Putting the Nobel Prize into social media

Published by on december 22, 2009 at 11:00 f m

Since its start in 1901, the Nobel Prize has had a lot of time to build a strong brand. Today it’s one of the most well known brands in the world. But not until 2008 did they actively work on building their brand. Last year their website, Nobelprize.org, had 38 million visitors. By spreading information about the Nobel Prizes on social media, Nobelprize.org’s visitors are increasing rapidly around the world.
With this in mind, I met their first ever Marketing and Communications Manager, Merci Olsson at Nobelprize.org. Merci and her colleagues are starting to use social media to make the Nobel Prize history accessible and to let people connect with wealth of information on the vast website Nobelprize.org.
We met on October 20th at the Nobel Museum in Old Town, Stockholm. The same day, Nobelprize.org had the world première for the project, “Ask a Nobel Laureate”, where visitors had the chance to pose questions directly to a Nobel Prize Laureate, Dr. John Mather from NASA, via the Nobel Prize YouTube channel. This event was a success and a good example of how the combination of online and offline worlds can work together to increase traffic on their sites. During the Nobel Prize announcements and press conferences, the Nobel Prize YouTube channel was the first from Europe to live-stream these events to a worldwide audience.
When I asked which social media channels they are using, Merci’s response was, “We are the channel”. She explains that it doesn’t matter which type of platform one uses: the platform itself is only a tool to reach different people. “If it is online or on a bus or event at a museum, it is still about getting people involved in our brand. Involvement means creating an interest and nurturing it. We have a responsibility to spread information about the Nobel Prizes and to inspire the next generation of Nobel Laureates.”
One of the goals Nobelprize.org has is to create direct relationships with universities and schools around the world to offer educational resources about the Nobel Prizes and the awarded achievements.
When it comes to social media, Nobelprize.org is active on important platforms such as Facebook. On Twitter they have many followers.  Because they don’t try to control discussions, they take part in a dialogue that goes on 24/7 and their followers answer each other. In October, the website visitors increased by 100 to 200 per cent. Every time they make an announcement, the traffic increases, leading to the expansion of their ‘fan tribe’. Merci calculates that they have a fan tribe of 20,000 dedicated people who have an interest in the Nobel Prize. She makes an excellent point out about how social media has developed for them: “It’s becoming a self driving car.”
Many brands, companies and agencies would like to get into that car.

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