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The 2018-19 Brand & Reputation charity was the incredible Graham Wylie Foundation which supports children in the North East in so many ways – from the Children’s Heart Unit to the Teenage Cancer Trust, from Music Therapy for children with special needs to supporting local schools and education projects . We donated 5% of our annual pre-tax profits last year plus Michael ran the 2018 Great North Run and hosted a special gala music night at The Sage Gateshead to boost our donations to in excess of £10,000!

Our 2019/20 charity is the North of England Children’s Cancer Research fund, whose work inspired us when we did some brand & governance consultancy for  them earlier this year …


A crazy month with stakeholder consultation programmes, brand narrative development and review reports galore.

We’re also excited to start a new project with The University of Hull looking at ways to enhance their global engagement strategy and international recruitment and to present a session entitled “How to Be World-Class for Student Engagement” at the CASE European Annual Conference (CEAC) education marcomms event at the ICC in Birmingham.

JULY 2019

A packed month of stakeholder consultations, student engagement review, MarComms capacity mapping, internationalisation review, media training and brand narrative development – and all in searing heat. Delighted to work with The University of Plymouth, engage new specialist education providers in the UK, and to start a new civic engagement project with UCL, sandwiched between client meetings in Oxford, Westminster, Hull, Exeter and Edinburgh.

We were also delighted to be announced on the shortlist for the Chartered Institute of Public RelationsOutstanding Independent Practice in its 2019 Pride North East awards. The winners will be announced at an industry dinner in December.

JUNE 2019

Our relationship with UCL, which retained its position in the World Top 10 universities the month, continues with a sixth University-wide review and positioning project in line with its ambitious 2034 strategic plan. Elsewhere in the Higher Education sector, Brand & Reputation – alongside Communications Management – has been announced as exclusive partners with IHE (Independent HE) the mission group which supports over 40 myriad independent institutions, specialist colleges and private providers in an ever-diverse higher ed marketplace.

There has also been an exciting new brand advisory piece with an independent pharmaceutical firm with international ambitions…

MAY 2019

‘Be prepared’ was the motto for May after securing an exciting brand positioning project for a unique new heritage and museum offer for the UK branch of The Scouts. Developing a new narrative to engage supporters for the first official UK museum of Scouting which would curate a collection of stories and c.250,000 objects is a fascinating challenge this summer and one that is “knot” to be taken lightly… See for yourself: 

APRIL 2019

A keynote presentation and a series of meetings in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates before Easter has led to some exciting new consultancy work in 2019 to develop market positioning strategies and brand messaging for MENA Higher Education and Innovation. A new marketing strategy project is also now underway with the University of Glasgow.

And we’re now in our third year in business. Thanks to all our clients, partners and supporters. We’re expanding horizons and capacity and loving making a difference for all our clients…

MARCH 2019

A busy month with global perspectives…

An inspiring set of meetings and a clifftop garden dinner at the University of San Diego, California was a memorable highlight from a month of conversations with clients’ stakeholders in Shanghai, Dubai, Boston, Madrid and London exploring brand positioning, finding your voice and building affinity.

A conclusion of the really fulfilling governance and brand project with the North of England Children’s Cancer Research charity and visits to the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow to discuss new challenges ensured another full diary.


As another UCL project is concluded to great acclaim, a new UCL project emerges working with the Advancement team at this world-class university in the world’s greatest city. More time working from our London base and meetings with some of the most eminent and influential research academics on earth.

In terms of partnerships, an exciting new link-up with award-winning Chicago-based creative agency Lipman Hearne, which specialises in working with not-for-profit organisations across the US, Canada and around the world, is set to further enhance our international profile and client base in 2019.


A great start to the year with another consultation and narrative development project with UCL (this time around a new mental health strategy), the start of a programme of senior staff consultations at the University of Nottingham as part of the next phase of our ‘StudentsFirst’ work in partnership with Communications Management, and preparing a final report on the brand and governance consultations for NECCR.

New business planning has also lead to some exciting conversations with the NHS, University of Manchester and Costa coffee at the start of what promised to be an exciting year. Meanwhile, Michael’s advisory work with the House of Lords continues this month too, alongside non-exec support for charities CASE and Tees Valley Arts.


As we reach the end of a fantastic year, December has been yet another month of working with just the most inspirational clients.

Capturing the brand story of UCL and its incredible research and education impact across the Health field has been a brilliant project to deliver ahead of the festive break. Look out for the story emerging early next year…

And closer to home, in more ways than one, a programme of stakeholder consultations & brand development with The North of England Children’s Cancer Research charity and its partners: Newcastle NHS and Newcastle University – has been a timely reminder of the incredible work of clinicians, researchers and fundraisers – and the incomprehensible bravery of children with cancer and their families – as we all look ahead to a joyous Christmas with our own families.


N is for November – and for Nottingham – with the start of a major student engagement project for The University of Nottingham and a business assurance and review programme of Nottingham Trent University‘s marketing and communications operations – both delivered in partnership with Communications Management.

At the start of the month Michael worked as part of a Halpin team to complete an exciting messaging and ‘case for support’ project for an ambitious fundraising campaign for Cancer Research UK, The Christie NHS Trust, and The University of Manchester. 

Client meetings and trustee commitments this month include travel to Brussels, Washington DC, London, Bristol and Swansea.


We were delighted to complete an intensive project of stakeholder interviews, brand review and campaign messaging development with a new NHS client and its charity and university partners in this, the NHS’ 70th anniversary year. Inspiring work by clinicians and care professionals which is having a profound impact on patient outcomes…


Well that was a BUSY summer!

The arrival of the unprecedented spell of warm weather brought with it a flurry of diverse short projects for new clients including The University of Manchester, Aluminati and The Courtauld Institute of Art – and as a partner associate for consultancy projects with Nottingham Trent and London South Bank universities (with Communications Management) and Swansea University and The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) (with Halpin).

From designing and leading a MarComms management workshop to a comprehensive brand audit and competitor review to developing a new campaign narrative and case for support for a multi-million pound capital development vision, the Brand & Reputation service has been in high-demand and has clocked up the miles with work in Manchester, Newmarket, London, Surrey, Nottingham, Swansea, Edinburgh and New York.

Marianne Webb, Head of Marketing and Communications (Humanities) at the University of Manchester offered some great feedback:

The workshop day you delivered was exactly what we needed. The challenges and the way you made us think about things helped to break this down into manageable workloads for the team so they could see more clearly what they need to do. It really worked in terms of continuing that journey towards a different way of working. We now have clear actions and people have committed to them.”


Brand & Reputation was proud to be the inaugural sponsor of the ‘Emerging Marketing & Communications Professional Award’ at the 2018 CASE Europe Awards.

The winner, announced at CASE’s Annual European Conference (#CEAC18) attended by over 1,000 delegates at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre is Liam Ross, Digital Engagement Officer at Loughborough University, UK

Read Liam’s thoughts on building brand on social media here

JUNE 2018

The diversification away from education continues with a fascinating employer brand project with Deutsche Bank and a bit of a googly with some personal brand review and development work with former England cricketer Ryan Sidebottom. (Update: look out for Ryan appearing on ITV’s Dancing on Ice 2019!)

MAY 2018

As seen on TV…

Brand & Reputation CEO Michael featured on ITV regional news ahead of his appearance as part of an expert panel at a leadership lecture and Q&A event at the University of Sunderland to explore the development of a cultural brand for the city on the back of its bid to be the UK City of Culture for 2021.


Two big projects were completed this Spring with positive feedback forthcoming from both clients. Nothing makes us happier than satisfied clients!

Michael held a complex, global, interim leadership role in the CASE London office and was a total joy to work with.  He has a rare combination of deep gravitas, high emotional intelligence and great strategic insight with the intellectual agility to rapidly diagnose the problem and then practical leadership skills to develop and deliver cost-effective solutions.  He energises teams with great clarity, humanity, warmth and humour.”  Tricia King, Vice-President (Global Engagement), CASE

Brand & Reputation brought a clarity to a complex stakeholder challenge, drawing on Michael’s considerable, diverse experience to achieve a perfect balance of keeping the project moving but understanding the competing priorities of UCL to become an effective extra member of my leadership team.Collette Lux, Executive Director (Communications and Marketing), UCL