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A New Brand Direction At Outcomes First Group.

Aligning the vision for the UK's largest provider of specialist education.


Outcomes First Group provides an education that transforms the lives of children, young people, and adults across the UK.

Formed in 2019, the group had recently gone through a successful expansion following a merger and acquisition. As a result, it required new brand visuals and guidelines to harmonise their family of brands, providing design consistency and a blueprint for their continued growth. Competing with other agencies, A Story Called successfully secured the project for their ‘outstanding creativity and understanding of the brief’ as Jo Denye, Marketing Director from Outcomes First group, explains:

“A Story Called just got the brief. They understood us as an organisation, and the creative they came back with was a step ahead of the other design agencies that responded to the pitch. It was clear from the outset that they were going to deliver a great project for us.”

The Challenge

With multiple brands across their three divisions 50,000 employees, the absence of any brand guidelines was a challenge for the business, with many hours being spent on ad hoc designs.

This drove up costs and frustration over their ability to provide brand guardianship. Creating a set of clear brand guidelines that could be utilised and rolled out was never going to be easy. However, as a growing company, addressing their brand legacies was the number one priority. Therefore, they wanted to provide their team with clear and consistent brand guidelines and assets that wouldn’t be open to interpretation and would propel the company forward.

A Collaborative Approach

Starting in Summer 2021, A Story Called conducted qualitative research working with senior stakeholders across Outcomes First Group to understand what was happening and where they wanted to be.

“We knew that we needed to improve, but we needed to know where to start. So a Story Called undertook a brand audit looking at our existing logos, collateral, and external touchpoints. They then interviewed senior management and team leaders across the group, exploring what needed to be improved, which ultimately reinforced what we already knew. For example, we didn’t look like a family of brands; we had little brand control, the brand architecture was confusing. This meant that whilst we had strong values, this wasn’t being reflected through the branding, and it needed investment and overhaul,” explained Jo.

“We also wanted a brand analysis of our competitors, how they presented themselves and how our marketing benchmarked against theirs. This cumulated in A Story Called presenting a new brand book removing confusion overuse, providing a platform for expanding and would be gradually rolled out and applied across all collateral and marketing. It also allowed us to understand who our key audiences were, brand hierarchy, and gave previously unknown insight into brands we hadn’t realised needed a little more attention and potential new business opportunities.”

Cohesive Branding and Identity

“We rolled out the new brand book just before Christmas 2021 to our executive team at first, then gradually to others, and it’s been overwhelmingly well received,” continues Jo. “Taking a gentle approach to the roll-out and refresh, it’s providing the foundations to review our collateral and websites and an opportunity to implement cohesiveness across the brands. In addition, the new brand book empowers the rest of the company to write their communications, guiding them on how to apply the branding to their own work and predesigned templates for the team to use in collateral. Not only that, but it’s freeing up time in marketing that would otherwise be taken up with design requests and saving money reinventing the design wheel with ad-hoc requests. “The biggest outcome of working with A Story Called is that as a company, we can finally say there will be consistency and quality across all our marketing, and we have one external voice on how to talk about the group which isn’t open to interpretation.”

What's Next?

With the new branding and guidelines in place, Outcomes First Group is now positioned with A Story Called to rollout their full brand marketing strategy.

“It’s given us the foundations we need to align the branding and writing across every external touchpoint. We’ve managed to tweak and refresh much of our content since its launch before Christmas and hope to see this in the measured traffic to the new website. It’s also given us a perfect blueprint as we bring more organisations into the group.”

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