On 12 November the Brand Scotland team took part in BIMA’s Digital Day in three schools across Scotland’s central belt.
If you don’t know what Brand Scotland is, we’re the team who run the Scotland is Now marketing platform and coordinate the collaborative efforts of our national organisations to promote Scotland as a great place to live, work, study, visit and do business with.
What better way to put our brand values into practice?
Some of our brand values are creativity, generosity of spirit and determination – so what better way to put those into practice than getting involved with Digital Day to inspire the next generation of Scotland’s digital marketers?
Along with my colleagues Mark (our Senior Brand Manager) and Seonaid (our Social Media Lead) we were at Boroughmuir High School in Edinburgh, speaking to a group of 30 students for the session.
The Boroughmuir High School team (left to right Laura, Seonaid and Mark).
These pupils were from two computing classes and already had a good understanding of website functionality, wireframes and basic coding – all skills we were about to see put into practice over the school day.
First off, we began by explaining a bit about Brand Scotland and the range of roles it requires. We have a core team bringing in skills from public sector organisations like the Scottish Government, VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise, as well as a wider network of partners including digital agencies such as Whitespace.
The students were engaged and eager. Mark, Senior Brand Manager
To highlight this, we talked the students through some of the content we create and how our brand values weave through this media. As the whole point of Digital Day was to expand pupils’ awareness of careers in digital – it’s not just IT! – we made sure to underline the importance of video production, social media management, user experience and copywriting to our team and the content we publish.
Despite this being an easy opening ‘ask’ – literally to explain what we do! – my colleague Mark notes how this was slightly out of our usual meeting room comfort zone. “I must admit I started the day with a little bit of nerves, with an image in my head of the teacher from the Ferris Bueller film continually asking questions with no response from the class. However, those apprehensions melted away almost instantly when I saw how engaged and eager everyone was.”
From there it was time to let the students sink their teeth into the main part of the day – the challenges, which were to devise a digital solution to one of the below tasks:
• Encourage more young people to play sport
• Remove plastic pollution from our oceans
• Make more teenagers aware of careers in digital.
Between creating mockups on Balsamiq of their app, storyboarding videos or devising prototypes of an AI ocean robot, the students’ focus and creativity with the task was incredibly impressive. Not only that, but at the end of the day, they gave thoughtful and focused presentation pitches (and some even fielded some very Dragons-Den-esque questions).
It wasn’t just the three of us at Boroughmuir that were inspired by the next generation – my colleagues at two other Scottish schools gave similar feedback.
I hope the experience was as rewarding for them as it was for me. Rob, Customer Journey Lead
Rob, our Customer Journey Lead and Senior Brand Manager, was at Eastwood High School in Newton Mearns near Glasgow with S2 students who had chosen the Digital Day session as an elective. He noted how important the session is to increase awareness of digital careers with students.
“It was fantastic to have the opportunity to bust some myths about working in digital. Most of the students thought it was all about IT and coding.”
Our content designer Rachel was at Eastwood with Rob for the day. She said: “They were all interested in what we had to say about our jobs, Brand Scotland and what it takes to build a career in digital. They asked a lot of questions and were generally engaged within their groups when it came to thinking up ideas for the challenges.
Nat (centre) and Mike (extreme right) from Brand Scotland alongside agency colleagues.
“As time wound on, the energy in the room really ramped up, as the pupils’ competitive edge came out. Watching their ideas from inception to their final presentations was a real joy and I was impressed with what they came up with and developed with the little time they had.”
And I think our head of digital experience Nat’s comments are a rather perfect conclusion to our Digital Day summary:
“I was really hoping to inspire some first years to consider a career in digital, but I ended up being inspired myself. Our 120 first years were engaged, enthusiastic and super creative. Some of the ideas they came up with to solve global issues were sparked by imagination with the insight only a young person could have about the world around us.”
From approaching the challenges in innovative, future-proof ways to showing their passion for important topics like plastic pollution, each of us were impressed by the students in our three secondary schools. And in a quick feedback session, the pupils called Digital Day "fun" and "creative" as well as highlighting how much they'd enjoyed working "in a team with people from other classes."
It’s safe to say that if these students are the future of Scotland’s digital industry, then we’ll be in great hands.
Discover more from Brand Scotland on Scotland.org and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.