Pioneering rocket launch company Skyrora was at a critical point when the UK Space Agency was investing in a proposed spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland.
Skyrora’s rivals – space giants Lockheed Martin and Orbex – were well ahead in terms of media coverage and funding. That left the firm trailing when it came to attracting enquiries for its services.
However, Skyrora did have one ace up its sleeve: it was planning to bring back to the UK the only rocket ever to have been launched into orbit by Britain – Black Arrow.
The remains of the rocket had spent 50 years rusting in the Australian Outback – so we conceived a PR campaign to help overtake its two prominent competitors while gaining the respect of the industry, the public and decision-makers.
We knew the Black Arrow link created a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Skyrora – and also a rare chance to build a truly standout PR campaign.
To propel Skyrora ahead of rivals and position it as the go-to firm for an upcoming wave of UK-based satellite launches, we set these measurable objectives for the campaign:
- Deliver high quality coverage in UK media – at least 250 items and to include a TV magazine-style feature.
- Raise awareness of Skyrora to new audiences
- Boost engagement on social channels by 10% and to drive traffic to its website.
- Attract at least three new qualified enquiries for payload space or investment.
- Capture the attention of key stakeholders including at least two MSPs and at least one prominent industry figure.
What we did
Our three-stage campaign started with us convincing Skyrora to drop plans for a low key unveiling of Black Arrow and to adopt a large-scale campaign on the homecoming of an important piece of history.
In stage one we started identifying and issuing stories about Skyrora’s business, promoting its team, their work and STEM credentials, delivering powerful coverage.
Stage two focused on the return of Black Arrow with an unveiling event featuring original Black Arrow engineers, politicians, the Royal Air Force and the media. We also organised a UK-wide school poster competition.
Stage three built on the momentum, identifying a huge range of stories as well as MSP workshops.
Influencer engagement generated by the campaign included Helen Sharman, the UK’s first astronaut; TV professor Brian Cox and TV tech expert, Dallas Campbell.