• Influencer Marketing For STEM Education

    By Carina Chan on February 27 , 2017

    Millennials dont learn the same way as baby boomers did, and as with change, perhaps education techniques to engage such students should also be tweaked accordingly.

    Although STEM — the academic principles of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — is high in the cards for Singapore’s future, PM Lee Hsien Loong noted in a speech in 2015 that it is now more challenging to attract students and graduates to study and work in STEM sectors, even as the education system has placed strong emphasis in the subjects for the next 50 years.

    The use of influencer marketing has already been proven in the industry of branding where teaming up with the right influencers can spread your message to thousands in an effective manner, so why not the use of influencers for the STEM agenda?

    According to a Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey conducted in 2015, millennials have the highest levels of trust in online and online formats. Another research from a poll conducted by Harris Interactive for The Webby Awards, it showed that nearly seven in 10 millennial social users are at least somewhat influenced to purchase based on friends’ posts. Peer influence is therefore a key factor when marketing to this audience – influence millennials’ peers and you influence them.

    Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am is an avid supporter of STEM. In August 2011, will.i.am paired up with Segway founder Dean Kamen to produce a television special called “i.am.FIRST” Science is Rock and Roll.” The special was then followed up with the 20th annual FIRST Championship, a robotics competition for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The singer also promotes education with his foundation, the i.am scholarship.

    Take Emma Watson as another example. A UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, she recently gave a shout-out to a University of Waterloo scholarship programme in 2015 that awarded $288,000 to 24 female STEM students all the way till 2019.

    Now, imagine if global science company 3M or Microsoft tied up with either one of them as an ambassador.

    A much more serious topic as compared to product purchase, the use of influencers as compared to a professional talk on STEM offers the target audience a lower barrier of entry for STEM consideration as a study path, and hence career. In addition, notions that STEM is boring, and too technical, especially for girls, have been hard-wired since a long time ago.

    According to the second edition of the Mastercard Girls in Tech research, 30 percent of the 17 to 19 year-old girls surveyed said they will not choose STEM jobs despite studying STEM subjects.

    Young girls (12-19 years old) still continue to hold the perception that STEM subjects are difficult (39 percent) and that STEM careers are gender-biased. Two in five girls believe that girls are less likely to choose STEM subjects because of a perception that STEM jobs are male-dominated.

    This highlights some deeply held misconceptions by young girls and young women in regards to the study and pursuit of STEM, when in fact, STEM is able to afford women a whole world of opportunities that are currently only being scratched at the surface now.

    We believe that STEM collaborations with influencers is a viable chance for brands in sectors such as education, science and technology to not only drive the STEM conversation, and also help in breaking stereotype barriers.

    With the right influencers on board, brands will be able to reach out to millennials in a more targeted but gentler approach, and possibly translating the engagement into higher students’ affinity with STEM studies, and hence careers.

    On the whole, a win-win situation for brand, the country, and possibly for women as well.

    Banner image: http://jlmgt.org/what-is-stem-education

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