Research marketing

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction plus a social media overreaction.

Marketing Saiful Islam's Ri Christmas Lectures

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📥  Event, Research news, social

Hopefully in between mince pies and merriment you caught this year's Royal Institution (Ri) CHRISTMAS LECTURES broadcast on BBC FOUR over three nights during the festive period and delivered by our very own Professor Saiful Islam.

Professor Saiful Islam - this year's Ri Christmas Lecturer.

Professor Saiful Islam - this year's Ri Christmas Lecturer. (Photo Credit - Paul Wilkinson).

In the time between Saiful being announced as the Ri's Christmas Lecturer for its 80th Anniversary year last August, through to broadcast over Christmas, we worked closely with him and the team at the Ri to ensure we made the most of the event from a marketing perspective - both in terms of Saiful's own research and expertise, as well as for the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, the Department of Chemistry and the University more generally.

'Supercharged: Fuelling the future'

From our end this included a range of marketing outputs: a new online feature on Saiful's journey; an extensive social media campaign across all channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) which included video teasers for the lectures and competition to win tickets for filming; new printed materials to promote the lectures to our students; mail-shots out to our alumni; and of course use of the Digital screens around campus to highlight his involvement.

 

In addition to all the preparations for filming, at the Ri our colleagues created a dedicated CHRISTMAS LECTURE section of the website; arranged photoshoots; created new printed collateral; and mailed their many thousands of subscribers about Saiful's involvement.

We also worked very closely with the Ri on media exposure too. Of the 150 pieces of national and international coverage across print and broadcast media particular highlights included features in the Observer 'You need more than one electric eel to light a Christmas tree'; an interview for Radio 4's Start The Week with Andrew Marr; as well as coverage across other national print media and, crucially, in the Christmas Radio Times!

All combined, with online traffic to the various marketing initiatives and press coverage, this helped capture an audience in the 100,000s in advance of broadcast. Viewing figures for the CHRISTMAS LECTURES - now available to watch again via the Ri Channel – suggest these were watched by over 1.7 million.

Follow on engagements

Fresh from his Christmas appearances, once back on campus in early January my colleague Chris arranged for Saiful to take part in Reddit AMA looking back at the lectures and focusing in on Saiful's own research. This has had an online reach of 7.5 million (for more on our AMAs see this other blog post).

In late January we then publicised new research from Saiful on developing faster, recharging lithium batteries which has already received significant national and international coverage.

The Ri held a Family Fun Day in early February in which Saiful gave mini-lectures (with bangs) and PhD students from the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies presented a hands-on exhibit on green energy.

We're now eagerly awaiting Bath Taps into Science, where Saiful's family talk on Wednesday night has already sold out, and looking further ahead to Saiful's involvement in our 6 May University of Bath Festival.

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Each year tickets to watch filming of the Ri's CHRISTMAS LECTURES are allocated by a ballot in September. This is open to Ri Members and UK schools; you can find out more about supporting the charity by becoming a member here http://www.rigb.org/globals/join-support/become-an-ri-member.

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