Communication and Public Relations
Three Things To Do Right Now:
- Weekly conferences - telephone or face-to-face software
Other Things To Do Soon:
- Name project
- Logo for project
Clarify and plan
All schools involved need clarification as to what this project entails and what the project goals are. A short video, say five minutes, would give everyone a very good understanding of the whole project. It would begin with the call-out from NASA for projects and end with the current state of the project and what needs to be done next. This video could be used as a public relations tool also, since it will contain overview information at a laymen level. This video need not be very technical, in fact a camcorder is recommended. The important thing is that everyone understand the challenge set before them...something that has not been accomplished so far, even here at UT. This step will also help groups commit to a timeline.
Each of the reports from UT and the other universities need to follow a standardized layout. Some very good reports, some utterly horrible reports, and lot of reports inbetween have been seen throughout the years. Reports with spelling and grammatical errors are unacceptable in the professional world and therefore should not be tolerated here. Tables should be readable and aesthetical; drawings should be done using a CAD program; and text should all be in the same, single-spaced font.
A logo and a name
A logo for the project will be an identifying symbol that can be used in many ways. T-shirts with the logo and project name could be sold to all the schools involved. Any profits would be used toward presentation materials or PR efforts. Stickers with project logos are big in the government and maybe they could here, also. Presentation materials are important if the project desires regional or national coverage. The travelling display boards are a good start.
Address and phone number
We must have an address and phone number of a contact who can answer all questions about the project. This information should be included on every single PR vehicle created. You may want to think about a homepage on the Internet.
Communicating with the public, the science community and educators
No idea is too big or too small. How about an article in the student newspaper and in the Austin Statesman? A press release to a few key news sources could get lots of interest. Austin and Texas scientists maybe able to offer their advice or resources for the project. A letter writing campaign to get NASA Select on Austin Cablevision could be accompanied by information on your project. Maybe we can have team members visit local schools and talk about the project. High school and middle schools could focus on the chemistry and physics of the project, plus it is a marketing tool for recruiting future engineers. Elementary kids would be excited about seeing the moon on TV and creating a spaceship.
A spec sheet was passed around during a group meeting and everyone was impressed, so maybe you would like to have a spec sheet made up. I would suggest that yours be much less technical than the one we saw in class so that it can be used to inform many audiences.
The cameras are a wonderful idea, especially ones that could be controlled from NASA visitor's center in Houston would really be impressive. We would have to check with NASA on copyright and ownership, but think of the excitement generated by photos of the earth as seen from the moon and photos of the moon itself. Live coverage may depend on the networks and their perceived public interest. Although returning to the moon should be newsworthy, history has shown that the public has a "been there, done it" attitude.
When this project is ready to fly, live coverage and lots of hype will be needed. Press kits that describe the history of the project and it's development need to be included in the plan. Expected results and what that could mean for the space program are obviously going to be played up. Drawings and an artist's rendition of the final spaceship should be included. The fact that this whole project is being designed by students is the spin point.
No one mentioned a budget, so I'll assume there is none. I am be willing to do work for credit or to put in my portfolio, as my schedule permits, but printing costs and supplies do cost money. You will be severely limited in what kind of exposure you can get if there are no resources available. Even being able to get paper and make copies at CSR would be a good start. A possible volunteer internship from the advertising school could bring on more help.
CSR/TSGC Team Web