20 Mar Interview with an astronaut
Using the universe as a theme to promote an event may seem grandiose. However, when the challenges of reaching a particular target audience are considered it’s a little more understandable. Getting the right mix of communication tools could be compared to selecting the right crew for a mission into space, and the key note speaker at our client’s conference was lucky enough to be one of a select few who have made it there, to infinity and beyond.
Michel Tognini, born in France on the 30th September, 1949 made his first journey into space on 27th July 1992. He knows a thing or two about how important communications are, whether they’re between a client and their delegates or between a spaceship and mission control on Earth.
Thus, it was clear that Michel would be the ideal representative for our client to anchor their potential delegates. Of course, the next question was how to spread the message loud and clear. Drawing on Michel’s extraordinary experiences in the form of an interview seemed to be the answer. To be placed in the customer’s magazine, the aim was to secure substantial interest in the topic, and through this higher attendance at the conference.
Start the ignitions
Using our in-depth knowledge of the client’s products and services as well as the communications market enabled us to devise questions that would support the conference themes as well as uncover Michel’s own views of his experiences. For example, ‘What back up comms did you have during spaceflight?’ encouraged him to consider exactly how important communications were in securing his crew’s safety during their Columbia mission.
Researching Michel’s background and space travel experience was therefore fundamental to this campaign. Discovering the major problems that affected his Space Shuttle launch was both fascinating and humbling. To convey this to the audience was of significant value; garnering their curiosity was a sure-fire way of encouraging attendance.
|Michel Tognini made his first journey into space in 1992|
Furthermore, conducting the interview efficiently with such a busy person was important. In true twenty-first century style, email correspondence was all that was required to arrange a suitable time and date for our Account Director to call Michel. Thirty minutes were scheduled for the telephone interview, when in actual fact our Account Director managed to complete it in just less than twenty minutes.
Prepare to launch
The more challenging aspect of the project was deciding which information obtained in the interview was relevant for the piece. Creating an article which was accessible to a wide audience was important to us. Knowing the readers would be knowledgeable about communications technology but wouldn’t necessarily know much about the ins and outs of space travel, our Account Director left out some of the more detailed technical descriptions about the launch. Instead, he focused more on Michel’s comments which conveyed his excitement and wonder at being able to travel in space.
An interesting fact that Michel shared with our Account Director was that at one point during the mission, an electrical fault hit the Space Shuttle. All the lights in the cabin went out, which must have been very dramatic, and really quite scary. This information hasn’t been mentioned in any of the online documents covering the incident.
The interview was published in the customer magazine and featured on the front cover as a key anchor to tempt readers in. Once the audience became engaged with the interview, the likelihood that they would attend the conference became significantly higher. Their interest in the key themes of the event was stimulated through a fascinating tale of space, communications and mission control, encouraging their curiosity to find out more by attending the conference and hearing Michel Tognini, an ex-astronaut, speak in person.