Our tone of voice

Brand identity fundamentals

Tone of voice guide

The same brand personality characteristics that inform our visual identity (courageous, caring and collaborative) also drive our verbal identity.

Our verbal identity covers not just what we say (and write) as DSM, but also how we say it - otherwise known as our tone of voice. Our brand communications should have a distinctive style that sets us apart from our competitors and engages our audience.

Our verbal identity


Not being afraid to make statements that get people thinking; get our message across clearly and succinctly; and demonstrate our leadership (provided we can support them with facts and proof).


Tapping into the emotional side of our brand to write in a human way (after all, people want to feel they are communicating with a human being, not a corporation); as well as makinga strong connection between our business and how it benefits people and our wider world.


broadening our story beyond DSM to include relevant information and views from all kinds of stakeholders – from our customers, to NGOs. After all, we cannot create brighter lives for all on our own.

Stopping power

Words send signals, and when you choose the right words (in the right order) they have the power to make people stop, think - and hopefully engage.

Take this excerpt from a job posting for an HR role which shows how good writing can encapsulate the essence of our brand personality.

"Even the best-laid plans will never become reality without the right people (1). It’s this concept that sits at the heart of our purpose-led, performance-driven strategy – and it’s why our Human Resources team is a critical partner for the business at every level and across every discipline, worldwide (2).

If you’ve got what it takes to advise and inspire a great group of colleagues to continue developing and performing (3), then DSM could be the place for you."

We show courage (1) in acknowledging that we are not perfect, that we care (2) for every single employee and want to collaborate (3) with the best to achieve this.

Writing guide

If you’d like to know more about this, we urge you to download our new (abridged) writing guide, revamped to be more concise, practical and relevant (in other words, following our own rules!)

The writing guide sets out the basics of good writing and:

  • How to apply this to the web.
  • How to integrate our brand story into your writing.
  • Practical tips and examples on how to get your creative juices flowing.

Other important references are dsm.com, where you’ll get a good flavor of DSM’s tone of voice and writing style and DSM's financial terminology guide.

Finally… no matter what you write, always try and get a colleague (friend, family member, anyone!) to give your work a quick read; preferably a native speaker.

Read more

  • Download brand assets

    Download brand assets

    DSM brand asset downloads of core visual brand elements, images, video & b-roll, signage and publications.

  • Writing Guide

    Writing Guide

    Our aim is to help you write clearly, consistently – and creatively – in a way that is relevant to your audience (whoever they may be).

  • Financial Terminology Guide

    Financial Terminology Guide

    Here you’ll find the correct house style for all the terms we use in our financial brand communications, including Dutch translations and various words and phrases we should always avoid using. For more information download our Financial Terminology Guide.