Oxford University Press

Freeing minds to do brilliant things


When Oxford University Press approached us, they were ready and raring to go. The HR and Communications teams had spent the past 18 months undertaking extensive internal research in order to develop the basis of an employer brand strategy that would reflect their status as the world’s largest university publisher.

But they knew help would be needed to bring these learnings to life - and that's where we came in.

Alongside a small selection of other agencies, we were invited to present ideas on how we might take forward these insights and develop a clear and compelling employee value proposition and wider employer brand for the organisation.

Suffice to say, they loved our thinking - and the baton was passed for us to do our thing.

Getting to the heart of OUP

Having been selected for the task, we set about absorbing all the qual and quant research OUP had built up across various studies. We also convened workshops and conducted inteviews with senior leadership to help us get to the heart of these insights quickly.

From the outset we looked to figure out what was it that OUP really offered its current and prospective employees - and which parts of that offer would really stand out.

Our working proposition centred around the idea of ‘freeing minds to do brilliant things’ as we realised that this was the core promise of OUP to its employees. The entire organisation was constructed around giving people roles and responsibilities that contribute to the publication and delivery of world class educational materials.

And it also captured what those materials ultimately provide. From school kids to university students, academics to any type of scholar, the aim of the publisher's work is to fire the imagination, stimulate the brains to think bigger thoughts – thoughts which lead to who knows where.

Making it personal

With the core thought on board we needed to find a way to deliver it in a way that would speak to someone at an individual level, and in language that wasn’t too lofty. So we settled upon a direct approach, leading with the headline of ‘Make your Mark’ - an encouragement to the individual that OUP is a place where you can truly contribute and make a difference.

To some it might be changing the face of education in Pakistan. To others it might be just turning up every day and do their job to the best of their ability. 'Make your Mark' was designed to give people room to see it and do it their way. It was reflective of the attitude of the organisation - looking for people to give their best, in whatever sense they define that, rather than having a standard corporate ambition imposed upon them.

Bringing it all to life

With the strategy and messaging defined, it was time to bring it all to life through a refreshed look and feel - one that would ultimately serve as the forerunner to a wider refresh of the customer-facing brand.

Then there was the real challenge: How to effectively deliver the brand to both current employees and potential recruits. For that task, we went deeper into the organisation - working closely with both the HR and Communications teams in order to build a new recruitment website, develop a series of recruitment ads, refresh recruitment pack templates, and pull it all together in a set of new employer brand guidelines.

As one of the few agencies to have worked on a global brand project for an organisation that has been doing its thing since 1480 (when the first book was published), it was a challenge we relished - and a piece of work we are ultimately proud of.

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Finally, we have a strong story to tell about why you should come work for OUP!

Senior Leader
Careers Team