The Open University

Understanding their needs

We were asked to advise The Open University (OU) on communicating its track record for innovation in distance learning to a variety of audiences inside and outside the University. Emma Thwaites was embedded in the OU’s central Communications Unit and carried out a series of depth interviews with the University’s senior team and several workshops.

Unravelling their complexity

We developed and delivered a university-wide communications strategy focused on promoting OU innovation. We used workshops to create a single set of clear key messages for deployment across a range of media and other communications channels.

Thwaites Communications gets strategic communications with a vengeance. Its contribution to the OU and FutureLearn has been significant, supporting me and my team cut through organizational complexity and deliver a ground-breaking communication plan that credibly and compellingly conveys our track record for innovation.

Lucian Hudson, Director of Communications,
Open University

Captivating their audience

We developed a programme of speaking engagements and events to promote the OU’s innovative research and scholarship with key audiences. We facilitated the successful launch of OUAnywhere (the University’s courses accessible entirely via tablet devices) and FutureLearn Limited, the first UK-led platform for Massive Open Online Courses, created by the OU. The announcement of FutureLearn was covered by more than 100 news outlets.

Our innovative communications strategy has been deployed across the University’s departments and the messaging we developed is used as standard in the OU’s internal and external communications. We were retained by the OU in three successive years.