You’ll never guess what NASA just did

In 1958, President Eisenhower commissioned the creation of a space agency with a civilian and peaceful approach rather than a military led operation. Over the years, NASA has become synonymous with exploration, adventure and the wonder of the unknown. In doing so, they’ve built quite a cool brand.

In recent years, science fiction space focused movies have hit mainstream cinema and a new wave of fans have led a peaked interest in space. For this reason, NASA find themselves in the middle of a trending interest with space exploration, and with a brand as recognisable as Coca-Cola and a big-picture vision that the world can get behind, NASA have leveraged their exposure incredibly well.

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Why NASA is winning

We live in a world where organisations and brands (especially the big ones) so poorly utilise the opportunities provided them by responding in terrible ways. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to watch as brands, companies and government agencies do the exact opposite of what they should when the world’s spotlight shines upon them.

NASA is different. They know who they are and have developed a tone of voice that is progressive, friendly, open and fun. The world loves them for it. NASA press releases get worldwide attention for weeks because they use these events to announce cool discoveries. Most recently, they announced the possibility of life on mars with evidence of water. What made it work is that the press conference coincided with the launch of Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” starring Matt Damon. Coincidence? You tell me.

Perhaps it traces back to their civilian roots but it feels as if NASA are open and the current worldview applauds this behaviour. Because of their open usage rights for the use of NASA’s written and design material, New York locals Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth launched a Kickstarter campaign to release a repurposed 1970’s brand identity style guide for NASA. NASA responded by releasing a low resolution web version the very next week, which in turn increased the campaign’s exposure (and profits) – They raised almost US $1m.

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Give the people what they want – Be open

So there you have an intro on the NASA brand but am I writing on it? Well here’s the real reason and you’re going to love it.

In an unprecedented move this October, NASA released thousands (8,400) of never before seen images from moon landings and space flights. How cool is that? In a world where government agencies choose to hide information, NASA respond and give the people exactly what they want – Access to the archives.

I could explain the theory and learning from the brand or…. I could just show a few of the best pictures.

Photos it is…

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