Can self-confessed data nerds communicate clearly?

Writing and tone of voice for New Relic

A lot of companies do complicated things.


We would know – we help banks turn spreadsheets into stories and legal firms make sense of their small print. But West Coast software analytics company New Relic take it to the next level.

Their software is built to monitor how well all the other software on your company system is running. A company of developers and engineers, talking to a customer base of developers and engineers – about telemetry, Kubernetes and everything inbetween. So where does a UK language and behaviour consultancy slot in?

We’ve been working with New Relic for two years, across different projects

All with the goal of helping them explain what they do. We started by flying out to Portland and getting to know the business. Quickly, we saw this company spirit: a shared loveable nerdiness, expressed in funny T-shirts. For us, that was the eureka moment: New Relic don’t need to dial down the developer-speak. That’s the community they belong to; it is their voice.

Since then, we’ve:

  • Started testing just how far to push this developer-community-voice in their comms and microcopy
  • Helped them rework their internal strategy docs, so their voice can still shine, but with a little more rigour around structure
  • Worked out a new approach to their library of technical documentation – the zenith of ‘tech talking to tech’

We’ve learned a lot about observability platforms, and we hope they’ve learned a lot about communication.

But we’ll let our client Mark take it from here…

“You could work with Definition because they’re brilliant writers, clever thinkers, and insightful behavioural specialists. You could work with them because you simply need your writing to get you better business results. You could work with them because you want to craft a voice and set a direction for your communications. Many people do. That’d all be wise.

“I suggest you work with them so that you can be the brilliant communications visionary that you’ve always wanted to be. And if you’re all that already, work with them so you can partner with amazing people just like you. You will get the great results you need, learn something new along the way, and have some fun to boot. Why would you pass that up?”

Mark Buchanan, Senior Director of Product Language, New Relic

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