The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Ogilvy Brand Relations in Brussels, Belgium, to help it develop a branding and communications strategy for the International Space Station (ISS). ESA’s objective is to raise commercial demand for use of the European assets on the International Space Station.
The International Space Station is one of the world’s most sophisticated research laboratories. It offers facilities and manpower for organisations and companies to carry out cutting-edge research in such fields, among others, as biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology, materials science, physics, astronomy and environmental science. It is also a unique platform for marketing, sponsorship and other less conventional space activities. And yet, outside the aerospace community, many companies are still unaware of this potential.
Mr Antonio Rodotà, ESA’s Director General, said: "In the ISS, ESA is offering a platform for new activities. We are convinced that through the ISS, we can help European companies convey compelling messages to their markets and increase their competitive advantage around the world."
Although its assembly in orbit still has some years to go, the station is already operational and houses three full-time residents. It is open for business. Regular Russian and American flights keep it supplied, bring visitors, and ferry scientific and commercial payloads to orbit and back to earth.
"In the past, human spaceflight has wrongly retained an exotic and elitist image. With the ISS, this is changing. Human spaceflight will become an everyday experience," explains Mr Jörg Feustel-Büechl, ESA’s Director of Manned Spaceflight and Microgravity. "The station offers companies and organisations the opportunity, for the first time, to exploit manned spaceflight for commercial purposes. By opening a unit exclusively devoted to marketing the station's facilities, ESA is leading the ISS commercialisation effort."
Mr Feustel-Büechl added: "ESA and its commercial partners can offer tailored packages to interested companies, taking care of everything from space certification of payloads to launches, flying and running programmes on board the station, and delivering results and payloads back to customers on Earth. ESA can arrange favourable financing deals and guarantees that its clients’ intellectual property is fully protected at all stages of a programme. Ogilvy will help us explain these opportunities to a wide audience."
Ogilvy will help ESA develop the station’s brand image and design a communications strategy to put the ISS in the public eye in Europe and to raise its potential among the European business community. In hiring Ogilvy, ESA is demonstrating its commitment to understanding and meeting the needs of its business partners.
Although the communications programme will focus on the R&D community, it will also reach out to newer kinds of space entrepreneurs, active in marketing, entertainment and tourism. The R&D effort will concentrate on health, biotechnology, environment, food, and new materials.
The fact that most companies lack experience in the commercial exploitation of space, combined with the state of today’s economy, will make this a complex and challenging programme.
"Ogilvy’s unique branding and marketing skills, combined with its keen understanding of the unusual challenges of space-based marketing and an outstanding international network, makes it ESA’s ideal partner for this exciting new initiative," explains Maurizio Belingheri, ESA’s Head of ISS Commercialisation. "The network will enable us to reach our target audiences in all ESA Member States".
For more information, please contact:
Head ISS Commercialisation Division
European Space Agency – ESTEC
Keplerlaan 1 – 2200 AG Noordwijk – The Netherlands
Tel +31 71 565 5068
Fax +31 71 565 5232