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Taking a new IBM solution to market.


ESE (Exceptional Student Experience) is about transforming the way Education establishments engage with students. The solution is powered by IBM technology and delivered with the expertise of Portal (a premier IBM Business Partner). We were engaged by Portal to help define the solution and market it to Vice Chancellors in the education sector.

Our approach

As this was a new solution from Portal, the value proposition was still to be defined. We attended several workshop sessions with Portal to help clarify the tone of voice, the proposition and the organisation of the modules. We also researched the target personas in order to establish who they were and where they went online.

The solution

The ESE solution was complex and could be delivered in modular, incremental steps or as a whole transformation strategy. We designed a branding system which made it easy to understand the modules and their relationship within the solution. As part of this we designed bespoke iconography for the each module, making them easier to understand at a glance and ensuring the brand style was carried through consistently. Presenting the solution in this way made it much easier to understand and therefore easier to sell.

ESE datasheets

To support this system; the ESE identity is made up of three segments that work together to form the whole mark. This was inspired by the three core areas of the solution: recruitment, retention and reputation.

As well as the design of the identity, the marketing collateral and website we also created the copy. This involved the distilling of a complex message into something that reflects the needs of the Vice Chancellors. We tried to avoid the trap of speaking tech babble and kept the messages concise and benefit led.


As well as winning some huge projects within Universities across the UK we're very proud that Portal was awarded the coveted IBM Beacon Award, specifically due to the success of ESE. Portal was recognised for its advanced expertise as a world-class strategic solution provider.

"We commissioned CLD to help position our new ESE solution to the education sector. They created a fantastic new brand and all the supporting collateral but more importantly they also helped define the solution with us. They were a joy to work with on this project, we continue to work with them on other similar projects and look forward to sharing more successes with them.

Marketing Manager – Portal

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