Its Time to Change How We Promote Engineering
Promoting Engineering to youth is not as straightforward as one might think. What isn’t working, the marketing experts from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) “Changing the Conversation” 2008 report state, is describing engineering solely using the skill sets required to obtain a degree in Engineering, such as having a superior knowledge in math and science. Descriptions like these, combined with the fact most people just don’t know what Engineers do, have turned off a large portion of our youth.
The NAE is promoting a national public relations campaign to improve the public understanding of Engineering. Their recommendations: reframe the way Engineering is portrayed and discuss Engineering using the values that it offers to people, to the community, and to the world around us. By putting Engineering in context and using the updated marketing-based research-tested messaging, our youth will be able to gain a better understanding of how they can make a contribution in this world through rewarding careers in Engineering.
Updated Engineering Definition – “Engineers are changing the world all of the time. They dream up creative, practical solutions and work with other smart, inspiring people to invent, design, and create things that matter.”
Top messaging and tag lines proven effective to explain “What is Engineering”:
- Engineers make a world of difference
- Engineers are creative problem solvers
- Engineering is essential to our health, happiness and safety
- Engineers help shape the future
- TAGLINE: Turing ideas into reality
- TAGLINE: Because dreams need doing
For more information on the “Changing the Conversation” marketing research:
- The “EngineerGirl.ORG” website – targeted for youth – also provides great examples for counselors & parents of what engineers do
- The NAE “Changing the Conversation” website provides perspective on the problem, the solution, and what actions others have taken to incorporate the new messaging. Training materials are available with the NAE tool kit including a 60-min video and power point presentation from the 2013 Engineer’s-Week website – to customize your own training for your colleagues and peers.
- A few of my favorite examples of how others have incorporated the updated messaging include a software engineer, a few tips on how to make effective technology presentations, and imagine a world without engineers.
Take The Engineer’s Pledge
- Change what you say about Engineering. Talk about the rewarding, creative aspects of engineering, how you collaborate with other smart and interesting people, and how the work you do makes a difference in this world. Use words like design or create (vs build). Also use words like: collaborate, innovation, financially secure, imagination, contribution.
- Change the images you use to promote Engineering. Update the fliers to include people. Test your marketing materials with your target group prior to release.
- Change how we teach Engineering. Put Engineering in context early in the curriculum and in outreach activities.
- Train others about the updated messaging. Inform your public relations, marketing, and recruiting departments within your company and volunteer activities. Train all volunteers prior to a major K-16 outreach activity.
- Update your bio with the updated messaging. Use proven marketing-tested tag lines in your e-mail signature.
- Join the Changing the Conversation community. “Like” facebook.com/engineersCTC and stay up to date with how others are implementing the new messaging.