The Great Norwegian Encyclopedia

Over half a million unique users visited Aschehoug and Gyldendal publishing house’s web-based Great Norwegian Encyclopedia one week after the launch. After three weeks, the webpage was one of Norway’s 50 most visited.

In 2009, Aschehoug and Gyldendal publishing house’s Great Norwegian Encyclopedia was published on the internet as an open and free collection of knowledge, that both included a quality assured segment and a segment that opened for user participation. Much of GNE’s value as a brand lies in the encyclopedia’s historical credibility as the country’s most reliable source of knowledge, and it was important to position GNE in relation to Google and Wikipedia. During the spring, Geelmuyden.Kiese carried out a PR-campaign with a several goals: to achieve a large degree of national visibility, traffic and recruitment of subject experts, as well as encouraging debate around safe searching on the internet.

Just as the news that the encyclopedia was being transferred from book to internet was released, two months before the project started, we took advantage of other media potential and target groups. We created heavy media coverage, despite having used the original news potential earlier in the process.

It was decided to use PR as the main tool and combine high visibility with segmented message communication through three phases. In the first phase we focused on consolidating involvement and recruitment of contributors through local mass mobilization.

The next phase was a national launch focusing on the culture elite and a knowledge debate. Both the prime minister and other profiled persons fronted the launch. The encyclopedia’s national significance and the importance of building a common knowledge heritage were emphasized.

In the last launch phase, focus was directed towards academic and teaching environments, to make GNE a natural part of daily internet use and a superior alternative to Wikipedia etc. In collaboration with the ideal media organization BarneVakten, it was documented that 8 out of 10 teachers were in need of further training to be able to guide students in the use of the internet as a fact source. In the end, there was a call for subject experts throughout trade media.

The campaign delivered in all aspects. It resulted in an unusually large media impression (over 200 articles, 33 radio features and 6 TV features), broad debate around informational quality online, 500 000 unique visitors the first month and 400 new subject experts that came forward to serve in the campaign period.