Students On Ice – Digital Strategy
Coined as one of the greatest classrooms on earth, Students on Ice partnered with bv02 to shed light on their message of awareness, education and leadership surrounding climate change.
Students on Ice (SOI) is a leader in the education field relating to the Arctic and Antarctic, offering polar expeditions for international youth that foster respect for the environment and provide teaching and learning opportunities for educators and scientists. This award-winning not-for-profit organization, which depends largely on private funding for its operations, faced a difficult challenge: their online presence did not provide the tools for exploring the full range of available funding opportunities, which in turn was preventing the organization from expanding their educational efforts. As a first step towards remedying this situation, Students on Ice came to bv02 to develop a Digital Strategy – a roadmap for implementing a new, modernized digital footprint that would allow them to fulfill their objectives.
bv02’s approach is to develop a digital strategy that will focus on success metrics and an organization’s goals, in the context of an analysis of the current marketplace. These factors provide us with a framework for ideation — the idea that drives the system —and the ability to select the “right” engine is what makes the solution both unique and effective. Ideas lay the ground work for core business applications that are not only measurable but that are also accessible from any point of any engagement.
The first step towards Students on Ice’s new Digital Strategy was to conduct a discovery session. The aim was to develop a deeper understanding from the organization’s stakeholders of the requirements of the organization, its motivation, and what success would look like for them. We reviewed the current state of their digital presence, discussed their audience and goals, and began to identify some potential success metrics and goals. By the close of the session, we were able to collaboratively define the vision for the Digital Strategy. This provided clear direction and guidance for all aspects of the organization’s digital communications and business plans.
Once we had the vision for the strategy in hand, we were able to move on to review their internal and external environments. The internal audit included reviewing their internal business requirements, commitments and priorities, identifying pain points, and determining available resources. The external audit included conducting a market analysis by comparing digital activities across their industry, and identifying opportunities for engagement with their target audiences. With these parts in place we could review and compare the findings against the project vision to ensure alignment before moving forward with strategy development.
With our priorities and vision aligned, we proceeded to develop the overall Digital Strategy. bv02 had identified that Students on Ice held a strong position within their industry, based on their reputation for developing quality educational experiences, but that their disjointed digital footprint was in need of work to truly harness all the opportunities available to them. As well, the organization would need to reflect in their web properties the importance of their alumni, the organization’s ambassadors, and reach their incredible network of partners.
We proposed unifying their social platforms, streamlining their web platforms (including a responsive website for the main Students on Ice website), creating a single brand to clearly identify Students on Ice properties, and integrating a CRM for alumni and partner management. With a CRM in place and a tailored content strategy, SOI would be able to focus their efforts on reaching their alumni and partners, and make them central to the narratives and organization of their web properties. bv02 used these recommendations to create one holistic Digital Strategy for Students on Ice that would define the final end goal for their digital footprint.
Finally, for this project to provide real guidance to Students on Ice in their operational and fundraising activities, bv02 developed an Action Plan. This entailed creating a set of “next steps” from our Digital Strategy, that aligned with the organization’s resources (financial and staff) and priorities, and included recommendations for maintaining the health of their digital footprint over time. With this initiative complete, Students on Ice is now actively using the Digital Strategy in its operations, and is working with partners to collaborate on building their new digital footprint.