Hart Learning Group

The client

The Hart Learning Group (HLG) is an education group which supports over 10,000 students a year though: North Hertfordshire College, a large general further education college (which has a substantial higher education offer delivered in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire); a multi-academy schools trust based in Stevenage; and, an award-winning apprenticeship / commercial training business which works with clients including Transport for London, the Co-Op and Lloyds Bank nationally.

Project overview

Our initial engagement was a complete rebrand through which the constituent businesses within the group were brought together for the first time under a single brand and strategy; that engagement also included substantial support for the launch of a discrete new commercial business, Hart L&D.  Since then we have continued to work with HLG to help them impactfully deploy their brand, conceive of and execute inventive campaigns and evolve their market position.  Over the course of that engagement we have:

  • Undertaken detailed research into the Group’s markets, customers (students, businesses and local community stakeholders) and competitors. This has included substantial engagement with staff, students and parents.

  • Defined a new overarching brand for the group including new creative, strategic narrative and client propositions. This included very substantial work on both original creative and the many treatments required to support its consistent deployment in a large, multi-faceted and student-facing institution.

  • Created the brand, proposition and distinctive social marketing style for a new commercial business, Hart L&D – for which we won a prestigious TES FE Award. This included substantial work on a client proposition that would enable the business to have a break-out impact in a busy apprenticeship market.

  • Built core collateral including a high-functionality website which supported e.g. student expressions of interest and applications. Having built the website and social media channels we provided the marketing team with comprehensive, savvy training on e.g. content management, search engine optimisation and geotargeting.

  • Developed a series of focussed campaigns which e.g. boosted student applications to the college, expanding geographic reach and market share; persuaded students of the importance of maths and English provision; and, took the Hart L&D proposition to a national client audience.

  • Extended the impact of the overall brand, business unit identities and campaigns through the inventive use of illustration, film and photography. For example, our comic strip on why businesses should engage with apprentices generated substantial client interest.

  • Worked with HLG and Airbus Defence and Space to brand their pioneering joint venture, The Airbus Foundation Discovery Space - a leading-edge, science-focussed visitor centre and online platform to engage young people. We created the brand, web presence and centre exhibits for the centre - opened by Tim Peake in Feb 2017.

  • Advised and challenged the CEO and his team on the deployment and evolution of the brand over a three-year period, alongside and supporting their transformation of the Group’s performance and reputation. 


Our work delivered measurable impact including:

  • a 17% single-year increase in student applications;
  • increased student engagement with maths and English provision, supporting a 10% single-year improvement in attainment rates;
  • the acquisition of major national commercial clients including Co-Op, Lloyds Bank, supporting an 80% three-year increase in commercial revenues;
  • and, national media impact and market positioning for the Group.