Transcript of "McDonald Observatory Plansbook Fall 2009"
Kendra Gunn - Chris Kim - Project Manager Account Executive“My favorite pajamas are “I won a hot dog eatingSponge Bob Square Pants.” competition in high school.”Anita Demla - Mary Feng - Media Planner Creative Director“I am secretly a Bollywood “My pet turtles were takenPop Star.” from the UT turtle pond.”Nick Mayfield - Wes Muniz - PR Strategist PR Strategist“I was voted 2008 GQ Man “I’ve been known to haveof the Year.” a secret ninja alias... but only on the weekends.”
The development and implementation of SuperNova’s campaign Recommendationsstrategy will prevail as the most effective and resourceful SuperNova distributed the $50,000 budget to create uniqueapproach in completing the campaign objectives for the McDonald strategies for each market, as well as improved some of McDonaldObservatory. Observatory’s current efforts. Current EffortsTarget Market • Create new logo, improve current website and increaseOne of the main factors in developing our campaign was reaching online effortsout to McDonald Observatory’s key constituents. Because of the Higher Education and Researchvast amount of services and products tthe facility provides, the • Sponsor an Astronomy Conventiontarget market is divided into three different segments: The University of Texas Community • Movie nights with free McDonald Observatory t-shirts and1. The University of Texas Community YouTube contest2. The Texas School System The Texas School System3. Higher Education and Research • Book covers and astronomy projects InteractiveObjectives • New social media efforts and paid advertisingTo achieve the campaign objectives and reach the target markets,SuperNova created a new logo based on information gathered Through the strategies tailored for each target market, the McDon-from extensive primary and secondary research. The new logo ald Observatory will achieve its marketing objectives of increasedwill be used to create a cohesive brand that will encompass the brand awareness and an association with The University of Texas.University of Texas at Austin, McDonald Observatory, and the In addition, the campaign will utilize resourceful means to achieveDepartment of Astronomy, while also increasing brand more than the planned objectives, prompting the construction ofawareness for the McDonald Observatory. The logo will also instill a legendary concept and brand identity. Overall these efforts willvalues of McDonald Observatory as a high quality astronomical better position McDonald Observatory for future promotionalresearch facility. campaigns and support. 1
The SuperNova Group has set out to create a one-year $50,000 branding campaign for McDonald Observatory,creating a cohesive brand between McDonald Observatory, The University of Texas at Austin and its Departmentof Astronomy. This campaign includes increasing brand awareness in Texas and in the nation, developing anew logo that co-brands McDonald Observatory with The University of Texas at Austin and its Departmentof Astronomy, and implementing the new integrated logo to existing constituents, future donors, and othernew constituents. It will also seek to increase awareness of McDonald Observatory as a place of excellent andimportant scientific research, a major contributor to science education in Texas and around the country, anda great place to visit. Through meticulous research and strategy development, The SuperNova Group hasdeveloped an integrated communications campaign to introduce the revamped McDonald Observatory brand.
COMPANY ANALYSIS In 1926 The University of Texas was endowed with $800,000 by Texan William McDonald to build an observatory forCOMPANY ANALYSISCONSUMER ANALYSIS the study of stars and “the promotion of astronomy,” and in 1933 McDonald Observatory was established (texasescapes.com). The University of Texas at Austin has solely operated it since 1963 and the UT astronomy department currently sharesMARKET ANALYSIS personnel and resources with it. Just like the university itself, McDonald Observatory is a leader in its field as one ofPRODUCT ANALYSIS the world’s leading centers for astronomical research, teaching, and public education and outreach.COMPETITOR ANALYSIS The physical observatory is actually quite far from the doors of the University of Texas. Located approximately eightBRAND EVALUATION hours from Austin in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, McDonald Observatory enjoys the darkest night skies of any major observatory in North America. With up to 130,000 visitors each year, these skies make it one of the most visited tourism sites in Texas (mcdonaldobservatory.org/news). As far as astronomical research, McDonald’s state of the art instrumentation has given the observatory a leading edge over the years. In 1939 its 2.1-m telescope was the second largest telescope in the world, its 1969 107-inch telescope has been the second most cited telescope in astronomical literature, and in 1997 its 433-inch telescope was the second largest in the world, now currently the fourth. On top of such success, McDonald Observatory has received many prestigious awards from American and European astronomical societies, and The UT Department of Astronomy was ranked among the top five national public university astronomy departments by the National Academy of Sciences. Currently McDonald Observatory recognizes it responsibility to maintain is public role as a major astronomical observatory and PhD granting institution and continues to develop its scientific research and multi-faceted international public outreach programs. Current projects include the Dark Energy Experiment, the Giant Magellan Telescope project, and various space missions such as the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Cassini: Saturn, and Deep Impact: Comet Collision. 3
COMPANY ANALYSISCOMPANY ANALYSIS The McDonald Observatory consumers fall within four main areas of the observatory’s reach - education, research,CONSUMER ANALYSIS donors, and tourism - and in general visitors tend to hail from the Fort Davis, Dallas and Houston areas.MARKET ANALYSISPRODUCT ANALYSIS Education According the McDonald staff, the K-12 segment is McDonald Observatory’s most important secondary market. TheseCOMPETITOR ANALYSIS consumers, who hail mainly from the Austin and Fort Davis areas, are hundreds of teachers and thousands of students from both public and private schools who utilize the observatory’s educational resources in order to learn, teach, and promoteBRAND EVALUATION astronomy. The students visit for field experiences and teachers pursue professional development programs. According to the field experiences spreadsheet, most of this traffic hits in May, April, and October, but in general is heavier in the spring. The student visitors are predominately white or Hispanic and are equally split between male and female. Grade-level-wise, in the 2008-2009 season, 26% of the student visitors were between K-5th, 43% were between 6th-8th, and 32% were between 9th-12th. In addition to physical traffic, teachers, students, and regional education service centers across the state utilize McDonald resources via video conferencing ($100 for interactive and $60 for view-only) or via free materials online (mcdonaldobservatory.org/lfmo). Most of the video conferencing occurs in the spring and most of the participating schools reign from the DFW area or out of state. Astronomy Day videoconferences, in particular, in May 2006 reached over 8,000 people (over 160 classrooms), more than twice the amount of students McDonald reached in the entire 2008-2009 season. Additional consumers of McDonald’s educational programs are reached through McDonald Observatory’s media vehicles. StarDate Radio reaches over two million listeners daily in North America and Europe and its Spanish subsidiary, Universo, reaches over 250,000 listeners per day. The StarDate magazine also reaches an additional 10,000 subscribers. Research The McDonald Observatory attracts researchers and astronomers from all over to utilize the observatory’s advanced facilities and state-of-the-art technology. This includes research scientists, other universities, and astronomy students and faculty from the University of Texas. They all share a common interest and background in astronomy and tend to maintain active research efforts in virtually all areas of modern astronomy. Donors These individuals might not necessarily utilize the observatory’s resources directly, but they contribute funds to help research endeavors, either on a one time or regular basis. Most of these individuals come from the Texas Area - Austin, Dallas and Houston in particular. The Annual Membership Program (sold through the Visitors Center, StarDate Magazine, direct mail, and other resources) is one means of reaching and maintaining a relationship with these consumers. Other donors include the Texas state budget and from scientists at the observatory. Tourism Up to 130,000 people annually visit McDonald Observatory. While students and teachers make up a large portion of these visitors, the remainder is attributed to general tourists. Considering its West Texas location, McDonald Observatory is most likely to attract people who live within a reasonable distance or individuals and families who are vacationing in the area or passing through the area on vacation. Other local attractions these tourists might be visiting include places like Big Bend or Fort Davis.
COMPANY ANALYSISCOMPANY ANALYSIS The current market environment of the astronomy industry involves three important areas: telescopic competition,CONSUMER ANALYSIS monetary spending, and economic activity. Each factor affects McDonald Observatory’s current astronomy activity.MARKET ANALYSISPRODUCT ANALYSIS Telescopic Competition McDonald Observatory’s Hobby-Eberly Telescope is ranked fourth for the world’s largest optical telescope. The newly built GranCOMPETITOR ANALYSIS Telescopio Canarias on the Canary Islands of Spain ranks first, Keck telescope in Hawaii ranks second and the South African LargeBRAND EVALUATION Telescope in South Africa ranks third (nineplanets.org). While the Hobby is currently highly competitive on the international level, advances in the field will soon drop it below the top five. Hawaii was chosen in July as the site for the world’s largest telescope and a partnership of European countries plans to build an even bigger telescope, the European Extremely Large Telescope, both to be completed around 2018 (physorg.com). McDonald’s role in leading industry projects and experiments, such as the Dark Energy Experiment and the Giant Magellan Telescope, and its local support system are key to maintaining a competitive place at the international forefront of cosmic discovery. Monetary Spending Astronomy funding derives from a plethora of sources including state budgets, affiliated universities, the National Science Foundation (NSF), individual and private donors, and more. These sources, though, vary dramatically on an individual level. The American Astronomical Society has compiled information released by the NSF into a chart that shows where astronomy spending stands on a national level. The chart shows the percentage of dollars spent on three major scientific fields, physical science, physics, and astronomy, with respect to the United States’ GDP (blog.aas.org). Clearly astronomy does not reign within the science industry, but, in comparison to physics and physical science, the spending has remained fairly consistent over the years, even during our recent recession, emphasizing a continuous need for astronomical studies. Economic Activity The U.S. economy has been in a recession since December 2007. Though it caused major damage on a national level, mainly due to the housing downturn and job loss, the outlook for research funding, especially in Texas, has been much more positive. First off, funding for research and development (R&D) actually increased during 2009, despite the drop in overall growth percent- ages. According to the Battelle Memorial Institute and R&D Magazine, who compiles the annual R&D report, funding for R&D in the U.S. was increased to $383 billion during the fiscal year that ended in March of 2009 (allbusiness.com). The U.S. stimulus package helped aid this boost. Secondly, the recession hit Texas much later than it did the other 49 states. The Texas economy did not feel affects until early 2009 and as of now, according to top government economists, the recession officially ended at the start of the 2009 4th quarter. The shorter recession period will allow the state an easier sail to recovery (theglobeandmail.com). 5
COMPANY ANALYSISCOMPANY ANALYSIS The McDonald Observatory provides 3 different services to the public: Research facilities, educational programs, andCONSUMER ANALYSIS tourist attractions. Each service provides for and interests different target markets.MARKET ANALYSIS Research FacilitiesPRODUCT ANALYSIS McDonald Observatory is a well-established research unit of the University of Texas at Austin that attracts faculty members,COMPETITOR ANALYSIS research scientists, university students, and others with an academic interest and background in astronomy. The use of McDonald’s telescopes is a very competitve process, but nonetheless, many will travel to Fort Davis to develop their research projects.BRAND EVALUATION The McDonald Observatory offers a wide range of powerful telescopes and electronic instruments to astronomers and researchers, including both small large telescopes. There are also guest telescopes that other organizations have placed at the Observatory complex. McDonald’s three largest telescopes at the complex are: • Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) • Harlan J. Smith Telescope • Otto Struve Telescope Education & Outreach The McDonald Observatory is also a place that educates teachers and students and stimulates awareness and excitement towards general science and the field of astronomy. Public astronomy education and outreach is promoted through programs such as extensive teacher workshops, video classroom capabilities, lesson plans special programs for school groups and more The following tools are used to inspire teachers and students to love astronomy: • Innovative science curricula • Online Resources • Distance-learning programs • Student field experiences • Radio programs • Professional development workshops for teachers Other outreach programs operated by McDonald Observatory include StarDate and Universo (international public radio programs), StarDate magazine, web sites such as StarDate Online, and a free monthly email newsletter called SkyTips. Tourist Attractions There are a variety of public activities offered by the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center and the Visitors Center Public Observatory: Daily Tours - Free, 90 minute tours that look at both the large research telescopes and the operations of the observatory Solar Viewing Program - Live viewing of the Sun from a multimedia theater to see sunspots, flares, prominences, and more Star Parties – Held every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday evening; view a tour of the constellations, the moon, planets, stars, galaxies, and other objects through McDonald’s large telescopes Twilight Program - An engaging, 60-70 minute learning experience before each Star Party that discusses which planets are and are not curcurrently visible, and, in general, where to find planets in the nighttime sky Lunar Viewing Program - New program focusing on the Moon that includes telescope observing, staff presentations and guided activities. Typical observing targets include large craters, mountain ranges, other geological formations and Apollo landing sites Sources: mcdonaldobservatory.org/research, mcdonaldobservatory.org/support, mcdonaldobservatory.org/visitors
COMPANY ANALYSISCOMPANY ANALYSIS McDonald Observatory’s direct competitors are top-of-mind astronomy industry giants who are very accessible within the UnitedCONSUMER ANALYSIS States or online, remain cutting-edge in research and facilities, have large support and funding systems and high traffic, and offer educational programs to the public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he indirect competition includes any local Texas educational institutions and museums that publicly offer convenient, accessible space or science related activities. They especially attract McDonald’s prime educational K-12 market. Examples include the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Austin Children’s Museum. Dallas, Houston, and Austin facilities are especially big threats since their accessibility and prime locations can easily attract a large number of visitors. ?5&12#%,@"972%&%&" !"#$%&" D$&,C5E$%$82* A$*$,>7$#2, (")*%"+,-. /(&8;,<1$5,$B$122**,5)2,%",%;2,AC>C,$**"#&$%&" @2%21 /D"12,#"E2&2%,-2:$*,6"#$%&",4"1,*#;""6,4&265,%1&7* /0$1&2%3,"4,25)#$%&"$6,71"81$9*,$5,2:;&<&%*,%;$%,#"#21,9"12,%;$,=)*%,*%$1* />%)52%*,$12,$<62,%",*%$3,%;2,&8;% !"#$%&()*+%&%&,-&$."$/ 7
COMPANY ANALYSISCOMPANY ANALYSIS Current Advertising and PromotionCONSUMER ANALYSIS McDonald Observatory’s advertising and promotion mainly consists of public relations efforts. It sends out dozens of newsMARKET ANALYSIS releases to major national media, daily and weekly Texas newspapers, and to local West Texas Media via external and internal listserves, and informs meteorologists of current astronomy events via StarDate Media. It also keeps an updated news websitePRODUCT ANALYSIS with images and media clips. Other online efforts include an updated Facebook fan page, a less updated Twitter page, and theCOMPETITOR ANALYSIS free Skytips email newsletter. McDonald has made several attempts to increase its presence in the advanced educational and astronomy realm as well: hosting film crews for spots in science documentaries, implementing an astronomer speaker series atBRAND EVALUATION museums and universities to promote the 2009 International Year of Astronomy, organizing video conferences with Texas schools for Astronomy Day, and holding trade show booths or press conferences at American Astronomical Society meetings. Other various advertising and promotional efforts include McDonald Observatory mentions on StarDate Radio programs, StarDate magazine subscriptions, and brochures in travel centers around the state. Website The McDonald Observatory website is a portal of information for potential researchers, students, school administrators and the general public to get a better understanding of the observatory. The homepage is quite dull with basic font and a color mix of blues, tan, white, and black. There is no great predominance of the logo, the McDonald Observatory name, or The University of Texas association. The page is filled with pictures, news, and a stargazing tip placed at the very bottom. While the overall site covers practically any information related to McDonald Observatory, there is a redundancy of topics due multiple repeating and overlapping links and tabs, such as “support,” “friends of McDonald,” and “student programs.” The website appears fairly simple to navigate, but the usability can be very confusing. For example, when one clicks on “Astronomy at McDonald Observatory” under the “Research” tab, he or she ends up at the official University of Texas Department of Astronomy website. This is confusing (a) since there was no obvious transition to the astronomy department website and (b) since people may be unaware of McDonald Observatory’s association with the University of Texas at Austin. Then, once on the department website, it almost seems as though it is a second McDonald website. The information and links transition between the department’s website and McDonald’s website, but the only actual link back to the McDonald Observatory homepage is located on an entirely separate tab labeled “public site.”
LogoMcDonald Observatory’s current logo consists of a curvy line that represents the high hills that McDonald’s three observatories siton. There are three small shapes, representing the observatories themselves, as well as a star that sits high above the hills. It is abasic design with one color (sometimes navy, black, or white), a good combination for a logo, but potential for improvement exists.While the image is simple enough in terms of capturing the essence of McDonald Observatory, many people are unaware of whatan actual observatory looks like or, more specifically, what McDonald Observatory looks like. This has caused somequestion regarding the logo’s meaning.Currently the logo is often paired with the copy “McDonald Observatory” and “The University of Texas at Austin,” but its presencein McDonald Observatory material is often minuscule and its wording layout often varies. Specific examples ofinconsistencies are below. Top left corner of the McDonald’s home page: Bottom left corner of StarDate Online: Bottom left corner of the Dark Energy site: A tab on The UT Astronomy Department site: 9
SURVEYCOMPANY ANALYSIS One of the primary research strategies that SuperNova used was an 11 question online survey that included both open-endedFOCUS GROUP and multiple-choice questions. The survey was distributed mainly through Facebook and a total of 273 responses were collected. A majority of the respondents were college students living in Austin, TX, with an average age of almost 23 years old. The actual survey questions, responses, and response data can be found in the appendix section. Key conclusions from the survey are listed below: • 71% of the respondents would only be willing to drive less than 2 hours to star gaze, while only 2% would actually travel for 8 hours or more. • 89% have never visited McDonald Observatory and 66% have never even heard of it • Of the 34% who had heard of McDonald Observatory, only 1/3 knew where the observatory was located • Those who had visited the observatory were mainly traveling with family, were on vacation, or both • 77% of respondents did not know that McDonald Observatory was associated with the University of Texas • Those who knew of the UT association mainly learned of it through friends or the astronomy department (students, faculty, and classes) • Only 4% of respondents would be very likely to visit the McDonald Observatory in the future Considering that students are at the heart of the University of Texas, it is detrimental for a university subsidiary to lack awareness and support from student population, and according to the survey, McDonald Observatory lacks both of these. In general respondents seemed to be unaware of (a) McDonald Observatory’s existence and (b) its association with the University of Texas at Austin. Currently interest is very low.
SURVEYCOMPANY ANALYSIS The Supernova Group held three focus groups consisting of seven, seven, and six UT students. The sessions were eachFOCUS GROUP approximately an hour in length and explored students awareness, thoughts, and opinions of astronomy, McDonald Observatory, and potential new logo designs. The following information summarizes the conclusions developed from the three focus groups. To lead into the discussion of astronomy and McDonald, students were first asked what came to mind when they thought of (a) science (b) astronomy and (c) observatories. In regards to science, most students mentioned biology or chemistry topics, others mentioned technology or colors such as yellow, green, and royal blue, and a few mentioned research, planets, and orbits. As far as astronomy, most students referenced typical outer space concepts such as stars, constellations, the sky and planets. Telescopes were also a popular mention, including specifically the Hubble Telescope. And finally for observatories, less detail was used, mainly mentions of general astronomy, stargazing, telescopes, and big dome buildings. McDonald Observatory or a “UT observatory in West Texas” was quickly listed in the discussion. As far as actual visits to observatories, only two students had visited. One went in grade school with her family to a place near San Diego and another went on a field trip when younger (it was unknowingly to McDonald). The listing of names of known observatories among participants was almost as rare as the visits. Two participants listed McDonald Observatory and one mentioned a random observatory in California. An odd finding was that a few people were confusing science places, such as planetariums, with observatories, not sure which was which. McDonald Observatory was familiar to only a few participants, and its exact location was familiar to even less. And of these few participants who identified McDonald only one knew that McDonald was actually part of the UT system whereas the others knew that it was or was possibly associated with UT. In general the idea of visiting an observatory was not very appealing to the focus groups. The participants had no interest in stargazing unless maybe they were camping or out in the country, and they did not believe traveling more than an hour to an observatory was worth the effort. Only one person said they would travel more than ten hours. Clearly the UT affiliation did not help McDonald Observatory’s position in attracting university students to visit its remote Ft. Davis location. Most agreed that the UT affiliation would increase pride and perception, but that it would not change their decision about visiting because the final benefit, or the stars, was not great enough. While currently reluctant to travel the eight hours to McDonald Observatory, participants did mention a few things that might entice or interest them towards astronomy or McDonald Observatory: parties, stopping on a road trip, being with friends or family, witnessing a once in a life time unique/big event such as aliens, comets, or an eclipse, an emotional appeal to the observatory, or better education of the astronomy subject in order to practice it first hand in the field. Towards the end of the focus group the subject transitioned from general astronomy and visiting McDonald to opinions regarding the observatory’s current logo and potential new logos. Participants evaluated the logos based on their general appeal, reference to the University of Texas, and reference to astronomy. 11
The original logo was positively accepted due to its simplicity and its underlying meaning and reference to the observatory, but in general it was thought to be unmemorable. Some participants did not understand the presence of the three observatories and referenced graveyards, tombstones, and even Christmas when analyzing them.The “MCD” logo was the least favorite for all three of the focus groups. In general it lacks anymeaning or portrayal of what McDonald Observatory truly represents. Students thought itneeded a more representative image like and observatory. The “three observatories” logos did not fair too favorably with the groups either. Few understood what the observatories even were and called them names such as “trashcans,” “water bottles,” and “shellfish.” While the logo layout was supposed to represent the actual look of the three observatories sitting on the Davis Mountains, group participants just did not understand the “s-line,” or spacing. Also, there were negative attitudes toward using thelonghorn due to lack of international recognition and an overall “athletic” feel. Most importantly, though, everyone agreed thatthese logos were too cluttered and complicated, and that the look should be simpler. The final set of “shooting star” logos was the favorite among the three focus group participants, even though a multitude of opinions existedregarding edits. Some preferred the thicker lines which add depth, others thought the thinner stripes were easier on the eye,and a few thought the multiple lines were too busy. Once again there was confusion regarding the look of the observatory andthe use of the longhorn logo was rejected. While the star was preferred due to its relevance to astronomy, some thought theburnt orange color was not enough to carry over a connection with The University of Texas.Some general conclusions were drawn from the logo evaluations. First, the inclusion of a star is better than the use of thelonghorn logo. While the students agreed that the longhorn is the most recognized symbol of The University of Texas, its athleticconnotation is not appropriate for McDonald Observatory values. Secondly, many people do not know what an actual observatorylooks like. The students suggested that some sort of skinny telescope pointing at a star in the sky might help in the recognition ofa domed observatory as a telescope. Thirdly, while the use of a star is most representative of astronomy, the use of a Texas starand the burnt orange color alone is not enough to portray an association with The University of Texas. One student suggestedadding words to help. And finally, the simpler, the better - minimal lines and a simple design are best for a widely used logo.
Based on both primary and secondary research SuperNova has developed a firmbackbone to the one-year McDonald Observatory branding campaign. Theseelements include the campaign’s target markets, marketing objectives andmeasurement, the four P’s (product, price, place and promotion), and a newlogo design. The marketing recommendations are the essential foundation forthe implementation of future communication strategies.
The University of The Texas Higher Education Texas Community School System and ResearchIf McDonald Observatory is to gain Considering education is a key value The McDonald Observatory is one ofhigher association with The University and focus of McDonald Observatory the major leaders in astronomy andof Texas at Austin, it is imperative to and considering the thousands of research and to achieve credibilitytarget the UT Community. Current schools and large school districts among the industry, the observatorystudents are specifically important that are located throughout Texas, must target those directly involvedsince they are the heart of the school. McDonald Observatory has a prime in astronomy higher education andAwareness currently remains very opportunity to reach out to Texas’ research. This includes students,low, but a better a relationship can young minds. This young kindergarten professors and researchers on both aeasily be fostered through the shared through twelfth grade group, who can national and international level. Sinceconnection of being a part of the elite be targeted via schoolteachers, is still these people already have a keenUniversity of Texas system. Both alumni developing their interests and by interest in the field, they should beand students and alumni are full of reaching them at an elementary age, the easiest of the targets to reach.Longhorn pride, so any university McDonald Observatory can assist in McDonald Observatory is intricatelysubsidiary will instantly resonate building those interests in the field involved in new discoveries andpositive attitudes. These positive of astronomy. Such interests will hope- research and the observatory shouldattitudes are key in developing a fully continue through adolescence further push such image and brand.strong base and support system for and adulthood. This will better position the facilityMcDonald Observatory. in its future project participation. 15
Objectives:1. Increase brand awareness for McDonald Observatory by 75%2. Increase awareness of the relationship between the McDonald Observatory and the University of Texas by 50%3. Create a cohesive brand identity that will portray the McDonald Observatory as a high quality astronomical research facility as well as a destination for great discoveries in astronomyMeasurement:By conducting primary research before and after the campaign implementation, such as surveys or focus groups,brand awareness and attitude can be measured. Online website activity can be tracked using Google Analyticsand other measurements, such as monetary donations and visitation levels, can simply be monitored by theMcDonald Observatory records.
McDonald Observatory’s array of products, such as souvenirs, Currently McDonald Observatory distributes its product in visitors’ passes, and video conferencing, are all offered at various, numerous ways: the Internet, videoconferences, the physical typically affordable prices. The prices for visitation are neither facility, magazines, etc. The various channels are great, but Place high enough nor low enough to impact the amount of visitors, technology, especially the Internet, is the biggest, most importantPrice but the cost of traveling does. The two biggest big cost obstacles way to distribute the product. SuperNova will focus increasing for McDonald Observatory are the price of traveling to the facility the brand awareness and brand association with the University of and the concept of time equals money. Since McDonald Texas at Austin by redesigning the current website to be more user Observatory’s location cannot be changed, SuperNova will focus friendly and professional, linking with schools and universities via on lower cost ideas to attract new support such as better videoconferencing, and focusing on social media. This will enable connecting StarDate to McDonald Observatory and attracting McDonald Observatory to reach its current markets as well as general funding support and awareness via online efforts. additional Texas markets and even national or international markets. To further establish the observatory as an elite educational The McDonald Observatory provides three main services to the program, SuperNova will push and promote astronomical public: research facilities, educational programs, and tourist discoveries and StarDate media on the McDonald Observatory PromotionProduct attractions. The wide variety of offerings are sufficient enough to website and on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, satisfy each target’s needs, so adding completely new products is and YouTube. YouTube specifically will be utilized for people to currently unnecessary. It is important for McDonald observatory visualize amazing scenery and get a glimpse of the McDonald to utilize its current efforts, such as emphasizing the Dark Energy Observatory experience. After the website is redesigned, more Experiment in promotion or adjusting the website for user ease information about Dark Energy and other projects will be and attraction, to better reach its targets’ needs. Since physical available and direct links will connect the public to McDonald traffic can be very limited, the biggest and easiest product realm Observatory’s social media. To increase awareness SuperNova for McDonald Observatory to utilize would be online services. will mainly emphasize public relations efforts such as contests and events as well as some advertising in notable media. 17
Based on both secondary and primary research findings, the Supernova Group designed a new logo that encompasses the core values of McDonaldObservatory. The new look adds an overall sophistication to the McDonald brand and helps associate the brand with the University of Texas and itsDepartment of Astronomy. The burnt orange color in conjunction with “The University of Texas” and the use of the university font reiterates this association. “AtAustin” was excluded from “The University of Texas” copy so that readers would be less likely to confuse McDonald Observatory’s West Texas location with theUniversity of Texas’ Austin location.The logo is simple and clean and can easily be used with or without color. The design includes a shooting star, which represents a broad outlook of astronomyand McDonald’s offerings, and a simple dome shape,which represents the actual observatories. The simple dome shape supported by the words“McDonald Observatory” replaces any detailed observatory portrayal that might cause logo misinterpretation or clutter.
SuperNova’s communication strategies were strategically built for McDonaldObservatory’s branding objectives. Remaining within the $50,000 budget, thesestrategies emphasize online and nontraditional efforts, where word-of-mouthand buzz will be the main ingredients to spreading the McDonald Observatoryname. The following sections discuss recommendations for improvements tocurrent McDonald Observatory efforts, strategies specifically for the three dif-ferent target markets, interactive endeavors, and measurement. 19
The McDonald Observatory (MO) currently has numerous ways to reach its audiences. For example, participationin various astronomical conferences, as well as the StarDate program, reach the higher level educationaudience, while social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, target younger people. SuperNovabelieves MO can better utilize its current marketing efforts to create more brand awareness and a strongerassociation between MO and the University of Texas. General improvement suggestions regard the logo, website,social media and StarDate.
Logo Current Efforts: The logo is placed in different spots on MO material with varying color and copy styles. Problem 1: According to the primary research analysis, the current logo is not well liked.Recommendations: • Implement the new logo created by SuperNova, a simplified design that combines the star and observatory into one image. The previous logo forced the text to be minimized underneath the image, but the new, simple image allows the text to be bigger, thus making the brand more visible. Problem 2: The current logo is not prominent enough to establish a strong brand awareness or association throughout the multiple websites administered by the MO.Recommendations: • The logo needs to be bigger and more visible on all websites associated with the MO, including the StarDate Online and Dark Energy Experiment websites, Facebook, and Twitter. • Make the new logo and copy more visible on the homepage by enlarging it and placing it at the top center of the page. 21
Website Current Efforts: There are two different websites regarding the MO: one in association with the UT Department of Astronomy and one as the official McDonald Observatory site. The UT website is geared more towards academia while the official website is more for the general public. Problem 1: The two different sites are not easily distinguishable due to repetitive information and hyperlinks.Recommendations: • The “McDonald Observatory” tab on the department website should contain a summary (minimal information) about McDonald Observatory and an obvious link directly to the McDonald Observatory homepage (“public site”). • The links on the left of the page should be minimized or removed and other astron omy-specific details should be moved to the “research section” or “ hobby-eberly telescope section.” • Limit the department website to only academic, department information and criteria. • Create a “University of Texas Astronomy” tab on the MO site with summary information and a link to send the visitor to the UT Astronomy Department website. Problem 2: The official Mc Donald Observatory site is not as visually professional or organized as possible.Recommendations: • Reduce the number of links and remove repetitive links from both sites to lessen confusion and information redundancy. Potentially combine the different rows and columns into one set of links consisting of categories such as “Support,” “Visitors,” “Classroom,” “Research,” “News,” “UT Astronomy Department,” and “StarDate.” • All pages should have consistent font, font size, colors, and layout. • Enhance the site by adding background color and by eliminating text-heavy pages, thus creating more user engagement and eye appeal.
Facebook and Twitter Current Efforts: The MO maintains an active Facebook fan page that informs its followers of news and updates about the observatory as well as other astronomy news. The MO also has a Twitter page. Problem 1: There is a lack of maintenance of the sites, especially regarding active Twitter updates.Recommendations: • The MO should use Tweet Deck to manage both their Facebook and Twitter pages. Tweet Deck offers many unique features such as tracking mentions and syncing updates. • Use Tweet Deck to measure social media presence. Tweet Deck allows one to search user comments for specific terms. Each term search column will automatically update when a new status includes a specific term, such as “McDonald Observatory.” • To reduce hassle, synchronize Twitter and Facebook updates (photos, comments, etc.) via Tweet Deck, a Facebook Application, or another alternative source. Problem 2: MO is not proactive in featuring their social media and attempting to gain followers and fans.Recommendations: • Expand reach and presence by proactively following Tweeters, requesting Facebook fans, frequently updating, and posting more interactive comments. • Place visible Twitter and Facebook hyperlink icons near the top of the MO homepage to help interconnect McDonald Observatory’s interactive efforts.
StarDate Current Efforts: McDonald Observatory has created its own media entity, which provides astronomical information to its market through vehicles such as the Internet, radio, and print. As far as StarDate radio programs, the only verbal association with McDonald Observatory is a MO name mention after each program. Problem 1: MO’s media vehicles do not prominently feature the association between McDonald Observatory and The University of Texas.Recommendations: • The new logo should be added to or replace the top banner to unify all entities by the MO, and the copy should be enlarged to better display brand association. • The McDonald Observatory hyperlinks, which hide in the bottom right corner of the StarDate Online site, should also be moved to a more visible location on the top, left side of the homepage. Problem 2: StarDate Online lacks a professional look, lacks information on the homepage, and overall is not welcoming.Recommendations: • Adding brief astronomical current events or news, similar to McDonald Observatory’s homepage, will to provide more information for the StarDate Online homepage. This will capture initial engagement rather than forcing the viewer to click to see any infomation. • Links that transfer in and out of the StarDate Online and MO website, such as “StarDate Magazine” under the “Gift Shop” tab or “Friends of McDonald” should be better transitioned to ease confusion for viewer. • Reorganize general clutter from the homepage. 25
Considering that McDonald Observatory is a first rate observatory in astronomical education and research, itmust present itself as so to the astronomy industry. The higher education and research realm should already beknowledgeable of the astronomy subject and industry players, including McDonald Observatory, so theobservatory itself must focus on top of mind awareness among these consumers rather than general awareness.
Astronomy Convention Recommendation: Currently McDonald Observatory participates in the American Astronomical Society (AAS) conferences where the facility hosts a booth in the exhibit hall and astronomers give talks or poster presentations of their research. McDonald Observatory should continue sponsorship of an astronomy-related convention. In addition to this, MO should host a cocktail party for attendees. Sponsored Cocktail Party • Set up a booth or show room at the conference to provide champagne, finger foods, and refreshments for attendeesMarketing Objective(s): 1, 2 Intended Effects: While McDonald Observatory currently participates in AAS conferences, its presence blends with other astronomy-related participants and sponsors. A more engaging effort, such as the cocktail party, will make McDonald Observatory stand out and will foster positive brand attitudes among the higher education and research community. Future attendees will then look forward to McDonald Observatory’s presence at future conventions. Cost: $10,000 (conference sponsorship) 27
The McDonald Observatory lacks awareness and brand association with The University of Texas. By focusing onbuilding a better relationship with the UT community via promotional efforts, the McDonald Observatory has abetter chance for a lasting impression on the target.
Movie Week Recommendation: Sponsor movie nights at the Union Theater on the UT campus during Astronomy Week. The movies shown during Astronomy Week will have a “space” theme to them (i.e. Armageddon, Apollo 13, Star Trek, etc.). The first four days will have pre-set movie selections and the final movie will be voted for online. The final day will also include a big party featuring food and drinks. The event and voting contest will be promoted via sources such as Facebook, Twitter, and campus flyers. Flyers • Distribute 3,000 flyers around campus starting 2 weeks prior to Astronomy Week to create awareness Facebook • Create a Facebook event for promotion and for students to vote for the final movie T-Shirts • Free McDonald Observatory astronomy T-shirts will be handed out over the entire weekMarketing Objective(s): 1, 2, 3 Intended Effects: The different tactics used to advertise this event will make students and faculty around campus more aware of McDonald Observatory and its association with the University of Texas. This event will also create a favorable attitude towards the McDonald Observatory. Cost: $1,500 ($300 licensing fee per movie x 5 movies) $840 ($168 Union fee per movie screening x 5 movies) $360 (3000 flyers x $.12 per flyer for 1000+ flyers) $2,700 Total 29
Promotional T-Shirts Recommendation: College students love free t-shirts; therefore, SuperNova will create McDonald Observatory branded shirts to give out to UT students and faculty. Distribution • During Astronomy Week’s movie nights and via UT Astronomy organizations Design • Shirts with both a front and back design of two colorsMarketing Objective(s): 1, 2 Intended Effects: College students love receiving and wearing free t-shirts, thus this effort will create a positive relationship between the students and the McDonald Observatory. By distributing branded t-shirts, McDonald Observatory will not only gain recognition from the students receiving the shirt, but will get more exposure to the general public. Students will serve as walking billboards for the facility. Cost: $6,220 (2000 shirts x $3.11 per shirt) Source: Aztec Promotional Group in Austin
YouTube Contest Recommendation: Sponsor a YouTube video contest for students who will create a short video clip of 15-30 seconds creatively explaining what astronomy means to them. The winner will receive an all expenses paid trip with three of their friends to visit the McDonald Observatory as well as camp out at Big Bend National Park. Cabela’s will be one of the sponsors and they will provide all the camping equipment and other necessary items. The contest will start in January and run to the middle of February. Promotion • Advertise through social media channels as well as on the McDonald Observatory website and the UT Astronomy website • Place flyers around campusMarketing Objective(s): 1, 2, 3 Intended Effects: This YouTube video contest is intended to get students who are interested in astronomy or outdoor activities excited about astronomy, and more specifically, the McDonald Observatory. Also, by posting these videos on the McDonald Observatory’s website and Facebook page, other individuals can take joy in watching the videos. Viral marketing is the key intention. Cost: $5000 (prize allocation) 31
The following recommendations are intended to increase brand awareness to the K-12 students and teachers. TheMcDonald Observatory actively engages within this market, and SuperNova believes the McDonald Observatoryshould continue to cultivate a stronger relationship.
School Competition Recommendation: Create a statewide competition amongst schools, with three separate prizes for Elementary, Middle School, and High School, beginning September 1, 2010, and ending November 30, 2010. The competition will offer a creative way for teachers to incorporate astronomy into their science curriculum thus encouraging participation. Elementary competition • Creatively design your own “sweet” solar system to win Middle/High School • Build your own telescope • Winner based on creativity of the design and effectiveness of the telescope Prizes • $1,000 contribution to the winning school’s science department and $100 to the winning class for a party of their choice (pizza, ice cream, etc.)Marketing Objective(s): 1, 2 Intended Effects: These contests will do an outstanding job of getting the MO brand into schools statewide, while allowing students to express their creativity through astronomy. After participating in these contests, McDonald Observatory will have top of mind awareness among K-12 students and teachers. Cost: $3,300 (prizes) 33
Book Cover Campaign Recommendation: Distribute book covers to statewide schools K-12. According to discussions with teachers, entry into schools will not be difficult because many school districts will utilize any free materials donated to them. It is typically mandatory for students to cover their textbooks, so the free book covers will benefit both the students and schools. Book Covers • Will consist of the new McDonald Observatory logo and games such as crosswords, seek-and-finds, and constellation connect-the-dotsMarketing Objective(s): 1, 2 Intended Effects: Due to high frequency brand exposure, these efforts will foster high McDonald Observatory brand recall amongst students. We want students to see the MO brand on a daily basis for brand recognition and the book covers in students’ hands will surely achieve this desired effect. By the end of the year, 75% of students at the distributed schools should be able to easily recognize the MO logo and know who McDonald Observatory is. Cost: $8,000 ($100,000 copies x $.08 per book cover)
Free Video Conference Days Recommendation: Continue to provide free videoconferences on Astronomy day, but increase the “first come first serve” school policy to be more inclusive. Also, promotion for these videoconferences will be an opportune moment to introduce new logo. Targeted Schools • Include more schools that register in the Connect2Texas membership • Even though efforts will mainly be geared towards Texas schools, schools in nearby states should be considered tooMarketing Objective(s): 1, 3 Intended Effects: By providing more opportunities for schools to have free videoconferencing, the McDonald Observatory will receive more recognition amongst the market and an opportunity to introduce the new brand with the new logo. Also, efforts will kindle new relationships with schools that have not previously utilized MO’s educational resources. Cost: Free (The observatory already has the resources to host the video conferences)
Social media is increasingly becoming one of the most popular tools companies use to connect with their targetaudience. Rightfully so, this is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to increase brand awareness amongst consumers,because it requires no cost, but more so time and effort on the part of the advertiser. While McDonald Observatoryhas already taken advantage of the Facebook Fan Page, there are other interactive methods available forMcDonald Observatory to utilize. 37
LinkedInRecommendation: LinkedIn is already used by many professionals, and is an easy way to access researchers and individuals in higher education. Many companies use this website to post job positions and to also bring awareness to the company as a professional organization. Currently when an individual searches for McDonald Observatory, zero results show. Strategy: • Simply create a Company Profile Page on LinkedIn so that all individuals that are currently a part of or that are looking to become a part of the observatory can easily find the website. Target Reached: • Higher education and research Intended Effects: Easily creates a visible network amongst astronomers and astronomy enthusiasts. Cost: Free TripadvisorRecommendation: Tripadvisor is one of the best tools a traveler could use when searching for tourist spots and eats. Many travelers rely on this resource to search for the best attractions in the area. McDonald Observatory is already listed on Tripadvisor with several positive reviews, however the amount of positive reviews can increase exponentially by advertising this website at the physical observatory and on other MO websites. Strategy: • Publish the trademark Tripadvisor image on pamphlets, flyers, posters Facebook, LinkedIn, and the website • Make sure the symbol is prominently displayed in the actual observatory Target Reached: • UT Community • Texas School System Intended Effects: Increase positive reviews and subsequently increase overall positive brand image, which will eventually lure in more customers. Cost: Free
Astronomy Website AdsRecommendation: Placing advertisements in the digital world is another way to keep the McDonald Observatory fresh in the minds of its target audience. People who generally have an interest in astronomy are more likely to browse astronomy websites and will thus notice any advertised McDonald Observatory name. Strategy: Placing advertisements on the following websites: • http://astronomy.com The first website listed when the keyword “Astronomy” is placed in Google. This in-depth website is the supplement to Astronomy Magazine, a reputable resource for astronomers. The website contains news, blogs, and videos about all the latest happenings. • http://skyandtelescope.com Another popular astronomy website. This is a supplement to their magazine, Sky and Telescope, and has many followers, though not nearly as many as astronomy.com. Users can find pictures, Skyblogs, and How-Tos on this comprehensive website. Target Reached: • Higher education and research Intended Effects: Create and maintain brand awareness amongst the astronomy community. This includes awareness among astronomers, higher education researchers, and astronomy enthusiasts that are seeking more information about Astronomy. Cost: Astronomy.com: 103,000 visitors monthly (quantcast.com), estimated CPM - $1.50, appr. $155/month $465 ($155 per month x 3 months) Skyandtelescope.com: 6,600 viewers montly (quantcast.com), estimated CPM - $1.50 $120 (Approximate yearly cost) $585 Total 39
Paid SearchRecommendation: Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and Pay Per Click are all ways to increase traffic to the McDonald Observatory website. When putting in “Observatory” in Bing, McDonald Observatory comes in 19th place. On Yahoo! it comes in 4th place. Google it comes in 6th place. McDonald Observatory can increase the number of hits to their website by being a sponsored link in these search engines. In order to garner the most views, though, McDonald Observatory should outsource this aspect to a specialized company in order to get the most out of their website. Strategy: • Buy keywords on large search engine companies such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing Target Reached: • UT Community • Texas School System • Higher Education and Research Intended Effects: Increase traffic to the website, and therefore increase knowledge about observatory amongst general public. Cost: Search Engine Optimization company packages - $2000-3000 per month (seomoz.org) $12,000 41
Surveys will be the key method of measurement for the marketing objectives that involve awareness and brand identity. Surveys are general enoughSurveys to measure any strategy and can be sent to target consumers via list serves, Facebook, Twitter, etc. It is important to create email sign up sheets for promotional events in order to develop specific listservs. Post surveys should always correctly be distributed to the relevant target and they should measure the correct communication objective. For example, brand attitude surveys should be given to UT students after the movie week and awareness surveys should be given to participating book cover schools. Also, since the branding campaign involves several promotional efforts that are hard to measure, such as the t-shirts, general surveys will suffice as an alternative. Measuring physical traffic to the observatory or its events can often paint a picture for effectiveness. For example, McDonald ObservatoryTraffic should keep measure of convention attendees who frequent their set-ups or booths, YouTube participants who submitted online videos, K-12 schools and classrooms who entered the statewide competition, movie watchers, and the number of video conferencing participants. Also, it is key to keep track of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and LinkedIn friends. Note any influx of “adds” during and after promotional events. As mentioned earlier, TweetDeck is a vital resource to guide social media measurement. One other online measurement will be the increased number of monthly positive reviews posted on Tripadvisor.Analytics Google analytics is free source to measure online website traffic. McDonald Observatory should use its current traffic count as a benchmark for futureendeavors.Increasesinvisitsafterpromotionaleffortswillbeespeciallyimportant.ImportantmovementtonoteontheMcDonaldObservatory website will be interest in the “classroom” section. If efforts towards the Texas School System are to be successful, educational material downloads should increase. As far as paid advertising, the vehicle provider will provide traffic statistics, and for paid searches, the search engine optimization company will provide statistics and data. A convenient, alternative source to website analytics (for any website) is quantcast.com.
Although McDonald Observatory already has many great programs set in place, adjustments still need to be made tosuccessfully create a strong brand image. Each target market responds differently to various services offered by the McDonaldObservatory; the 2010 campaign was created with this in mind. For example, University of Texas students are drawn tofreebies. By implementing a plan to give out free t-shirts and free movie showings, the McDonald Observatory will createa positive, long lasting impression on this target.In addition to the strategies created for this campaign, Supernova Group suggests the following ideas to be considered inany future advertising efforts:Create an iPhone applicationThe iPhone application could be accessible across all markets. Conceptually, when a user points the cameraof the phone to the sky, the phone will use GPS to inform the user about the constellation above.Cost: Approximately $75,000Advertise in popular astronomy magazinesMcDonald Observatory can gain more credibility if readers see advertisements for the observatory in populartrade magazines such as Astronomy Magazine.Cost: $24,156 for 3 monthsSponsor an educational conferenceIn addition to sponsoring astronomy conferences, McDonald Observatory can reach out to their general k-12school population (mainly teachers) by setting up interactive booths or show rooms at educational conferences.Cost: $10,000Supernova Group would like to help the McDonald Observatory to continue to establish itself as one of top theobservatories in the country, and by creating a new logo design and implementing the strategies from Supernova, theMcDonald Observatory will successfully achieve all marketing objectives. 45