Launching a spacecraft is no easy task, requiring the efforts of many people in many disciplines. And while launching a global, multifaceted communication campaign may be comparatively less daunting, it, too, requires a team effort. In mid-2012, Siemens, the global solution provider to the energy, health care, manufacturing and infrastructure industries, worked closely with one of its customers, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to execute such a campaign. The plan was to explain how Siemens' product lifecycle management (PLM) software helped NASA develop a spacecraft containing a vehicle that would travel millions of miles over eight and a half months, endure extreme heat and cold, decelerate from 13,000 miles per hour to zero in seven minutes, and then gently land on the surface of Mars.
PLM software is used by engineering and manufacturing companies to save time and money and to increase product quality by digitally designing, simulating, testing and producing products virtually on a computer before they are physically manufactured in the real world. Nowhere has this capability been put to a greater test than with the latest Mars rover, Curiosity, developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The scheduled Mars landing on 5 August 2012 gave Siemens a unique opportunity to address all its business needs with one global communication campaign: increase awareness of Siemens' leadership role in the software industry by highlighting its role in helping NASA achieve this difficult engineering challenge; associate Siemens with NASA to enhance Siemens' brand awareness and image in the U.S. and globally; and raise the profile of Siemens PLM Software within its market, while increasing awareness of the PLM business unit within Siemens.
To draw in the global media and tell the Siemens story, the team leveraged the excitement NASA was already generating for its mission to Mars. One month before the event, the team organized a joint press conference with NASA at the Farnborough Air Show in England and promoted it via traditional and digital media. Internally, the team drove traffic to various Siemens websites and blogs by engaging employees through multimedia, web pages, media coverage, phone calls, emails and social media. Siemens reached out to all other stakeholders through global media with the key message "Siemens Helps NASA Usher in a New Era in Space Exploration."