See it fly: Students develop marketing and merchandising ideas for ESA

Fashion design students from Hamburg Campus and management students from Leipzig Campus get to collaborate with a very special industry partner this semester: guided by project initiator Prof. Claudia Damm and Prof. Dr. Hagen Habicht, they will work with ESA, the European Space Agency. Their mission: to develop clever ideas for merchandising products and raise the visibility of the ESA brand among the German public.

Raising awareness for the ESA brand

“I encountered a lot of young people wearing NASA T-shirts on the street this summer. Why are they wearing NASA prints and not ESA prints, I thought. Wouldn’t that be much more appropriate? I pursued this thought and contacted ESA. Now we’re working to change that,” says Prof. Claudia Damm, professor of fashion design at the Hamburg campus.

Besides ESA and ESA Space Shop the company Spreadshop contributes to the industry collaboration. Spreadshop provides companies with the infrastructure and logistics to host their own merchandising online store.

Developing prototypes for the ESA merchandising

In the project with the Macromedia students and ESA, Spreadshop will work closely with the fashion design students to advise them on best practices and produce prototypes for ESA merchandising.

For both groups of students, the first step is to understand the ESA brand and its unique characteristics.

The kickoff meeting with the project partners helped the students to develop a good sense of the peaceful mission of this pan-European organisation, which, with its 22 Member States, seeks to shape the development of Europe’s space capabilities and ensure that investment in space continues to benefit the citizens of Europe and the world.

Conducting a netnography

The management students then go one step further: “What is necessary for a space agency to reach the centre of society? How can the broad approval of NASA, for example, be explained – and what kind of communicative activation suits ESA? We will provide answers to these questions with a so-called netnography,” says Hagen Habicht.

The results of the market research provide important clues for the work of the fashion designers. They suggest which aspects of the ESA narrative are particularly suitable for mobilising the public and should be emphasised accordingly in the designers’ designs.

The students at Macromedia University are now working on their assignments; the presentation of the concepts to the customer and the production of prototypes is scheduled in January 2023.

The countdown has started.

Note: The project takes place with the recognition of the European Space Agency (ESA). The European Space Agency has not received any financial compensation for this initiative.