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Redefining the voice of a financial giant

In July 2020, RBS Group transitioned to NatWest Group, which was accompanied by a reshuffle of their retail subsidiaries such as NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank and Coutts. We were asked to create a new voice for the NatWest Group brand that would help them migrate their communications towards their new brand positioning.

Taking the inside out

The reasons for the rebrand of this financial powerhouse have been well-covered over the past decade. But what hasn’t been shared to even close to the same extent is the vast cultural change that has taken place within the Group.

Working with the Group’s in-house agency, The & Partnership, we began this project by digging deep into the thoughts of members of staff – from digital copywriters to the newly arrived CMO. And the consensus was overwhelming. The past is the past, and the present is a new team, a new opportunity and a new conscientious way of doing banking.


An 'inspiring champion'

We developed a brand character, as a way of capturing the human characteristics we want this new brand to project in its language. We also developed tone of principles – the thoughts and ideas that combine to create an authentic and credible voice from a brand such as this one. Our “tactics” section gives practical writing help to anyone writing on behalf of the brand. For experienced copywriters they act as cues or jumping off points, and for less experienced writers, they act as guardrails or confidence builders.

We build a structure for being flexible with language. From welcoming new team members, to discussing a sustainable approach to banking, to delivering bad news. We put in place a framework that allowed NatWest Group to speak about all these very different subjects while always sounding like one brand. We build an additional section that covers some practical advise for writing online. And finally, we wrote lots of before and after copy that demonstrates to everyone exactly what we want to achieve with our writing. After all, the most powerful tone of voice guide is the one that can and is put into practice every day.

Quote from Natwest Group Head of Communication

Natwest Group Tone of Voice based on real people

Natwest Group Tone of Voice based on real people