Marketing Space: Conversations With A NASA Visual Strategist

Marketing Space: Conversations With A NASA Visual Strategist
SHARE
THIS



Chris Edwards, director of programming and content at Ad:Tech – an exhibition of marketing, technology and media – sat down with NASA visual strategist, Dan Goods to figure out how on earth he goes about marketing outer space.

Goods’s philosophy is all about creating moments in people’s lives where they can interact with something beautiful, meaningful, and profound. He works for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he heads up a creative strategy team developing everything from art pieces that expose people to the wonders of the universe to brainstorming NASA missions of the future. His work is seen in public spaces, art museums and  outer space.

Q: What role does experience play in marketing space?

I think we all gravitate towards moments that are special and unique. If you’re in retail and you’re just creating a normal store, people may not think one way or the other about you, but if you create an experience, you’ll stand out. The difference between watching something online where millions can see it versus going into a physical space where there’s physicality and your other senses are activated. There’s something about that. You have to ask yourself, do you want to impact lots of people in a little way or less people in a bigger way?

Q: You’re working at NASA jet propulsion labs as their lead visual strategist, how do you get a bunch of people in white coats excited about infra-red lights and multimedia platforms to show what space is like?

My way of telling stories is different to their way of telling stories. They work on really complicated stuff and if you can’t tell your story, you can’t get funding and miscommunication can occur. They could see that I can tell stories in a way that is meaningful. Whenever JPL is trying to win a new mission, I’m involved in the pitches and there are some really high stakes, like a $500 million or $1 billion mission. I want us to be known as a place of creative insights.

Q: How did you prove to a group of white coat propeller heads – being a visual artist – that you were of value to them?

I was shocked that they said, “show us what you can do”, so I got to work. A few people were wondering who I was and wondering what an artist was doing working there and why they were paying him money, but over time they saw I had a true respect for what they were doing and once they saw what I was doing, they started having a respect for me too. In the last couple of years, my role has really taken off, I have all these extra people working for me.

Q: What is a visual strategist?

I deal with experiences, whether it’s a printed piece or an art piece, whether it’s the flow through a building, or a new facility. Those are various things we work on – anything with a visal sense to it. It’s also about helping a person to understand their environment better.

Q: Do you pinch yourself when you see people experience something you created?

We worked on these exoplanet posters. They’re in CNN, Newsweek, Gizmodo, The Verge. So we’ve been finding all these planets, but it’s tricky to find them. We came up with an idea – we loved the travel posters from the 30s and 40s – so we thought, what if we made travel posters to planets? We did one and it’s headline was: Where Your Shadow Has Company.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 9.06.29 pm

Q: When people experience these posters, what do you want them to do next?

It’s amazing how people actually get into them. On one level, they think they’re cool but then they start thinking, why in the world are our trees green? Because somewhere else in the universe, if there was grass, it wouldn’t be green. It’s really about getting people interested in the universe. I like creating experiences where people have a moment of awe about the universe we live in. We talk about this thing called, ‘sneaking up on learning’ – which means creating mysterious, interesting things that people are drawn to, you may not know what it is when you first see it, but it gets you asking questions. So then you’re ripe for learning. Everything we create for NASA is all about ‘sneaking up on learning.’

Dan graduated valedictorian from the graphic design program at Art Center College of Design. He was recently selected as “One of the most interesting people in Los Angeles” by the LA Weekly. Dan currently lives in South Pasadena with his wife and three kids.

*This story wouldn’t be possible without our friends at Ad:Tech

Latest News

Enero Agencies Team Up To Reveal What Makes A Brand Truly Great
  • Marketing

Enero Agencies Team Up To Reveal What Makes A Brand Truly Great

Insight and strategy consultancy The Leading Edge has conducted research into what makes a brand great. In partnership with its sister Enero group agencies Hotwire and Orchard, the report identifies five specific roads that take brands from good to great to greatness. The findings reveal that brands which encompass greatness have five distinct qualities: passionate vision, a sense […]

HP & Planet Ark Help Aussies Face Up To Plastic Pollution With Monster Installation
  • Campaigns

HP & Planet Ark Help Aussies Face Up To Plastic Pollution With Monster Installation

Australia is home to some of the deadliest predators in the world. But nothing has posed a greater threat to our environment and marine life than single-use plastic. A new report by HP and Planet Ark released last week found that Aussies rate marine plastic pollution as their top concern when it comes to environmental […]

HP & Spikes Asia Announce Finalists Of ‘Young Spikes Design Competition’
  • Media

HP & Spikes Asia Announce Finalists Of ‘Young Spikes Design Competition’

Ten teams of young creatives will vie for the prestigious Young Spikes Design Competition Award at Spikes Asia 2018, a three-day festival of creativity held between 26-28 September 2018. The competition garnered 123 submissions – the most of any Young Spikes competition – from executives aged 30 and under across the Asia Pacific and Japan. […]

Director Appointment Strengthens Corporate Affairs Specialist Wilkinson Butler
  • Media

Director Appointment Strengthens Corporate Affairs Specialist Wilkinson Butler

Corporate affairs agency Wilkinson Butler is delighted to welcome Nick Albrow to join its board as a director. Albrow joins chairman Peter Wilkinson and managing director Andrew Butler as the business builds on its reputation as one of the leading crisis and issues firms in Australia. Joining in September 2017 as an account director, Albrow has […]

Mastercard Marketing Chief Sarah Pike Exits
  • Marketing

Mastercard Marketing Chief Sarah Pike Exits

Mastercard marketing boss Sarah Pike has exited. Sadly, not via a half-pike somersault with twist, but the actual exit.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Adobe Appoints New ANZ Marketing Director
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Adobe Appoints New ANZ Marketing Director

Adobe announces new ANZ marketing 'big cheese' who's set to go by the title of marketing director and not Queen Gouda.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Publicis Media Agencies Named ‘Leaders’ By Independent Research Firm
  • Media

Publicis Media Agencies Named ‘Leaders’ By Independent Research Firm

Publicis Media agencies Zenith and Starcom were named a ‘Leader’ and a ‘Strong Performer’, respectively, in The Forrester Wave: Global Media Agencies, Q3 2018. Both agencies were among the select companies that Forrester invited to participate in this evaluation of the media agency landscape. Zenith received the second-highest score in the ‘Strategy’ and ‘Current Offering’ […]