Background and challenges
Brain Research New Zealand – Rangahau Roro Aotearoa (BRNZ) is a Centre of Research Excellence which was newly created in 2014. BRNZ involved 4 Universities – Otago, Canterbury, Auckland and AUT along with several independent research institutes and groups and over 300 researchers.
BRNZ’s aim was to advance the treatment and prevention of diseases of the ageing brain on a global scale. BRNZ therefore required a heavy-duty marketing approach to kick it off.
I was the sole-charge marketing person for the group and as such had to be a one-woman band. I also had a zero dollar marketing budget with virtually no access to funding for day-to-day marketing, with the exception of the creation of the annual report and some key research events.
As such I needed to produce valuable marketing assets out of nothing but my own capabilities. I also needed to foster an atmosphere of branding consistency and cooperation between historically competitive institutions, which were now brought together under the same banner for the first time.
I therefore put together a marketing strategy and then executed all of it highly effectively.
• Management of a database of community members for targeted personalised comms around specific issues, via Hubspot and HootSuite.
• Ongoing community outreach with relevant not for profits and iwi across the country – both online and in-person events.
• Event planning, management and promotion before, during and after events.
• Produce creative, cost-effective merchandise, branding materials and visual branding (myself and via an outsourced agency).
• Social media management and content management best practice training for researchers.
• Measuring and optimising the website using Google Analytics and making cost-effective recommendations for optimising content for SEO and conversion.
• Content, design and digital marketing using free and open-source tools where possible to keep costs low.
• Media liaison with Fairfax, NZ Herald and other journalists and getting researchers stories out into the media.
• Relationship building with dispersed teams and individuals in order to capture and convey research stories to the wider world and get cooperation on key campaigns.
Community engagement, social media and online conversion optimisation
As a part of my role with Brain Research New Zealand – Rangahau Roro Aotearoa, my role was to engage directly with Not for Profits and Maori Iwi within Auckland and Dunedin and to arrange marae visits for researchers and clinicians.
BRNZ had a stall at Te Matatini 2016 was an outstanding success. I managed to giveaway over 3,000 kete bags with the koromiko seeds and also to giveaway approximately 1,500 notepads. The community outreach and #GrowWithBRNZ campaign online and offline resulted in a 30% increase in Twitter followers along with substantial user generated content.
The campaign also meant a spike in engagement, with over 3,000 views of the website during the week of the event. The conversion goal of 100 responses to our online survey was exceeded and we received over 800 responses to the online survey into knowledge of neurological conditions.
Community events (which I organised and ran) contributed to the group receiving millions in philanthropic funding towards improving health outcomes.
- Ruth Monk uses Cell Programming to study the mechanisms of disease
- Breakthrough in Parkinson’s disease offers new hope
- New dementia research on Maori, led by Maori
Web design, graphic design, content marketing
I designed a new website for Brain Research New Zealand which was based on usability assessments, paper and online surveys, and research into the existing CMS and what pages were most visited on the site. Also the UX process involved integrating the most important user functionality such as access to new research studies looking for participants, as well as contact information for key clinicians. I designed the site with this and design best practice principles in mind.
Internal communications/ research collaboration
I wrote, designed and produced a pamphlet for researchers to promote themselves internally to other researchers within BRNZ and externally to researchers around the world.
Annual Report writing, design and production management
This was the first annual report ever produced for Brain Research New Zealand.Therefore it needed to be visually impressive, on-brand and also contain stories of substance and scientific rigour which would impress the target audience – the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) the governing body which provides funding to BRNZ on a 4 yearly basis.
I coordinated the content, interviewed researchers, coordinated the photography and managed the production of the design and printing via a design agency.
Video production and post production
For the opening of several new dementia research clinics across the country, I managed photo shoots and produced a series of videos which featured interviews, speeches and cut aways to stock footage. See examples below