Design led by research
The campaign began by asking questions: what kinds of messages and stories will the target audience – teenagers – find interesting and inspiring? What kind of media should we use to reach them? And how will we know if we’ve chosen these correctly? Working with a specialist agency, we researched teenagers’ preferences and behaviours.
We discovered that this generation of teenagers is especially interested in going on to a career that makes a real difference in the world – and particularly helping to solve the global challenges we face today, like sustainable energy, water and food, and climate change. We know that chemistry will be at the heart of the solutions to these challenges, so we knew we could make a clear and attractive link between the two.
In some ways, today’s teenagers get their information very differently. When we launched Not All Chemists Wear White Coats, a popular campaign with similar aims, Google and Facebook didn’t even exist. Mark Zuckerberg hadn’t even been born. We have a new range of communications channels to reach our next-generation audience – primarily YouTube, Facebook and Instagram – and so we built the campaign mainly around those.
But in other ways, teenagers get information in much the same way as they always have: from their friends, teachers, careers advisers and families. We know we need to target not only the students themselves, but the adults that will influence their decisions. This means thinking more broadly about the channels and messages we use for these important secondary groups.
Reaching the target demographic
In January we launched the campaign, focused on a set of new videos and a refresh of our “A future in chemistry” careers website, with the aim of raising awareness and increasing visits to the website. We used paid-for social media advertising as well as relying on our own profile and networks to get the message out.
It’s clear that so far the campaign has been a brilliant success. Our videos and adverts have appeared more than 20 million times across the social media channels we’re working on. We’ve attracted 50,000 new visitors to “A future in chemistry”, and the YouTube videos alone have had tens of thousands of views in total. Furthermore, we’re able to use the analytics data from these social media channels to determine that the vast majority of those viewers and visitors are aged 13–17: exactly our target demographic. We know we’re reaching the right people.