come in all shapes and sizes.
We help them all do better, through better language.

What a lot of Honk clients want our help with. Any sound familiar?

We don’t have a tone of voice, or the one we have isn’t working

So we help them find a voice that reflects their brand, or fix the one they’ve got. We write it up in inspiring yet practical sets of guidelines. We train their people how to apply it to everything they write. And sometimes we even train their trainers to do the same.

Our ‘writers’ need some help

These days a lot of people writing for brands aren’t writers. Yet there they are. Hammering fists on keyboards, churning out presentations, marketing, social media campaigns, content, product copy, website updates, blogs, replies to customers, annual reports and terms and conditions. We help them become better, more comfortable, more confident and more effective writers.

Our annual reports are thick and dull

We’ve written, rewritten and edited a lot of annual reports to make them less painful to slog through. So there’s that. But we’ve also helped make them actually engaging to read – through sorting out stories or themes and weaving them through.

We can’t see the messaging wood for the trees

We help clients who’ve got too much to say, distil it down to the most important thing. We help brands who’ve lost sight of what their audience wants, see clearly. We help companies who can’t bring their messages to life, animate them. We help businesses explain complicated things simply and memorably.

We’re doing customer experience. But it’s not really happening

Some of our clients have legions of customer service agents, managers, coaches, quality checkers, templates, scripts, automated comms and other support. But their brand still doesn’t shine though in their interactions. And their customers hate interacting with them. These are big, knotty, high-pressure problems. We get them.

Customers don’t read or understand our legals, terms and conditions

Companies’ legal writing should be easy to read and easy to understand. From 500,000 words of consumer contracts to T&C marketing footnotes, we’ve helped a lot of big brands get their legal writing right.

Our language is over-complicated, jargon-filled, stuffy, verbose, waffly and old-fashioned

Simpler writing is more effective writing. We can simplify any writing.

Our senior leaders are great. But they go weird when they’re in official mode

We’ve trained CEOs to be better presenters. We’ve coached chairpeople to write better announcements. We’ve helped plc Boards make decisions more easily – by making their board papers easier to make decisions on.

What we actually do

The things Honk clients need our help with usually end up with us making or doing something for them. So here are some things we end up making or doing:

  • language consultancy
  • tone of voice
  • naming
  • brand strategy, positioning, story and purpose
  • writing, rewriting and editing
  • training, presenting and coaching.

What we don’t (often) do

We’re not a ‘copywriting agency’. And anyway if you believe the doomsayers all content will soon be written by AI. But to help you get a better handle on us, here are some things we don’t really do:

  • social media content
  • content marketing
  • thought leadership
  • sales enablement
  • monster-sized slide decks
  • marketing copywriting
  • SEO copy
  • spam.

Who we do it for

We tend to work with big brands but not the super-sexy and recognisable ones everyone’s heard of. Sector-wise we’ve done everything from global logistics to pharmaceutical, from fashion to travel and from tech to financial services. We’ve also worked with a few start-ups, foodie brands and charities. We don’t work with anyone actively evil.

Here comes the client logos bit:

This is Honk

A team of 15-20 shit-hot, super-experienced experts in everything clients need from us.

No. Not on payroll. “Freelance”. So we can grow or shrink at a moment’s notice. And so we don’t have any of those eyewatering agency overheads.

Other than that, Honk is a single person Limited company owned by me. Jon Hawkins.

Jon Hawkins

Founder and creative director

I’ve been a writer and language consultant more than 25 years, working with global businesses across many sectors, audiences and geographies. I’m particularly experienced in the tech, financial services, entertainment and luxury sectors.

I’ve worked on tones of voice, brand positioning, narratives and frameworks, employer and employee branding, naming and strategy.

I’ve consulted on, written and edited annual and sustainability reports, content strategy, marketing and social content, speeches, direct marketing, customer comms and websites for brands big and small.

I’ve run literally hundreds (possibly thousands… I’ve lost count) of writing and tone of voice workshops – face-to-face on four continents as well as online on all those wonderful different collaboration platforms.

I was a head of brand at BT for a decade – setting writing strategy, training 25,000 people to write more effectively, leading trainers and editors, hiring agencies, managing content providers, transforming the language of marketing and customer experience, winning awards and saving and making £millions.

I’ve done language talks and workshops to brands like Royal Bank of Scotland, EE, Great Ormond Street Hospital and CR UK. I once got 300 people at once crafting gothic literature and showed the secrets of brilliant editing to 1,500 people simultaneously in a live web tutorial.

I have an MA Creative Writing / English Language and I guest lecture on Lancaster University Management School’s BA and MA courses.

Oh and one more thing

We built this website under duress. We haven’t needed one for five years. We’ve been chock-a-block with work thank you. We still are. But the other day a client’s boss’s boss said they needed to see a “creds deck” or “portfolio” or “website” to check that we were who we said we were. So now here we are.