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 research results on how to design and operate a marketing communication process as a strategy for improving the image of the shipping industry in order to increase its attractiveness as a labour market and career opportunity for young people.

In order to develop a marketing communication process, fundamental empirical and conceptual knowledge about the image concept is needed. This knowledge was created through a major and unique scientific survey of more than 2000 pupils in upper secondary schools in Sweden, Norway, and Greece (the SNG survey, reported in KNOWME, 2013, Appendix 1). The survey was designed and led by Gothenburg University, Sweden and carried out by Gothenburg University; 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. Some differences between countries and between men and women are analysed.

Based on scientific knowledge about the image concept, the KNOWME project has developed several tools for marketing communication of shipping as a career opportunity for young people. This tool box includes an information brochure about shipping as a career path; an e-portal, “Go-Maritime”, which describes jobs and career paths in shipping; two complete sets of teaching materials for strategic lecturing to pupils and students; and a blueprint for designing a national organization termed NIMCO (national image communicator) for communicating a positive image of shipping as a career opportunity to young people. The NIMCO blueprint includes descriptions of organisational structure, knowledge platforms based on the SNG survey, communication systems, operational principles, and a recipe for forming NIMCOs including the synergistic effects of European collaboration among NIMCOs.

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