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Scitable

Situation

140-year-old Nature Publishing Group started Nature Education and Scitable to reposition a heavily scientific and prestigious brand with education audiences. Scitable is a premiere scientific resource, comprising peer-reviewed and journal-quality articles on a social networking platform, designed for students, faculty and science enthusiasts.

Strategy and Tactics

The recession, school budget cuts, massive dropout rates by STEM students, and a lack of new scientists provided multiple story angles.

RLM pitched Scitable as a culturally relevant means for students to connect with the core of science—research—and collaborate on large-scale projects across international boundaries. Media outreach capitalized on coverage of President Obama’s emphasis on science, the removal of the ban on stem cell research, and the desperate need for more scientists. With students more likely to use Wikipedia for research than credible sources, RLM positioned Scitable as the future of online research, gaining prominent placements in top online and print publications. These were substantial, newsworthy stories, hooking into new research and educational and scientific news to position Scitable as a site that is not just part of the discussion, but the solution to a global problem.

With Scitable, Nature Education combined journal-quality articles with social media tools. Realizing that this new concept would require a new approach to the media, RLM reached out to top global social media influencers, including Chris Brogan and Basheera Khan, to place Scitable at the vanguard of social media. This introduced Scitable to audiences far beyond the technology and education industries, including social media influencers who further spread the story throughout their blogs, friend feeds and Twitter followers. Many of them criticized the mainstream media for not ‘getting’ Scitable; one event suggested that they could learn a lesson in publishing from NPG. Scitable was also prominent in an Agence France Presse wire story that ran globally in hundreds of publications.

Results

Using Scitable’s Publishing Director Vikram Savkar as an evangelist for science, science education and credible research, as well as a spokesperson on the future of textbook publishing, RLM used a multitude of story angles to gain placements in top publications such as: