How a global management school developed a modern and relevant creative identity to differentiate themselves within the international business school sector

How a global management school developed a modern and relevant creative identity to differentiate themselves within the international business school sector

Getting to grips with the impact of their brand on target audiences, ISM brought their creative identity up to date with a new, modern and relevant creative identity to differentiate themselves within the competitive global business school sector.

With branding that felt disjointed and disconnected from the Business School’s ambitions and target audience, ISM turned to their trusted, long-term partner, Net Natives. The two worked closely together, exploring and delving deep to understand the School’s brand completely.

Net Natives focused on broad stakeholder engagement – surveys, interviews and focus groups with students, staff and alumni – as well as digital techniques such as competitor analysis and social listening. Understanding these perceptions and the relationship that this broad cross-section had with the ISM brand enabled the development of exciting and truthful creative concepts. It was an essential requirement that the new brand would be accepted by those most familiar with the school, as well as with ISM’s target audience. And of course, set them apart from the crowd.

A new, modern and relevant identity

From this rich pool of feedback, Net Natives created a single-minded proposition for the School which formed the basis for a full-scale rebrand – a new logo, branding, tone of voice, imagery and a range of key marketing assets, marking a huge milestone for the ISM brand. With all the assets to run a full-funnel marketing campaign, the rebrand gave ISM a new identity that would give them that all-important cut-through in the global market.


The rebrand has since been rolled out across all their channels from digital advertising, to their website, brochures, stationery, signage and beyond.

Informed by their research, Net Natives also produced a film for ISM to raise brand awareness and increase search visibility. It tells the story of one of the School’s most influential students and how his degree program allowed him to realise his entrepreneurial ambitions while travelling the world. From this one film, a wealth of content was created to drive industry-relevant links back to ISM’s website.

ISM // What It Takes (Social Edit) from Net Natives on Vimeo.

Setting the creative identity in motion

To set ISM’s new creative identity in motion and start raising awareness of the new brand amongst the School’s competitive target markets, a strategic and creative advertising campaign was launched. With campaigns built and delivered with maximum ROI in mind at all stages of the recruitment funnel.

As part of the awareness stage, campaigns were built using YouTube’s skippable adverts along with programmatic display to utilise the creative video and ensure the ads were appearing across appropriate and relevant websites – slotting into the lives of ISM’s passive audiences who might not have been aware of the Business School before. With the advantage of having such a robust and cut-through piece of content, experimenting across different ad formats and continually reviewing and refining the creative, the campaigns completely exceeded expectations and industry benchmarks.


And the results?

– The YouTube skippable video adverts performed positively and exceeded benchmarks, with 40% of ISM’s audience watching the video to the full 100%

– The Programmatic video campaign also exceeded industry benchmarks, achieving a 72% view rate and over 100,000 views to 100%

To encourage ISM’s audience to engage with them at a deeper level and gain quality leads for the Business School, Net Natives ran targeted campaigns across Facebook and LinkedIn to re-engage with the target audience and inform them of the School’s different program options.

“The partnership between ISM and Net Natives has been such a pleasurable learning experience. Net Natives has done a stellar job with the re-branding. They spent a lot of time getting to know the school and our unique offering, and as a result, have been able to identify ISM’s core values and communicate them in a clean, professional, and impactful way. Both the design and copy are both reflective of the image ISM wants to project. I would not hesitate to recommend them to another institution like ISM.”

– Alison Knight, General Director at ISM