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14 March 2017

Innovative social media campaign by 3M™, WorldSkills Global Industry Partner

WorldSkills and all the work it produces would not be possible without the support of our Global Partners. Their considerable assistance to the work of WorldSkills comes in many forms including financial, value in kind, and in the publicity of events.

At the end of last year, as young people from 34 countries put their talents on show at Europe’s largest biennial skills event, their stories, successes, and commitment to shaping the future gained global attention through an innovative media campaign.

This worldwide exposure for 500 Competitors who participated in EuroSkills Gothenburg 2016, which took place from 1-3 December 2016, was made possible by global innovation company 3M – a key WorldSkills Global Industry Partner and a longstanding supporter of WorldSkills goals – whose vision allowed the ethos of the event to reach an audience stretching into the tens of millions.

With many of 3M’s products and areas of focus aligning with the skills and trades that WorldSkills promotes, and with both organizations sharing a set of values, the social media campaign devised by the company was an example of mutual benefit through global outreach – spreading the EuroSkills message, and the accomplishments and aspirations of its skilled young competitors, around the world, while also highlighting 3M’s ongoing financial support for skill development.

Across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn, and covering everything from social media posts and web content to videos and animation, the campaign emphasized and drew attention to the importance of vocational skills to social and economic development. 

As Rich Miles, 3M’s Business Manager-Sustainability, explained, the company’s connection with WorldSkills and EuroSkills is a perfect fit. “What we like about WorldSkills, first of all, is its global focus and diversity,” he said.

“WorldSkills is present in more than 75 countries and have 50-plus skills areas. We are present in more than 200 countries and have 55,000 products across 26 divisions. So there is a lot of synergy and similarity between both organizations.”

“From the word go, it’s been a very good partnership. Although we have an incredibly wide reach in terms of our products and technologies, our brand awareness is not as high as we would like, particularly in the under-25 age category.”

This, according to Tim Liew, 3M’s Social Media Leader for West Europe, is where the social media push surrounding EuroSkills came in. “A big part of what we want to do is raise brand familiarity across the West Europe region, especially among the younger audience – this is where WorldSkills and EuroSkills have natural strengths,” he said. “A social media campaign was a very good opportunity for us to raise our brand awareness and to highlight our involvement with WorldSkills and EuroSkills across the whole area. So we developed a comprehensive range of content; some of it about EuroSkills itself, some featuring the key vocations being showcased.”

“Of these vocations, some have real affinity with our 3M businesses and products. This is where we placed our greatest focus. But we also put out videos focusing on five of the Competitors. This wasn’t just about promoting 3M as a business; it was about its partnership with WorldSkills and EuroSkills, personalizing the Competition and our involvement with it.”

Posts started several weeks before EuroSkills and continued until several days after its curtain came down – eventually totalling 330 - with the emphasis, Mr Liew says, being on “driving visibility” and “maximizing the number of eyeballs we got on the content”.

“Our photographer produced a lot of videos and still imagery to show what was happening around EuroSkills, giving a feel for the Competition and how many visitors it attracted, while also showing 3M products being used by the Competitors,” he explained.

In the glare of the camera lens were young people whose skills ranged from Painting and Decorating to Car Painting and Graphic Design. “We interviewed them just before the event, asking them how they were feeling, if they were nervous, if they felt prepared – really personal input,” outlined Mr Miles.

“Then, each day of the Competition, we re-interviewed them – ‘how are you feeling now?’, ‘are you on track?’, ‘how did your day go?’. All this quite personal and emotional content came through.”

“I’ve been involved with WorldSkills for a number of years now, and I’m always blown away by the enthusiasm from the EuroSkills organizers and senior management team and all the way through to the youngsters participating in the Competition, and even those attending. There’s just such a high degree of enthusiasm and energy from everyone, and the medals give an Olympic-type feeling to the Competition.”

Beyond that, he says, is the serious message of promoting diversity and the value of – and need for – vocational skills. “There is a skills gap, and it’s in our interest to further develop skills within Europe, both in general areas but also new skills areas such as robotics, mechanics, and mechatronics.”

“The way we manufacture in these areas is completely different now, and so we need young people with the most up-to-date skill sets – the latest-thinking and we want the most highly-skilled people who are coming through to be aware of and to join 3M.”

“And WorldSkills and EuroSkills are where the most highly-skilled people globally are being attracted to.”

For additional information visit the 3M Facebook page