Entrepreneurship | Branding | Platform design and Development | Workshops 

Building a brand, marketing strategy, and platform for OSE: An organisation on a mission to identify and support “hidden changemakers”, students with a desire to use their lived experience to make an impact through social entrepreneurship.

Social startups

Programme participants

Newsletter subscriptions

Expert mentors from Oxford

Fully functional OSE platform

Challenge: Creating a digital hub for a social entrepreneurs programme

I’m involved in OSE in a number of ways, but I’ll focus in this case study on the work I did building the OSE platform. Together with the committee, we are piloting a new programme in Oxford, backed by the Skoll Centre, supporting aspiring social entrepreneurs. The programme provides a curriculum, resource guidance, mentorship, network, and funding – all online. With an ambition to continue running the programme annually, also in other Universities, we wanted to create our own ‘hub’ where everything could be found in one place.

Solution: Planning, designing, and building a fully functional online hub

The programme has ran successfully for 1 year now – supporting 16 promising social start-ups and over 41 members. We have also attracted a number of partners, an expert advisory board, mentors for all teams, and completed the first full curriculum. All has been done on the OSE platform that I planned and developed. Members, mentors, speakers, and committee members all have their own login to access our platform.

User research and venture strategy

Once we had identified the vision and objective of the programme, the following challenge was to discover how to make it accessible. The first question I start with in any project comes from the design-thinking realm – who are we working with? What do they value? How can we connect with them? First and foremost, we had to bring awareness to students, recruit them, and make our offerings accessible despite Covid restrictions. However, to support them, we also had to recruit advisors, sponsors, mentors, and speakers. 

Once the stakeholder mapping was finalised, I delved into user research. Who are they? Where are they? What do they value? How can we bring it? Each group was researched using primary and secondary research, creating a detailed understanding of each group.

Finally, it was time to plan. I drew up a marketing and recruitment plan for each of the stakeholder groups. The plan went beyond the platform, but was the foundation for planning and designing it. With an articulated understanding, the plan for the platform was built with their needs and our desired goals for the interaction in mind. The following screenshot displays some blurred images of only some of our mapping. I’ve used a number of tools from UX and design-thinking to do this, and it is something I’m passionate that social ventures can truly benefit deeply from adopting. From the outset – the site was built with function at heart.

Branding and visual profile

I believe that function and value should be at the core of any design project. However, visual profile does matter – they go hand in hand. I designed a logo for the organiastion, a lightbulb with leaves inside to reflect ideation and hope. Alongside, I created a wide set of brand assets, including custom-made icons and graphical representations for decks and the website. All is easily accessible by the team in an organised Google Drive, ensuring that we are crating a consistent profile. 

Designing and developing a fully functional platform

The final platform is used by all of the programme participants, the speakers, the advisors, and the committee. Each user type has their own user role so that they can access the right functionalities, making it a simple and intuitive platform to use. Everything has been done through WordPress, developing off the basis of the existing infrastructure. We’ve also ran platform testing to ensure that all functions are easy to use – providing the value we want them to give to all that uses it, ultimately with an aim to support social change by making knowledge, network, and funding easily accessible. 

Marketing and recruiting

Besides branding, marketing, and recruitment, its been a thrill to connect and advise the teams on their marketing and brand strategy. I’ve ran a marketing workshop, and meet teams regularly to talk through their business models, impact plan – and marketing. For a number of them, I’ve created websites, MVPs, and logo designs.