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Henley Business School: Creating a brand with cut-through

The amount of comments and compliments from friends, peers, family and colleagues has been incredible. The VC said that this is the proudest he has been of his brand, seeing it in lights at Reading Station topped it all. Thanks for all your work.

Julia Massey

Director of Marketing & Sales

The Start

Henley Business School’s vision was to be ‘the most interesting business school in the world’. It was Hunterlodge’s job to develop their brand in a way that married this vision with their brand goals and objectives.

We wanted to give people clarity and certainty about Henley Business School – to enable them to say: ‘We know who you are, and what you stand for’. We needed Henley to be able to articulate what they do, how they do it and why they do it. It was then our job to take this information and evolve the Henley brand, giving them a personality, attitude and voice that was exciting and, of course, interesting.

The Middle

We drew creative inspiration from Henley’s rich history and founding principles. After World War 2, Henley was set up as one of the first business schools in the country – bringing together executives from the civil service, private business and the church, to develop their skills and prepare them for business. Henley was more than a dry, academic experience – it was practical and community-focused. This brought us to the brand ethos (which later became the tagline too):



We pulled it apart and tested it, drawing it back to the brand vision and goals, to ensure that it was flexible enough and properly articulated everything that Henley wanted to be. It worked, and it gave us a platform from which to offer interesting opinions and have a voice.


The End

We delivered this new brand through a phased approach, starting internally with a series of workshops, to help with departmental buy-in and ensure the change was embraced. We developed a set of brand guidelines and updated all core collateral – everything from brochures and event materials to emails and the website.

To launch the new brand, we seeded our content through social and native advertising channels, developing different themes and adapting these for each audience. Finally, we launched a provocative out-of-home brand campaign, along with specific below-the-line programme campaigns, to reach Executive Education and Postgraduate audiences.


The Results

Because of the nature of our advertising being OOH with no built-in CTA’s – any increase in new organic visitors to the website was a significant measure for growth in brand awareness. Not only have they chosen to interact with Henley but had done so without being prompted by Henley directly.  During the two core weeks of the campaign, new organic users increased by 28.8% compared against the same period in 2018. Visits to the Henley website also increased overall by 32.3% against the same time last year.


At the same time content engagement on Henley’s website improved visibly:

Session duration up 5% YoY, reaching well beyond 5 mins for organic

Time on page up 2.2% YoY overall, but up 7.7% YoY for organic

Social media provided us with the perfect, transparent platform for discussion, feedback and debate on our campaign and its messaging. With a provocative campaign like this, comments were expected however the levels were disproportionate to the budget spent and feedback came from everywhere including potential students, curious commuters, journalists, advertising professionals, students, faculty and alumni. This clearly demonstrated the unique quality of OOH to capture, retain and provoke the attention of younger audiences and broader ones too.

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