Solent cluster feature

The Solent Cluster

Delivering a comprehensive brand communications strategy and widespread support Brand / Digital / Digital Development / PR


A once in a generation opportunity to reduce CO₂ emissions

Bringing together more than 50 partners, the Solent Cluster is a major decarbonisation initiative that will accelerate the production of sustainable energy and fuels, and substantially reduce CO₂ emissions across the Solent and Southern England.

The project is supported by a cross-sector collaboration of international, national and regional businesses, local government and leading academic institutions. Collectively, they bring decades of proven expertise in hydrogen, carbon capture and sustainable fuel technology. The cluster’s ambitions also extend to producing low-carbon energy to heat homes, businesses and public buildings, and creating new job opportunities across the region in the industries of tomorrow.

These efforts will position the Solent at the centre of the low-carbon economy and make a major impact on the country’s Net Zero ambitions. With the opportunity to store up to 10 million tonnes of CO₂ every year the Solent Cluster is also poised to deliver one of the largest contributions to Net Zero of any UK cluster.


Delivering a comprehensive brand and communications strategy

The MTM Agency was brought on board at the project’s inception to develop and deliver a comprehensive brand and communications strategy that would build widespread support across the region and beyond for this unique and ambitious project.

We were tasked with managing a broad range of deliverables to ensure the project maximised its impact from day one, developing a full suite of brand and communication assets that included digital, film, events, PR, and an extensive public affairs programme.


Define and deliver an effective brand strategy

Discovery and key insight gathering

Our challenge was to define and deliver an effective brand strategy that would communicate the project’s vision, key benefits and USPs to a broad audience encompassing several sectors and stakeholder groups. After discussions to understand the aspirations and objectives for the project with its owners, we undertook a deep dive discovery phase to gather the insights that would inform the cluster’s positioning and brand development.

Our research included an appraisal of existing clusters, looking in detail at their configuration, approach, partnerships, and the communication tools they had in place to inform and inspire various audiences. We researched the pillars of sustainable fuel production and carbon capture and storage (CCS) and considered the key applications, sectors and markets. It was also fundamental to understand government policy and the Net Zero strategy to inform our public affairs programme. Using the insights gathered, we defined the brand vision, values, key narrative and USPs for the cluster, along with the tone of voice, personality and visual cues that would create the brand fundamentals.

Running alongside the discovery phase, we performed detailed stakeholder mapping. The insights we gained helped us establish the most appropriate channels by audience and served as the foundation to track and plan our communications. As a result, we developed a multi-channel engagement programme, building widespread support across all stakeholder groups through compelling messages that encourage an emotional connection to the project, generate ongoing interest and garner support for the initiative.

Bringing the vision to life

To support the project’s key objectives, the brand definition process needed to maintain a singular focus on its audiences and stakeholders, considering the needs of each segment and how the brand could communicate most effectively. Our aim was to educate and build trust around the cluster’s vision, structure and capabilities.

Solent Cluster Phones v2 2


We needed to act quickly to create a central, online focal point for the campaign in order to communicate the cluster’s ambitions while the permanent digital infrastructure for the project was being developed in the background. With this in mind, our digital team designed, built and launched an on-brand website in a matter of days, detailing key information, partners and contact details.

The initial build will soon be replaced with a flexible, scalable platform to support the cluster’s long term objectives, highlighting the brand’s unique proposition to all audiences.

Solent Cluster Slides


Our creative teams brought the brand to life, designing a range of compelling event, presentation and literature assets to support the launch and ongoing requirements, using the agreed visual identity and messaging to create a distinctive and consistent vision for the cluster from day one.

Solent Cluster Insta Reel Phone v2

PR and Social

The MTM PR team worked with the founding members to develop a creative media and launch event strategy, agreeing the invitees, programme, key messaging and compiling the statistics that would tell our story and demonstrate the cluster’s significant impact.

On the day of the launch, our team was joined by over 150 stakeholders for a exciting reception. Our film team was on hand to capture the celebrations, and our PR team hosted national and local media, facilitating interviews with founding members who discussed their involvement and their passion for the project.

Our social objectives included building new social pages from the ground up, with a distinct and consistent look and feel for all imagery and video, as well as the messaging to accurately portray the cluster’s goals and connect with relevant stakeholders. Ongoing the cluster’s social profiles are continuing to gain traction, with double digit month-on-month growth.

Solent Cluster Event Sequence7

Public Affairs

Using the findings of our stakeholder mapping, we developed targeted communications for political, industry, academic and community groups. Having identified the individuals and organisations that would be key to a successful launch, bespoke communications were sent, inviting them to become involved and offering more information. Stakeholder relations were delivered through the launch, working closely with committed member organisations to coordinate activity, leverage existing networks and maximise the number of organisations formally signing up to the cluster.


“For me, having worked with agencies for over 20 years, it was the speed with which MTM grasped the brief and the relative ease with which they delivered. MTM understood the need to move fast and deliver within the brief. They did not, however, compromise quality in doing so – a hard balance, which they pulled off extremely effectively. The high standard of all work, creative thought and strong planning was among the best I’ve seen.”

Stuart Neill, External Affairs Manager, UK Operations at ExxonMobil

The Results

With an initial target of signing up 15 partner organisations in time for the launch, we instead attracted 46 founding members spanning local authorities, universities, and businesses from a wide range of sectors.

Solent Cluster Event Sequence4
exceeded target number of sign up partners
pieces of coverage generated for the launch event
PR Reach