The Faculty of Science (FoS) of the Charles University in Prague presented its new communication concept called SCIENTISTS in early November last year. The objective of this concept is to approach elementary and secondary school students & teachers, media, education industry experts, as well as the general public.
The ambition of the Scientists project is to attract the abovementioned target groups, present and popularise the areas of science and research the Faculty of Science is involved in, arouse young people's interest in biology and science and generate emotions. With its main communication base on www.prirodovedci.cz (Přírodovědci is a term for “scientists” in the Czech language), the new concept involves an extensive marketing campaign at Czech elementary and secondary schools.
Using attractive visuals, the Scientists concept presents the Faculty's four sections – biology, chemistry, geography and geology. Inspired by fantasy literature and movies, the visual style is rather unusual on the Czech academic scene – yet its highly professional form is appreciated by numerous marketing experts and media.
Each of the section-specific visuals features a fantasy creature whose properties are typical of the area concerned. All these creatures are observed by children-biologists who thus get familiar with the Faculty of Science's four areas of expertise. All of the graphic designs have been commented on by the Faculty's leading experts, as a result of which really observant enthusiasts will discover not only these fantasy creatures but, predominantly, a host of realistic structures, objects, natural processes and chemical formulas of substances we come across in everyday life.
In addition to interesting news and articles relevant to all of the Faculty's four areas of expertise, www.prirodovedci.cz offers a calendar of events for the aforementioned target groups, interactive educational animations, extensive galleries of images made by FoS photographers, as well as a column titled Ask the scientists through which children can send their queries regarding natural sciences to be answered by FoS experts: http://www.prirodovedci.cz/zeptejte-se-prirodovedcu.
One of the key actions the project involves is registration. In fact, there are two types of registration – one for “young scientists” and one for teachers. Each registered Scientist will receive a magnetic card with their name to provide numerous benefits, including a Scientist's diary, a 2012 Scientist's calendar, admissions to various presentations and get-togethers with Faculty experts and once-a-year free admission to the Faculty's collections and museums. The registered members will thus get a unique opportunity to get familiar with the academic environment, visit university auditoriums, take part in selected laboratory experiments, discuss exciting topics with leading FoS researchers and teachers and take part in various excursions.
The “I am a teacher” registration is an extensive order-placement system to provide elementary and secondary school teachers with access to the catalogue of the Faculty's offers. Based on a simple registration and authentication process, the teacher will receive a login for an online order placement environment in which they can select and order various items offered by the Faculty's four sections, e.g. equipment to borrow, teaching materials, and educational courses for teachers, excursions to FoS for schools, demo classes at schools, etc.
Meant to be accessible to a large number of teachers and their students, the aforesaid tools often represent the only possibility of demonstrating various processes and phenomena (performing experiments, using a microscope, etc.), because many schools simply do not have enough finance and/or premises to provide such resources. Furthermore, each registered teacher will receive “Scientists” promotional objects for their students, a Scientist’s retreat sticker to be put on their office door, T-shirts, a Scientists tear-off calendar (with one world-famous or Czech scientists for each day), as well as games and colouring books (for elementary schools)..
The Scientists project thus provides the Faculty with a unique opportunity to build a network of prospects and their teachers who can motivate their students and form their attitude to biology by means of Faculty-organised activities offered in the Scientists catalogue.
The campaign includes a 30-second 3D spot. Appreciating its high quality and professional design, the Czech Television (Czech Republic's public service broadcaster) has volunteered to air this spot free of charge in its regular programme called PORT:
In addition to the www.prirodovedci.cz website, the concept involves the use of other communication channels: Scientists Facebook: http://cs-cz.facebook.com/prirodovedci.cz Scientists YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/prirodovedci - regular publication of educational videos, time-lapse microscope footage, as well as Faculty presentation footage designed to promote the Faculty's science and research activity and attract potential students.
The pilot project of the Scientists concept was a Scientists summer city camp in August last year. Done in two runs to meet huge demand, the summer camp was supported by the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and a programme titled “IPN Support for Technical and Natural Sciences”. The response from children, parents, as well as media confirmed that FoS took the right direction in the area of communication.
To spread awareness, the campaign is supported by means of a number of attractive “Scientists” promotional objects distributed to prospects at all events the Faculty takes part in. In this connection, the Faculty of Science has developed new press and promotion materials for potential students.
And what are the results of the campaign so far? The Faculty's Public Relations Department reports 10,000 unique hits on the Scientists website, 700 registrations by young scientists and over 150 registrations by teachers within the first six weeks after the campaign launch in November 2011, a period that saw nearly 30 Faculty-organised activities based on orders placed by teachers in the Scientists catalogue. The number of users of the Scientists Facebook profile is soon going to exceed 1,100 and the number of users of the FoS Facebook is growing, too. The key goal of all the activities organised as part of this new communication concept is to collect data/e-mail addresses for a subsequent direct mailing campaign.
Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7nTvYdq9hU to watch a video about the Scientists campaign.