The Shifted Librarian -

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* Friday, January 20, 2006

20060120 OCLC Symposium: Extreme Makeover - Rebranding an Industry

OCLC is going to podcast this ALA Midwinter event

“Extreme Expert Panel” – if we were going to remake libraries

see extreme makeovers of information everywhere – retail, on the web, in commercial spaces all around us
the “Amazoogle” Makeover – “My life”, accessible, immediate, “in culture,” interactive
imagine an “extreme makeover” of libraries
background from the OCLC Perceptions report:
– 20,000 personal stories of what people think about libraries (international, across all age groups)
– almost all of the people had visited a public library
– users said “worthwhile information” was most important in the survey (yeah, right)

Omar Wasow – “Library 2.0”
———————————
showed a bunch of pictures of library interiors and asked audience to shout out which ones they were
thesis: libraries must both inform and transform
– the experience of being in a library can be as important as the information available
– libraries can continue to be successfl by focusing on their unique strengths to recomit to their core services

library brand stands for books; facilities also important
what is the opportunity of having these facilities that is perhaps not appreciated by libraries?
p. 6–6 of the Perceptions report – need to improve the physical experience of libraries

technology is transforming out institutions, but part of what is special about libraries is the experience – how do you identify that, give people a reason to come, put that in the brand; it’s about those things that libraries do well

became interested in tech because of Donkey Kong! part of the Atari Generation – started playing video games in junior high school, snuck out during lunch
“I thought I would grow up to be a VIC 20 programmer, so you probably should take what I say with a grain of salt because obviously I’m not good at predicting the future”

people don’t want to come and have a passive experience – they want something that engages them in a different way, particularly when you look at it in a generational way; 57% of teenagers have published their own content on the internet (Pew study); they’re participating as content creators, not just as consumers; the library shouldn’t just be a place to consume information, but to participate as well

at the heart of Omar’s sites is that they gave the users the tools to talk amongst themselves, not the owners talking at them

half of the people in the room have used the web but not published to it, which means they don’t have the experience that these users (especially the younger generation) have
are you information people or are you helping to transform them?

service to transformation?
the experience of being in a library can be as important as the information available

cites “The Experience Economy” and the four stages of economic evolution (the last one being “From Experience to Transformation” – “product is a changed person”)
– standards of what is minimally acceptable keep going up; their experience (like FEDEX compared to the Post Office) begins to pale in comparison; libraries have to compete with general service standards improving
“we were into things, but now we’re into experiences” (we have enough stuff)
example of coffee that ranges from a sack of coffee beans as a commodity to a cup at a diner as a service to a tasting class as a transformation

how does a library transform? the product is a changed person (the interent is making general users librarians
– someone who can better navigate oceans of information as a result of assistance and training; need to teach our users via training and classes to make people deputy librarians
– someone who has made progress on a vital task by finding peace from the hubbub outside; this isn’t something we advertise but should
– someone who has been energized about exciting ideas through a speaker series or performance; libraries can become the platform where people/communities come together
– someone who feels more deeply connected to his or her community by participating in an event

“my library is a wonderful place to read, write, think and reflect?” – asked audience, who said yes (69%)
need to advertise this more
if your library doesn’t have a popular lecture series, he thinks this is a missed opportunity

“technology transforms real estate” – ATMs as examples that have hollowed out banks; Google might change peoples’ relationship with information, but that creates new opportunities for libraries
“to succeed, libraries must embrace that they’re also Temples of Thought” – a “public park for your brain”

“in an era of information abundance, access is not enough – have to keep offering tools, wisdom and transformative experiences so their members can develop critical thinking and research skills”


Jennifer Rice – “Rebranding the Library in the Internet Age”
———————————————————————
“What’s yourbrand mantra” blog

currently reading “Seeing what’s next” by Clayton Christensen – how theories of innovation predict industry change
that message is all about what libraries are facing right now

the point is change happens and it happens faster than we think; we all love our comfort zones, like the way we’ve always done things, but then look up and the world has changed and you think “I’m not so relevant anymore” – how do we stay relevant and not get blindsided by change

everyone will agree we’re about books, but we’re about so much more than just books; and yet, the Perceptions report is all about books; 80% of people go to Google first for information
– if you think of your business as information, you should be concerned; need to be about more than just that
Google loves our “sandbox” (just look at their mission statement); the big bully that wants to play in our sandbox – can’t fight him or ignore him… be friends with him? go play in a different sandbox?

brand = reputation (an idea formed in the minds of your constituents that is created by what you say – marketing – and do)
what is the “something” we want to be known for?  intersection of what can you do (deliverable) that people desire that is unique?

5 major consumer trends that impact everyone, including libraries
—————————————————————————
1. convenience (I want what I want, and I want it right NOW); Jennifer hasn’t stepped in a library since college; personal story: tried to get a library card online, but couldn’t, got lost going to the library because the directions on the website were wrong, then she had to wait in line for forms, filled them out, librarians wouldn’t take them because address on form didn’t match her license; would have given up right there if wasn’t speaking here today; was amazed at the databases she could use – need to market more to small businesses; should be more concerned about NetFlix more than Google because of the convenience factor – would pay $20 a month for unlimited books;
2. Community (“the grassroots economy”); the command control, top-down method to a huge grassroots economy of people co-creating content; noted “Bowling Alone” - “social bonds are the most powerful predictor of life satisfaction”… yet we’re more disconnected than ever; huge pent-up demand to come together as communities online; need to rethink ourselves as hosts or facilitators of community
  – online
    – forums and blogs
    – open source
    – customer ratings and opinions
    – customer-created content & products
    – “ask an expert”
  – offline
    – “stay awhile”
    – comfortable seating
    – internet access
    – educational classes
    – beverages

3. Empowerment (“I want to learn it and do it myself”) – doing our own travel reservations, divorces, home improvement, stock trading, medical diagnoses, etc.; want to learn how to do these things ourselves, not have someone else do it; don’t hoard this spot because your users want this job; when they stop having fun with it, they would love to delegate it back to you (eg, Home Depot’s slogan is “You can do it and we can help”)
4. Choice (age of abundance; “I’ve got to have options” but there are so many); book “Choice Maximizers” – how many products are in an average grocery store? 40,000! used to be 4,000 50 years ago; plethora of stuff, but we want to make sure we have the RIGHT stuff; we love our choices, but it’s a huge paradox that we feel overwhelmed by all of the options
  remedies
    – outsource to experts
    – remember my choices
    – get recommendations; two-step process: here are your options and let me help you choose
convenience and choice trump free these days; free is only important to people who are constrained in their resources – everyone else is willing to pay
5. Experience – “wow me” – this is the age of being wowed; new word-of-mouth marketing association because everyone is now fighting to get the buzz, the word-of-mouth; your actions are your marketing, it’s no longer just about your ads; also cites “The Experience Economy”
  the internet is the greatest force for commoditization known to man for both goods and services, but it can’t commoditize experience because it’s sensory
    – sounds, touch, smell, taste, sight, service; think about the senses in your library
“great brands are trendy” – cool helps, but it’s not everything; most great brands will meet all five of these trends

soooo, Google: where they stumble is that they don’t have that sense of community and in experience
so where is the opportunity for libraries in those five trends? audience says it’s in experience and then community
it’s not about ignoring the other three (they’re not optional)
she sees the opportunity in our sense of community (inherently a local community resource – start there and build on strengths) and then experience
fill in the blanks with things with teamwork (like Google – it’s not an enemy, it’s just a tool, so use that and help people learn how to use it); we have a marvelous opportunity to use resources that have already been developed to fill in some of these blanks
ONLINE LIBRARY CARDS! – doesn’t want to hear all of the reasons we can’t do it

one idea might be a “community learning experience” rather than an “information experience” – maybe community play?


Patricia Martin – “Defending the Brand” (LitLamp in Chicago!)
———————————————
was stunned when interviewed businessmen and CEOs = “I don’t use libraries and no one does; I just use Google”
libraries are actually in the “best of times” because:
– disruptive competition drives innovation

Back to Basics:
1. is there a market out there?
2. do we have something special for them?
3. how do we tell them?

1. “Behold the rise of the RenGen” – the Renaissance Generation (her next book)
information superhighway —> knowledge economy —> knowledge society, which doesn’t exist in a vacuum; is supported by a culture
there is a formal delivery system for this knowledge culture, which libraries are part of, and it has some rules to it
there is also an informal delivery system that is growing faster than we are; it is driven by a new generation that sees the formal system we represent on a take-it-or-leave-it basis; they don’t need us unless we make them need us, and they are our future taxpayers; facing a generation that may not see us as essential

who are these people?
66.3% of Americans list “reading for pleasure” as their #1 leisure activity (SRDS Lifestyle Report, 2004)
they have a collective unconscious; “I have TBS – too busy syndrome” (Ellen De Generes); means RenGen does a lot of selecting OUT because they are informationally overloaded; their preference for learning is stories and pictures (narrative and video); they get a lot of this from the marketing world, but NOT from libraries (library newsletter as an example)

in 2003, 23% of mall shoppers browsed, compared to 37% in 2002
people browse for all of 10 minutes, so don’t think users have time to come in your library and browse for long periods of time

Psychographic: The Beautiful Mind — inner directed, imaginative, au courant, expressive
like to see themselves as mavericks, free thinkers; for these people, being “well-informed” is “social currency;” people seek them out for what is interesting
there is more creative output for this generation than any previously

65% of the people in this country are predisposed towards libraries – this is the BEST of times! “that’s some market share to go after!”

2. libraries have something
we have buildings, we’re engaging, we’re authentic (which is VERY important to RenGens), we’re local, and we have a superior price point
“you cannot defend a brand by promoting your features” – you have to get emotional; what is at the heart of why they turn to us?
showed FEDEX as a case study of defending the brand; they’re now in the “peace of mind” business; “a maniacal focus on customer service” (the delivery guys have to WASH THEIR HANDS as “part of the brand”)

3. how do we tell them?
libraries are in the “desire fulfillment” business
a brand is a relationship:
 – look, feel, words, events, friends and allies
but we’re busy and don’t have time
great slide of how we look to the RenGens – “come on in, we have everything!”
“the look: after” = marked items that are organized; “give me things to choose from, but narrow it down for me;” the library newsletter doesn’t help her narrow down choices
OCLC did the homework for us with the Perceptions report (it’s all of the market research)
– stories
– something just for me
– nothing but me and the books
– relax
– helpful
– solid
 – trustworthy
– feeling complete

RenGen Rule of Thumb: has to be authentic or extreme
Marshall Field’s/Target ar enot in the department store business – “our business is to delight”
great slide of the fashion show they did where the models walked down the side of a building

RenGen Rule of Thumb: Collaborate or Die!
plenty of ideas out there, no point in being a lone cowboy – if you find someone else’s engine, hop on!
32% of marketing executives surveyed plan to develop ties with “knowledge leisure” – that’s OUR business!

“Love at the Library Case” example her company did for libraries for Valentine’s Day
men hate Valentine’s Day
“Bad Books Event” meets monthly, kind of like a poetry slam; it’s competitive, you find the most purple, most over-the-top, badly written pulp fiction and you read from it, there are judges; get the local florist and jeweler to sponsor one about bad love fiction

asked major companies about the problem libraries face with branding and then boiled down the responses to:

3 simple acts
—————
– a friendly frontline (Starbucks; they hire only Type A personalities because they figure they don’t have to train them)
– work the floor (Home Depot; do not let that browser turn ugly on you)
– improve physical presence (P&G; )

http://www.litlamp.com/
RenGen spottings: Tell us your story
Green room pass code to get great paper about creating community
username and password required (contact me)


Antony Brewerton – “How I became an outgoing librarian”
———————————————————————
the best way to change stereotypes is at the local level
aim: to review some of Oxford Bookes University’s marketing activies in light of the Perceptions study

really liked the sample verbatim comments from the study; showed some of the comments about books
we can’t be just about books; there is a danger our users won’t use the rest of our resources
so created a campaign “It’s MORE than just books” for academic libraries in England

when asked about the “main purpose” of the library, themes of “free” and “information”
“it is many things to many people” – unfortunately don’t have time to talk about segmentation today

quote from Levitt in 1960 that railroads are in trouble because they didn’t fill the transportation needs themselves

negative associations with the library:
– grumpy librarians dead quietness
– musty book smell a mean librarian
– locak of particular books I want, no food or drink
– have to physically be at the library to use its resources
– not “cool” to go to the library, it’s for old people

positive associations with the library:
– good books helpful librarians
– good books. internet access
– people to ask for advice online
– free books. great place to meet chicks
– many resources, free to join
– quiet. lots of information stored in the building
– the smell. the amount of information available
– other than being shushed I loved it

if you could provide one piece of advice, what would it be?
– keep up the good work
– retain good customer service with qualified staff
– hire more cheerful workers (honestly, it seems as if they’re just waiting for 5 o’clock to roll around so they can go home and kill themselves)
– redecorate
– get more comfortable seating and get rid of the “no food an ddrinks policy so people will want to stay longer
– drag ourself into the present centuary!!!
– keep pushing for more funding
– take a bow
– you can still do better, there is always scope for improvement

marketing:
– advertise available services and resources
– be more visible – electronic means for announcements
– research user interests more
– reach out to non-readers
– try to make the librariand more outgoing

we are a communit yresource in the information game, but customers primarily think of libraries as buildings full of books

we get hooked up on the names and logos, but we need to do it and market (soul searching becomes navel gazing)

rest of session will look at these comments and how his libraries solved them

1. started a marketing group
28% of people in the room had no one responsible for marketing the library

in 1999, they restructured to use “functional groups” (“fun groups”)
– information skills group
– research support group
– web group
– WebCT group
– collection management group
– special collections group
– enquiry services group
– the marketing group (the most important!)

increasingly, marketing is about advocacy and talking upwards to those with the pursestrings
theory into practice

they have a planning cycle approach, and at the end of the year they put out an annual report (shows what they need to carry over into the following year)
“strategic context document”
– role/mission
– university objectives/strategic priorities
– environmental context
– how can we meet the challenges (user-centered services, more flexible workforce, infotech and systems, supporting the University’s academic portfolio, marketing)
– library service priorities for the year

Innovation!

2. research users’ interests more
started focus groups
showed posters for “what do you love about the library” and “what breaks your heart about the library?”
– example: have noise zones in their library, so did a campaign advertising the zones

3. re-branding
showed their old logo versus their new one
“a brand is the promise of a benefit”

this year’s poster is “finding information can be a piece of cake” with a picture of a piece of cake
had one campaign based on drinking – “fancy a swift one,” “mine’s a large one,” “get a head”
handed out coasters to the kids!!!!!!!!!!! (Jenny: shout-out to Zephyrites!) – “satisfy your thirst for knowledge”

4. outreach activities like “Freshers’ Fair”
“here to help you”

posters for the Fair (where the local commercial venues go after the freshmen; decided the library could do this, too, because it’s about grabbing some of their time)
– 24 hours party people
– the chillout zone
– the night club
– sorted

also used a Dracula theme

redid their website in 2001 and focused on this for that year’s “Fresher’s Fair”
theme centered on “inspiration – available now from the library”
used the apples for freebies and gave away stickers
you don’t need celebrities for brand endorsement – use your customers

“I think it’s wicked the library does this sort of thing!” – 2nd year undergraduate
– shows you can rebrand!

Update: You can now view the webcast or grab some MP3s of each speaker's presentation from the OCLC website.

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