Employer branding made by the people, for the people

Employee experience
Employer branding


The Cygnet team support people across the country who are experiencing mental health challenges. It takes skill, courage and most importantly character. The Cygnet values were led from the top and didn’t resonate with their employees or new recruits on the ground.


They needed a code to communicate why it is a special place to work. To build this code we listened to their staff and identified a set of traits that everyone would feel proud to own. The aim was to discover and articulate that character.


We used easily recognisable icons to embody the experiences of Cygnet staff the team. We wanted this concept to be democratic, more than a creative campaign by an agency, but a range of assets they could take and use to imbue their culture. The concept was to celebrate the behaviours and show how crucial the were to the Cygnet DNA.

Primary Research

We approached real staff members of Cygnet and asked them to sketch out their ‘Cygnet Hero’ and their characteristics. These would be the building blocks of the campaign.

Character Ideas

The aim of the sketches is to quickly explore different ideas so that we can filter which ones connect the most.


A night out at the awards

As the Characters of Care were shortlisted for the RAD awards in the ‘Creative idea’ category, we were asked to submit a celebration video to be played if they nabbed the top spot. Instead of sending a video of ourselves, the characters got their best gear on and scrubbed up for the event… unfortunately they didn’t clinch the title but still had a boogie and a good time.

The calendar of care

The characters have been embedded into the Cygnet culture in many ways now with staff members constantly coming up with fresh ideas on how to do so. One of these was the calendar of care, where each character was allocated to a month of the year and that behaviour could be focussed on internally.

Make them your own

They were also printed in a range of formats, including stickers & badges, meaning staff and family members can own them for themselves and have fun with it.


Staff recognition

The most amazing and heartwarming initiative that came from the characters of care implementation was the staff recognition scheme. On the Cygnet careers site, staff members can head to the site and endorse their colleagues for living the values and behaviours. Since its launch, the initiative grew very popular and continues to get hundreds of endorsements every month. This epitomises the Cygnet values and what the characters of care are all about. You can view them here:

Seasonal applications

The characters were initially introduced to the world via social media in the lead up to Christmas. Each day a new character was unveiled with it’s very own bio as well as digital and printed applications.

Employee communication

The 12 characters were also created as WhatsApp stickers so staff members could easily recognise their colleagues for living the values in a fun and personal manner. The use of the stickers has proved to be very popular with the staff and has become a big part of the culture.