Well my week with the PR/Media Relations expert at the TELUS World of Science came to a close...and I would have to say that it was one of my favorite weeks! Cassandra brought me along to EVERY meeting she had, and introduced me to so many different parts of the Science Centre. We talked about media plans and marketing strategies, internal relations and external support. It's a big job, but she manages to do it all, and to do it calmly at that.
Out of all the jobs I did this summer, I would have to say that this is one that makes some of the most sense to me. As I mentioned before, the goal of the Centre is to support education and community involvement. The Communications and Marketing Team also seemed to work together really well. The regularly scheduled meetings definitely helped communicate what everyone was working on, and what was happening next.
Some tid-bits I learned over the week:
- Know your audience. Something really interesting that the Communications Team did in advance of the Body Worlds exhibit, was invite the city's religious leaders to preview the show. Body Worlds has been a bit controversial, as they use dead bodies to teach people about anatomy. Obviously this doesn't sit well with some, but it was part of the Communication Team's job to make sure everything went as smoothly as possible. The preview allowed the religious groups to ask questions of the exhibit, and to give them a point of reference that they could then take to their congregations. ALL of the groups expressed appreciation for being included in such an event, and the preview night is something the Team plans on using in the future for any controversial shows.
- Know what kind of publications and media outlets (magazine, local news shows, etc...) fit into your demographic. Obviously, your organization should only put money into advertising where it will make the most ROI - Return On Investment. The media strategy meetings I attended talked a lot about where advertising dollars should go...it's like a big investment game...only with real money...;)
- Knowing what just happened is just as important as knowing what's coming up AKA: Learn From Your Mistakes. The meetings I attended also talked a lot about this one...important!
- Awareness, Awareness, Awareness. The Coms Team did a survey of their members, and 88% of them were aware of the Body Worlds show! That's huge! The goal was 60%, so they have definitely gone above and beyond all expectations.
With so many meetings during the week, it did get a little intense. It almost felt like there was no time to actually work on what was decided on, because there always seemed to be another meeting to go to! But with so many changes going on at the TELUS World of Science (the new Science Centre opening next year, new exhibits going up, budget, hours, staff, etc), communication is paramount.
I think I could handle this kind of job...I enjoy planning and acting as a liason of sorts... With the Coms Degree I have though, I would probably have to go back to school and take a few other courses just to get up-to-speed on the nitty-gritty of the profession. Cassandra told me about the International Association of Business Communicators as well as the Canadian Public Relations Society that have workshops and courses to help further my education.
Between all the Bodies, the critters, brainstorming sessions and Team Meetings, I really enjoyed my time with the TELUS World of Science! Cassandra, thank you so much for being so welcoming, and allowing me to pick your brain! Perhaps one day, I'll be working WITH you, as opposed to just shadowing.