Strategy for using the media as a means for improving the image of the shipping industry

The European Union is heavily dependent on a competitive and innovative maritime industry. For this industry to stay competitive and develop, the future supply of young talented people for work in the industry is a key factor. This deliverable describes and explains aspects of how to design and operate a marketing communication process as a strategy for improving the image of the shipping industry in order to increase the attraction of the industry as a labour market and as a career opportunity for young people. The concept of young people has been defined here operationally to mean pupils in general upper secondary schools. They represent an important future potential supply of educated employees for the maritime industry. However, many of the results of the deliverable are relevant for other groups and contexts as well.

This study takes its vantage point in a major and unique scientific survey of more than 2000 pupils in upper secondary schools in Sweden, Norway, and Greece made by Gothenburg University, Sweden; Molde University College, Norway; and The University of the Aegean, Greece. Based on the survey, the concept of image is defined conceptually and empirically using scientific methods as a fundamental platform for the development of communication strategies. Image is identified as a multidimensional concept and its dimensions are measured in terms of strength and importance for pupils’ choice of career path. The study also analyses the importance of different variables for pupils’ stated intensions to work as a seafarer, such as influences from parents, friends, sports and leisure activities, place of living, and choice of educational program. Differences between countries and between men and women are analyzed.

Based on this extensive and unique set of empirical data, the deliverable develops a general concept for marketing communication strategy using a structured approach building on a theoretical model of communication processes. Message strategy and communication channel strategy are important components in this model, together with organizational strategy. The deliverable ties conceptual and empirical things together in the final chapters by presenting a “toolbox” for communication process design. The organisational strategy proposed in this deliverable is to form independent organisations with national coverage in cooperation between the stakeholders involved, either financed by government or by agreed upon shares from the stakeholders. The term national image communicator (NIMCO) is used in this deliverable for such an organisation. The toolbox contains the necessary conceptual ingredients and a recipe for forming NIMCOs. Considering scale advantages, common European objectives, and intra-EU commonalities, NIMCOs could possibly gain from having access to support from a centralised European support unit.

Download the document here.