The University of Canterbury Physics and Astronomy Society

Role: Marketing & Communications Director
Duration: Febuary–December 2017 (11 months)

The Problem 😓
PhysSoc was on the verge of being wound down due to increasingly disinterested membership and a lack of funds. 

The Situation 📉
With approx. 100 members, PhysSoc had a revenue of just under NZD 2000 in 2016. They failed to have neither the reputation nor sufficient presence on campus to ask for higher membership fees and attract more students to their events.

Fewer students = less revenue = less events = fewer students.

The Competition 🤔

Large ‘premium’ societies with thousands of members required high annual membership fees and would charge anywhere between NZD 5–120 for an event.

They were able to price so highly due to the large student demand in faculties such as engineering, law and commerce. They had the largest share of student revenue, even among students not in these large faculties.

The Goal 💭

Become the largest ‘premium’ science society on campus.

The Approach 💡
First, I led the collaboration with the membership and the executive to re-write our guiding constitution from scratch. We included objectives to reach out to non-physics/astronomy students and new roles focusing on social media and event coordination. 

I conducted consumer surveys with over 100 students from various faculties. They perceived PhysSoc as a niche club destined only for physics and astronomy students, with some respondents saying that they felt the society was intimidating.

With this research in mind, I designed the brand identity to be bold and simple by limiting the colour palette to two colours and line icons. When composing posters, I used enlarged and recognisable line icons and text to attract passersby on campus.

After the first semester, I conducted another survey with another 100 students from various faculties to evaluate the brand identity. When shown marketing material without references to PhysSoc, 93% responded that they recognised the brand and 51% responded that they liked the ‘personality’ of the brand.

Now that the brand had successfully built a recognisable presence on campus, I iterated the identity over the next semester to reflect the playful personality of the society and its members through more complex communications. 

The Result 📈

PhysSoc became the largest science society on campus.

PhysSoc saw its membership double to 220 members and diversify, with over a third of members not studying physics or astronomy. Its revenue increased sixfold to NZD +12 000/EUR +7000/USD +8000.

We achieved this thanks to our recognisable and prominent brand identity, aggressive poster and social media marketing, and revenue generation strategies. Most importantly, we achieved this through our teamwork and passion in the Society and its members.

The Three Takeaways 🌟
  1. Realised the value and importance of qualitatively and quantitatively evaluating a brand identity to understand how to iterate a concept further. 

  2. No part of a business should work independently from another. Collaboration, knowledge sharing and asking for help when you need it is key.

  3. Learned how to manage stakeholders ranging from our members and the Society executive to the university and the students’ association.