Pepper Money

Creating a truly ownable broker brand voice

A new verbal ecosystem to ensure a more consistent, coherent and distinctive way of talking

The challenge

Specialist mortgage lender, Pepper Money, already used several strategic and verbal assets to express their brand and proposition to its mortgage broker audience. But over the years, these had evolved (both deliberately and otherwise) to the point where it was felt necessary to take stock. A thorough review was needed to make sure Pepper’s verbal articulation remained strategically sound and creatively compelling.

Our brief was to organise and make sense of these existing assets, before strengthening any areas in need of development. This would all then be pulled together into a coherent ‘verbal ecosystem’, so anyone speaking or writing on behalf of the brand could be confident and consistent. The wider effect of this would be to ensure Pepper’s voice was distinctive in the market.

The solution

The approach we took was underpinned by our Define, Articulate, Amplify methodology (DAA). This essentially involved getting under the skin of the task, organising our thoughts and expressing them clearly – before training up the relevant teams on what the ecosystem was and how to use it.


We began with a verbal identity audit and verbal ecosystem mapping. This gave us the deeper understanding we’d need in terms of how everything worked and related to one another. It also allowed us to identify where the grey areas were and where gaps existed.

This first phase saw us successfully join the dots of the existing brand foundations – and elevate them with some strategic new additions.

As a key part of this, we developed a Broker Promise, to clarify what support was ultimately being offered – and help to make sense of the value proposition and four broker pillars:

We then made sense of what this promise actually meant, by expressing the previously unclear broker benefits – both direct and indirect.

And we consolidated all that Pepper is, and does, through four personality traits. This meant that when we came to articulate the brand’s voice, we had the characteristics to not only be consistent and distinct in what we were saying, but how we were saying it.


Armed with new-found clarity of our strategic assets (both old and new), we set about developing an evolution of Pepper’s outward-facing identity. This involved a sharpening of existing messaging, of course. But first, was the creation of several fresh assets identified in ‘Define’ as critical to the completion of the ecosystem.

Broker line

We began with the development of a tagline:
‘Ambitions, fulfilled’.
A key asset in our verbal identity, it sums up Pepper’s whole broker offering in its purest form. And it delivers on all elements of the broker promise – nodding to the many different ambitions of the brokers and customers we’re helping to succeed.

Tone of voice

Drawing on all parts of the brand foundations (and underpinned by our new personality traits) we created TOV principles that weren’t simply about ‘tone’; they carried the emotional weight we wanted Pepper’s comms to carry from this point on.

Reading-age scoring

A relatable, inclusive brand personality also means taking accessibility into account. Although the FCA’s Consumer Duty doesn’t directly apply to brokers, Pepper’s commitment to making life easier means our copy is now written for an audience aged 11-14 years. And to make sure we hit this benchmark consistently, we use the Flesch-Kincaid accessibility calculator to grade our writing.

Broker narratives

To bring together the brand foundations and TOV into broker-facing copy, we developed long-, medium- and short-form narratives, which would be used as inspiration for all future comms. These have various lenses shone on them, to show how the different elements of the verbal identity are all used to tell the right story, in the right way.


With the ecosystem now defined and articulated, the final job was to put it to practical use by educating all those who’d be writing (and speaking) on behalf of Pepper.

We created a set of verbal identity guidelines, explaining what the ecosystem was, why it existed and how to use it. We then undertook team training sessions, to bring Pepper’s Marketing and Sales teams up to speed – as well as our own, wider mark-making* team.

With everybody trained and raring to go, we drew the project to a close by consolidating the verbal identity into a one-page checklist. This meant that everyone would always have a handy set of prompts to stress-test their work with – and keep it aligned, consistent and distinctive at all times.

The results