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Estonia reaching to the stars: how to organise a successful international Cyber Security and Space Conference?

Estonians’ digital skills are increasingly being used worldwide: the international community highly values Estonia’s practical expertise in space cybersecurity, both in the private and public sectors. The time was ripe, therefore, to launch a unique conference series that would bring together cyber and space security experts from around the world.  The communication plan for the conference was implemented in just one month!

Due to government restrictions, the International Cyber and Space Conference was held on 10–11 November in English in a hybrid format, which we saw only possibilities. Suddenly there was an opportunity to invite more participants from around the world. On the spot, we got permission to bring in speakers, organisers and a few interested parties to make the digital broadcast and the speakers’ tracking much more interesting than the usual zoom meeting. This allowed other participants from all over the world to follow the conference virtually.

Cyber and Space Security Conference

GOALS

1. Generate interest in the conference and support the sale of conference tickets.

2. Demonstrate through integrated communication solutions that Estonia is a leader in innovation and that we have extensive expertise in space cyber defence and space traffic management (STM).

3. Create a community of shared interest that wants to participate and have a voice in the conference and the issues it will address in the years to come.

TARGET GROUP

  • Space cybersecurity service providers (space technology companies, including (space technology) start-ups, cybersecurity exercise providers, and university experts).
  • service users (earth station operators, satellite networks, satellite integrators, space-based service providers (remote sensing, IoT, communications), data centres); 
  • Defence sector;
  • international organisations – ESA, NATO, EUMETSAT, UN, EUSPA;
  • national space agencies or space bureaux. 

STRATEGY

We created an integrated communication campaign focused on innovative communication platforms and ways to reach a niche audience with whom we had no previous experience. The strategy considered traditional media, private channels of Estonian Space Agency partners and speakers, broadcasts, hackathons, social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook), collaboration with space content creators and digital advertising. As part of the tactical plan, we encouraged all parties involved in the conference to share personalised social media-friendly visuals.

HOW EXACTLY DID WE DO THIS?

  • Activating partners

Even in the early stages of organising the conference, we realised that a large proportion of space experts are active on Twitter – so we found several partners and journalists on social media who would not otherwise have been included in our pre-conference activities. As the conference organiser (EAS) also provided us with a very social media-friendly brand book, we were able to personalise visuals for our partners, which we encouraged them to share on their own channels, leveraging our audience.

  • Digital Media

We integrated both (showcase) events and frequent posts related to the conference into the EAS Space Office channels to provide information to those who already follow the site and those new to it. Similarly, we included LinkedIn to ensure a constant flow of information and to create excitement in the run-up to the conference. Once again, the fact that the speakers, who are used to sharing what they are doing on LinkedIn, were happy to share the event and the posts they will be made under it, where they will be speaking soon, helped.

We saw how the social media posts shared by the presenters reached a much larger and much more precise audience of our niche audience than the digital ads provided. Organic engagement for the win!

  • Cyber and Space Security Conference “Influencer”

As in other sectors, space has its own trendsetters. So we worked with space expert Remco Timmermans, who amplified the space conference on his channels (Twitter and LinkedIn). Again, the best way to reach a niche audience is to collaborate and leverage private media owned by those who have a prior relationship with the audience. 

  • Broadcasts

The aim of the Broadcast series was to generate prior interest in the conference, introduce the topics to be covered at the event and support ticket sales for the conference. META, in collaboration with Marathon Studios, filmed a total of three episodes on various conference-related topics.

– Cyber Exercises and Space – Silver Lodi (Spaceit), Lauri Kimmel (Spaceit), Silver Saks (NATO CCDCOE) – Cyber Security on Earth and in Space – Marily Hendrikson (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications), David Ferguson (ScotlandIS).  

– Space Traffic Management -Paul Liias (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications), Kai-Uwe Schrogl (ESA, German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy). 

Media coverage in Postimees newspaper

RESULTS

400

participants at the conference

24 000

people reached about the event

50

different countries, where articipants were from

8419

people reached about the Hackathon event

15

team took part of the hackathon

Meta team

Anni Türkson Junior Consultant

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