public relations

Impactful communications
with an Agile twist

University of Oxford: Heritage

University of Oxford: Heritage Academics, Humanities Division Communication Strategy

The Challenge:

University of Oxford’s heritage academics are delivering world-leading, impactful research across areas as diverse as Jewish country houses to developing technologies to examine the world’s oldest scripts.

National and international organisations including the National Trust and Tate Britain call on heritage experts at Oxford to examine and make sense of their collections, plus shape curation of future exhibitions.

Whilst the team are experts at uncovering stories from the past, they struggle to tell their own. An external report found the heritage department needed to increase visibility and accessibility of its team, improving external communications and marketing materials.

Oxford’s heritage team approached Agile PR to offer that all-important external perspective and support them to find the answers. The project scope was to:

Clarify key messages that distinguish Oxford’s heritage offer
Demonstrate how messaging could be communicated through existing channels
Provide best-practice guidance to the team on how to use communication to support partnership working.

The solution:

Rachel designed and delivered:

  • A SWOT analysis of current content and platforms for communication
  • A persona workshop to brainstorm key audiences, both internal and external
  • A communications strategy identifying objectives, internal and external audiences, messaging, strategy, implementation and evaluation.
  • Recommendations on where to house content for each audience, with appropriate calls to action throughout.


Agile PR delivered a messaging concept: “Stories Unlocked with Oxford Heritage”.

This was coupled with the recommendation that content should celebrate connections between people and they artefacts they examine: bringing together the academic, the artefact and the person from history who once owned that artefact.

Added value from the project derived from the development of three key personas the team should focus on communicating with. These detailed each persona’s preferred media, platforms and motivations for engaging with Oxford’s heritage academics.

This helped the heritage team to understand the purpose of their content and be able to pitch content more effectively to the right audiences.

“Agile PR fully lived up to its name. Rachel has helped us to craft a clear message that successfully balances core values with a lightness of touch that will enable us to apply her insights to a wide range of collaborative projects. Rachel was especially helpful in cutting through a huge swathe of diverse projects to find the core resonant stories that provide a compelling narrative hook to our internal and external audiences.”

Dr Oliver Cox, Heritage Engagement Fellow

“It’s a really exciting time for our team and I feel this piece of work is really helping to clarify our vision and shared ambition. Thank you!”

Alice Purkiss, National Trust Partnership Manager

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