Star Power: Space is the new sport when it comes to brand storytelling

After appearing at Mumbrella360 this past May, Amplify executive creative director, Tim Baggott, says the next decade will "offer marketers incredible opportunities for brands to reach new audiences and build brand equity by tapping into the cultural conversation of space exploration".

We are at the dawn of a new era in space exploration, often referred to as the ‘global space renaissance’ and this time Australia is a key player. The coming decade will offer marketers incredible opportunities for brands to reach new audiences and build brand equity by tapping into the cultural conversation of space exploration.

Last month, I sat down with Keegan Buzza, the director of communications at the Australian Space Agency, to discuss the opportunities for brands. As part of the conversation, we looked to the sports arena for inspiration. Australians’ love for sports makes it an effective way for marketers to reach a diverse consumer base through sponsorships, brand ambassadors, and grassroots storytelling. These same principles can be applied to our most exciting endeavour yet: space exploration.

Starpower and influence

Australia has a long history of brands tapping athletes to be ambassadors and sponsorship more broadly. It’s different now for space as the Australian public aren’t as familiar with our key figures in space as they would be the stars of the Australian Open, but this could change in the next five years.

Now is the opportunity to provide a platform and tell the story of innovation.

Case in point, our first Astronaut trained under the Australian flag, Katherine Bennell-Pegg who graduated in April after 13 months of training with the European Space Agency. She could be a terrific brand ambassador, a trailblazer, a mother, a woman breaking down barriers. She embodies ambition, dreaming big, and working hard to turn dreams into reality. Right now, it’s less about the following that Katherine has and more about the journey she’s about to go on. There’s a clear opportunity for brands to invest in the now as she gains influence. In the same way that the biggest sports brands align with athletes early in their career and become an integral, authentic part of their journey as they rise to fame.

Katherine-Bennell Pegg. Image via European Space Agency

Storytelling and themes

Space is daring, drama-filled, innovation-centric, full of big personalities. In many ways, it’s the pinnacle of human ambition and collaboration. The stakes are high, but at the end of the day, it’s real people coming together to do something bigger than themselves. Where is the drive to survive for Australian space exploration? I would watch that, and I don’t think I’m alone in saying that. Drive to Survive made F1 more entertaining by diving into the human stories, and allowing audiences to become emotionally invested in the drivers, teams and the rivalries. We saw how compelling it is when big personalities are put in a high stakes, fast paced environment to do something ambitious. The training and preparation it takes, the team behind one person to do something extraordinary.

Cultural identity

Taking a step back for a moment, we know that Aussies often have a propensity to shrink themselves, to fall for tall poppy syndrome – until an endeavour becomes a reflection of national pride, of national identity. That’s perhaps most true when it comes to sport. Look at the love and pride Aussies have for Australia’s favourite sport team, The Matildas. We want them to do well, we’re rooting for them because that’s our team and look at how incredible we are as a result. The same could be true for our “space team”. Not to mention, so much of what happens in the Australian space industry happens against the backdrop of rural Australia with bold, creative people within the local communities.

What’s next

Space inspires us to think bigger and push the boundaries of possibility. It encourages curiosity, innovation, and the improvement of our way of life. As we look ahead to the next decade and consider Australia’s role in space exploration, brand marketers should start planning now to play a meaningful role in the adventure from the beginning.

In fact, it’s already happening. This week, LEGO announced a partnership with the Australian Space Agency to launch their new Space Sets, aiming to “help space enthusiasts and Lego brick builders blast off into the future”. Alongside Katherine Bennell-Pegg, who is featured in the campaign, they share a united mission of sparking children’s creative imagination.

Tim Baggott is the executive creative director at Amplify.


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