The Purpose

Founded in 1670 as a physic garden to grow medicinal plants, The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) now spans four sites across Scotland. Each location contains its own specialist collection. In total, the RBGE’s living collection consists upwards of 13,000 different species. A hub for biodiversity, botanical research, and conservation, the gardens delight and educate visitors from around the world.

As an executive non-departmental public body, the RBGE is expected to contribute to the Scottish Government’s National Outcomes. To assist with their strategic business goals and plans for the future, consultant Bernard Marr crafted an evaluation of the RBGE’s current organizational strategy.

Using Marr’s work as a foundation, in this project I align business goals and vision to define a central content strategy that will provide the RBGE with clarity and a strong sense of direction.

The Challenge

As identified by Bernard Marr, the RBGE uses a specific strategic framework, centered around a performance management approach, to facilitate the execution of their content. All pieces of content should call back to the identified pillars of biodiversity, education, enterprise, environmental sustainability, and visitor attraction.

These asks, along with other details described in Marr’s work, led me to create the following business goals for RBGE:


Raising public awareness about the environment through education, particularly to youths


Demonstrating and promoting the importance of environmental sustainability and biodiversity


Contributing to the Scottish economy through revenue from tourism and local events

The Process

Now that I knew the priority business goals, I could start formulating content objectives, KPIs (key performance indicators), and metrics that aligned to both the core pillars of the organization and the 3 identified goals above.

Walkthrough of the RGBE website homepage

But before creating actual content recommendations, I had to understand who would be engaging with it and those groups’ unique needs. After consulting with Marr’s work and conducting a comprehensive content audit on their website and social media channels, I was able to determine the following groups as target audiences:

  • The Scottish Government: Largest supporter and overarching driver for the RGBE
  • The Scottish Youth: The next generations of environmental stewards and climate change activists
  • The Tourists: The revenue drivers for the RGBE who make up the majority of online and on-site traffic

From there, it was possible to develop a core strategy statement and messaging framework to guide the creation of content in a way that makes sense for their users, while still hitting upon the larger business objectives.

The Conclusions

With about 350 years of history, there is no shortage of content for the RGBE to serve its audiences. While the website does well with aligning to the goals of the Scottish Government, their social media content leaves something to be desired. The following recommendations could be implemented to ensure valuable future content:

  • Conduct user research and create personas for social media to define audiences
  • Align content to the pillars of education, sustainability, and community
  • Consider slight website modifications to heighten searchability, readability, and user confidence

View the full RGBE analysis below