UTS Library

The Launch of the RiAus

Client: 

The Royal Institute of Australia

PR Company: 

Professional Public Relations

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2010 C16 - 9

Year: 

2010

Executive Summary: 

Professional Public Relations (PPR) Adelaide worked with its affiliate, Australian Public Affairs (APA), and the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) to increase public awareness of the country’s first national science hub by leveraging the events surrounding its Official Opening from October 8th-11th 2009.

Initial research showed low public knowledge of the RiAus and the potential for many diverse audiences to be targeted with its core message of “bringing science to people and people to science”.

Surrounding the official launch events, PPR liaised with media locally, nationally and internationally to increase general awareness of the institution and its imminent opening, as well as publicising public events to assist in driving attendance and raising the institution’s profile.

Publicity surrounding the Opening Night was often linked to large public events, such as Science “in” the Square, the Family Fun Day, and guest lecturers at the RiAus Science Exchange.

The Official Opening gained immense media coverage, with 35 media personnel attending the opening, 55 media placements and national broadcast coverage on Channels 10, 9 and ABC, and South Australian broadcast on Channel 7.

Situation Analysis: 

Professional Public Relations (PPR) Adelaide and its affiliate Australian Public Affairs (APA) were engaged by the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) to leverage the official opening event and publicise the RiAus as the country’s first national science hub.

Initial research showed low public knowledge of the RiAus and the potential for many diverse audiences to be targeted with their core message of “bringing science to people and people to science”. RiAus’s core message is based on the idea that science exists everywhere and can be interesting to everyone.

From the first meeting to the final event PPR ensured the diverse array of RiAus’ audience were all addressed in unique ways and every key message was effectively communicated. PPR continued to generate post-event coverage in order to continue raising the institution’s profile.

Research: 

PPR worked closely with the RiAus to understand the objectives, audience and key messages that were required for the series of public events that were incorporated into the lead up and opening of the Royal Institution of Australia. PPR also co-ordinated a full-day media training session with Professor Brown and Head of Programs, Amanda Tyndall, to assist in fostering key media communication skills.

Followed by an initial strategy meeting, PPR engaged in regular meetings with the RiAus team, and together with its affiliate, Australian Public Affairs (APA), PPR engaged the Department of Premier and Cabinet to ensure the smooth running of all activity around the government-sponsored institution.

PPR Adelaide also researched the existing media profile of the Royal Institution of Australia, its constituents and its affiliate, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, to determine the best way to manage all the elements of the campaign while keeping the key messaging suitable and consistent.

Research into the RiAus showed low public knowledge of the institution and that their core message of “bringing science to people and people to science” needed to be distributed to raise the profile of the institution. PPR also worked to raise the profile of the RiAus Inaugural Director, Professor Gavin Brown, and leveraged the unique story behind the old Adelaide Stock Exchange building being converted into the RiAus’ new Science Exchange, where they now trade in ideas and knowledge. By exploring these various elements, PPR was able to pique the interest of mainstream local and national media.

PPR and APA collated extensive media lists to address each audience, developed templates for media releases and media alerts, and also created a concise background fact sheet for media use. PPR also identified several high-profile science enthusiasts who could be requested to provide goodwill messages supporting the RiAus. In addition, PPR investigated media partnerships opportunities to support the national science hub and other science events around which PPR could disseminate information about RiAus.

Target Policies: 

Initial research showed low public knowledge of the RiAus and the potential for many diverse audiences to be targeted with their core message of “bringing science to people and people to science”.

Therefore, in the spirit of the RiAus and its aim to promote public awareness and understanding of science and to bring science to the broader community, PPR media outreach targeted broad consumer outlets intending for the average Australian to find out about the institution.

In order to raise the overall awareness of the national science hub, it was decided to target general news audiences, as well as business and tourism audiences. To achieve this PPR worked with local media, including metropolitan South Australian publications, ABC Radio, and commercial TV stations.

In addition, PPR targeted art niche reporters and magazines in order to raise awareness within the arts and culture community about the national science hub and that the RiAus would address how art and science were linked.

PPR also targeted science reporters to reach those already interested in science and to raise general awareness of the organisation.

PPR communicated with media locally, nationally and internationally to build awareness of the organisation from six weeks prior to the launch in order to assist in driving attendance and raising the institution’s profile.

Communication Strategy: 

The communication strategy was to develop and distribute media materials regarding the RiAus to general news, business and tourism media to gain awareness and increase media placement. This was to be done in the lead up to the event, during the event and after the opening.

Extensive media lists were collated and developed to address each audience. Templates, media releases and media alerts were developed, as well as a succinct fact sheet explaining the background of the RiAus.

PPR communicated with media locally, nationally and internationally to build awareness of the organisation from six weeks prior to the launch.

To further introduce the RiAus to national media PPR organised one-on-one briefings with RiAus Inaugural Director Professor Gavin Brown and key media in SA, NSW and VIC.

Proving good use of their extensive network, PPR facilitated the recording of messages of goodwill from several high profile science enthusiasts for use at the Official Opening. These included goodwill messages from: Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Premier Mike Rann, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, Chief Scientist Professor Penny Sackett, Sir Martin Rees, Professor Paul Davies and Professor Motoyuki Ono.

Implementation: 

During the Official Opening period of the event from 8th-11th October 2009, PPR and APA ensured that many elements of the launch, and in particular the use of public events, were addressed in the media, in order to continue raising the profile of the science hub.

These events included the Official Opening of the Royal Institution of Australia marked by the Duke of Kent, various art installations on display at the RiAus, the film premier of the Bragg family documentary “Driven to Diffraction”, the RiAus Family Fun Day, ‘Science “in” the Square’, Open House, Young Investigator Awards, a lecture by Mathematician Terrance Tao and a lecture called “A Brain for Life: the 21st Century Mind” by then RiGB Director, Professor Susan Greenfield.

PPR liaised with Channel 10 regarding its sponsorship of the Family Fun Day and Community Service Announcement promoting the event. The Adelaide office also crafted the copy and co–ordinated the CSA radio broadcast for Mix 102.3.

PPR Adelaide facilitated the attendance of 35 media personnel to the official opening of the RiAus, such as; AAP, the Advertiser, The Independent Weekly and TV stations 7, 9 ,10, as well as the ABC.

For the Official Opening of the RiAus, by HRH The Duke of Kent, on October 8th PPR worked to promote the story as part of national interest. As well as developing the standard required media materials for this event, PPR Adelaide worked with the PPR Media Team to develop a VNR and co-ordinated national distribution.

Following the main activity around the four-day celebrations of the Official Opening, the events PPR secured further coverage about the Young Investigator Award presented at the RiAus, and the SpiRit of Science: Maurice De Rohan Scholarships scholars. Throughout the events marking its launch, the national science hub was also publicised across various tourism and educational websites, confirming that PPR and APA had successfully communicated the invaluable role the RiAus plays in Australia and around the world.

Results: 

PPR’s media campaign for the RiAus Official Opening gained immense media coverage, with 35 media personnel attending the opening, 55 media placements and national broadcast coverage on Channels 10, 9 and ABC, and South Australian broadcast on Channel 7.

PPR facilitated the recording of messages of goodwill from several high profile science enthusiasts for use at the Official Opening in order to raise the profile of the institution. These included goodwill messages from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Premier Mike Rann, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, Chief Scientist Professor Penny Sackett, Sir Martin Rees, Professor Paul Davies and Professor Motoyuki Ono.

Evaluation: 

PPR exceeded the objective to secure media coverage in the various spaces they identified as necessary and satisfied their goals of raising the RiAus’ profile as a reputable institution that brings science to people and people to science, as well as increasing awareness among various publics of the new science hub as a real and virtual place to experience science in its varied forms.

PPR exceeded its objectives of one piece of coverage per theme, securing 55 media placements across the following topics: Professor Gavin Brown’s profile, the heritage of the building as the old Adelaide Stock Exchange, The Official Opening, Art Installations on display, Driven to Diffraction film premier, Family Fun Day, Open House, Young Investigator Awards, the SpiRit of Science scholars and October lecture series.

The events surrounding the RiAus launch were also publicised across various tourism and educational websites, highlighting the successful communication of the invaluable role the science hub plays in Australia.