Project focus: brand engagement for a B2B audience

Creative design and digital agency Cygnus works in many flexible and diverse ways with its client partners. Having explored the approach Cygnus takes to create meaningful and impactful campaigns in our October issue, this month we explore how the company worked with The Open University to deliver a consistent brand experience to a B2B audience.

The challenge

When Milton Keynes-based institution, The Open University (OU) tasked Cygnus to help improve the visual engagement of their key B2B offerings back in 2016, the creative team facilitated workshops with the OU stakeholders, establishing a clear direction for the B2B brand based on the values of the wider institution. The OU has a long-standing global reputation as a pioneer in flexible learning and as a leading provider of qualifications, as well as working with a whole host of influential professional bodies and international partners. Therefore, a key requirement of the branding challenge was to organise the course offerings to businesses into a hierarchy, clarifying the differences between the delivery methods, with a particular focus on apprenticeships, along with tailored learning and short courses.

The solution

Working closely with the OU team and taking the time to understand its needs, Cygnus crafted the outputs of these sessions to create a whole new set of OU B2B Expression Guidelines on which to base subsequent outputs for the institution. Following on from the Expression Guidelines, a ‘values statement’ for the guidelines themselves was crafted in order to underpin the importance of a consistent delivery of a united OU brand to the outside world. A refined logo marque and additional key assets were created in order to roll-out the key deliverables for the project, providing the OU with the tools to display a consistent marketing presence. The guidelines included a variety of useful assets, which were created with a mind to fulfil the needs of the organisation, but also future-proof the brand so that it could evolve and adapt as necessary. As a result, illustration and iconography development work was undertaken in addition to the creation of a photography library and image styling guidelines. Subsequent to the production of the OU B2B Expression Guidelines, the output of works spanned across numerous outputs, such as:

- Brochures

- Leaflets and marketing collateral

- Campaign advertisements

- Modular eDM templates

- Website templates

- Exhibition stand graphics

- Animations

Following on from this, additional collaborative work between the Cygnus team and the OU continued. The B2B brand evolved into campaigns, exhibition and digital publications, having established a clear identity with which to present itself to a targeted audience. Everything from direct mail, including postcards and email campaigns, right through to interactive presentations began to deliver the OU B2B message with a visual impact and consistency.

The result

Perhaps the most impressive thing about this project is the longevity that the foundational work carried out on the B2B expression has delivered. Not only have the branding and associated assets been utilised by the OU for a number of years now, but they continue to be used today, most recently this has been borne out in the form of a social media campaign. As part of National Apprenticeships Week and the 50th Birthday Celebrations of the OU, Cygnus produced a series of animations, highlighting the institution’s achievements and commitment to supporting apprenticeships. All of this demonstrates the value in collaborative working, something that Cygnus is keen to maintain with all of its partners. “We’re passionate to partner with brands of all shapes and sizes. Building strong relationships with stakeholders and business owners ensures that we are able to understand and empathise with their needs and ultimately deliver the most appropriate solutions, leading to measurable success,” says Managing Director Martin Carmody.


Does your brand need a fresh pair of eyes to ensure it stands the test of time? No matter how big or small you think the project or campaign might be, get in touch now to see how the team at Cygnus can add value to your marketing objectives. 01908 067999.