Engineering the Future: Branding engineers for increased attractiveness a case study of Engineer the Future’s video campaign

Ditte Møller

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This thesis investigates the preconceptions pertaining to engineering among high school students, and whether Engineer the Future’s video campaign has successfully increased the attractiveness of engineering among this target group. The research uses philosophical hermeneutics to examine the degree to which Engineer the Future has reached a fusion of horizons with the high school students in terms of both message and communication media used in the campaign. The findings are based on analyses of Engineer the Future’s videos and seven focus group interviews. The focus group interviews helped pinpoint the participants’ preconceptions of engineers and the activities and inspirational and informational sources the students used when selecting a study. The preconceptions showed an image of engineers as smart, but geeky and socially awkward people. The study environment is mostly perceived as unsocial and the link between engineers and computers is very persistent. The findings showed that Engineer the Future has – to some degree – reached a fusion of horizons in terms of the message. However, some aspects of the students’ ‘need to know’ was not covered by the videos. Moreover, the communications media (TV, cinema and social media) did not reach the marketing-critic Generation Y target group. Through tribe theory, it became clear that the social environment of the study is a necessary addition to the message. Reference groups and interpersonal influence theory supported the suggestion of using presentations and smaller-scale personal encounters with current students as a better way of influencing the attitude towards engineering. Attitude theory highlighted that direct experience is most effective in changing attitudes. As such, class excursions to engineering universities and companies are likely to improve the image significantly. Lastly, the Behavioral Sequence Model mapped the students’ decision-making process when choosing a study, which will help time the marketing efforts correctly. In conclusion, Engineer the Future positively affected the image of engineering to some degree, but their methods can be improved.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2015
Number of pages115