Answer: They all include animals, kids, tell a universal story, and/or include great music, but what makes them iconic is they made you laugh. Laughter is memorable and in remembering a commercial, you remember the product.
Laughter is the single most powerful marketing tool we have. We want folks to remember the library when they need to: write a business plan, know about a drug side effect, discover when their grandma immigrated to Canada, or are simply bored and want something to read. The easiest way to accomplish that is to make us memorable and the easiest way to become memorable is to make folks laugh! By having a pleasurable connection to the library customers will call on us in times of need.
The next time you design a poster, send out a Tweet or write a press release, ask yourself, how can I make the library memorable?
Making our customers laugh and remember us is not frivolous, it is simply good business. LOL!
Kitty Pope #20 May 2013
May we all be Hanks! KP
At the risk of sounding like a commercial, I love Findaway World, a privately-held company established in June 2004 . They are the innovative folks who developed self-contained pre-recorded audio and video books for libraries, schools and the military. Their mission is to simplify technology and create products that provide immediate access to content. They even sound like geekie librarians!!!!
Most librarians already know about their audio product called Playaways, of which GPL has 700 titles (the two most popular being Wayne Dyer’s Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life and Life of Pi by Yann Martel)
Findaway World also has a new video product called PlayawayView, which are self-contained videos for adults and kids. In Guelph (a community of 123,000 in southwestern Ontario) they are steadily growing in popularity, particularly with the K-to grade 4 group, folks who travel, and seniors in hospital. We have 300 View titles and a standing order for 16 new titles per month.
Our most popular kid’s View title is Sid the Science Kid: Weather, which is no surprise to me as Canadians are weather crazy!! At a cost of $99 and with 13 circulations in 3 months, I anticipate Sid will have a a lifetime circulation of 80 – 125 or less than $1/use over 2 years. I consider this a good return on investment, as the average book return on investment is approximately $1.10 over 27 circulations.
The most popular adult Views interestingly include:
● old black and white TV series like Dragnet
● comedies like The Lucy Show
● and of course the National Geographic titles are huge with all ages.
But, what interests me most is Findaway World’s innovate marketing. The first hint comes from their Circulation Station website which is interactive and rich with content and support. They understand libraries and our limited budgets, so there are great do-it-yourself resources.
But, they are also constantly on the lookout for new innovative marketing ideas. For example, last month instead of a Findaway Library Advisory Board meeting, they sent us all a thank you and a link to a downloadable Starbucks coupon for a free coffee on them! What a great idea! Just think of how many ways we could use that idea to thank board members, book sale volunteers, or encouraging the great work of a staff member.
Thanks Findaway World for yet another great marketing idea.
Kitty Pope #19 May 2013
In a recent Employee Retention and Vacancy Report the average employee turnover rate in large non-profits was over 15% and in smaller ones it was nearly 25%. For smaller libraries like the Guelph Public Library with 80 FTE and 7 facilities, serving a community of 123,000 this is a real issue. How do we attract and then keep the brightest library talent?
To attract and retain the best and the brightest we need to:
►Actively meet the unique needs of Generation X &Y employees. Among the most important expectations of these young employees are: more flexible working hours, more collaboration and team work plus access to the latest technology. Luckily these are all things libraries thrive on providing.
►Young library leaders want to develop their skills and abilities now. So programs like special assignments, mentoring, networking opportunities and performance evaluations are really important tools for them to broaden their skills, gain valuable feedback and build a career. Unlike many of us Boomers, these library workers are actually planning their career path.
►Use the libraries strategic plan to empower young talent to be part of the ongoing innovations and developments that are moving the library forward. For example, if in 2013 one of your goals is to re-brand the library, include Gen X and Y staffers in the process… they will have a totally different view on how the library should be marketed in 2013!! This type of inclusion builds job satisfaction and satisfied staff stay and thrive.
►Succession planning is more than simply a replacement strategy for retiring employees. Good succession planning fosters career development, retains knowledge capital, builds leadership, invites team work, and provides employees with a view of the future that they can embrace and impact in a very real way.
►Lead by example. The brightest and best are committed to a library where the leadership is hard working, passionate, innovative and trustworthy. The brightest stay where they are challenged with great ideas, included in the design as well as the implementation of change, and are appreciated for what they bring to the party. They stay because we offer them something no other library can. But most of all, they stay and flourish when library leadership is inspirational, inclusive and fun.
The best and the brightest stay when they find folks like themselves!
Kitty Pope #18 May 2013
However, in a recent study, 250 Canadian CEO’s said their supervisors spent over 25% of their time supervising under-performing staff. Over 50% of CEO’S also said under-performing employees negatively impacted the rest of the staff who resent the poor performer or were frustrated as they felt obliged to do or redo their work.
This leads me to reaffirm my commitment to the importance of three management tools that we in library land often overlook:
●Probationary periods… need to be established at the time of hire and consistently monitored. I have found that a 2 month probationary period (the preference of most unions) is simply not long enough. A 3-4 month period, carefully monitored will usually provide a clearer sense of the employee’s organizational fit abilities and work ethic. And, it is important to note that a probationary period can always be extended.
●Performance evaluations…if an under-performer has slipped through their probationary period, the annual performance review is a good way to draw a line in the sand and clearly outline measurable improvement targets (i.e. draft report due by July 4th, over 30 books processed per hour…). The key here is, just like the probationary period, it has to be monitored; this is not an independent study or do it yourself project. If your library doesn’t have a performance evaluation program, no matter how big or small your library, this should be your highest priority. How can staff improve, feel good about their work and move ahead if they don’t know how they have done and where they are headed?
●Coaching sessions…are when the supervisor, employee and usually an HR person meet to review the impact their under-performance is having on their peers and the organization. The goal of this meeting is to get the employee back on track…this is really important so I will repeat it …the goal of this meeting is to get the employee back on track and plan how to improve performance. At the end of the meeting, they usually agree to meet in 4-6 weeks to review progress. A letter is then issued outlining the discussion, plan of action and possible consequences if performance does not improve. In most cases this is the most effective way to get the under-performing employee quickly back on track. The good news is the more coaching session you do as a supervisor, the better you become at encouraging better employee performance.
Poorly performing employees damage moral and are a huge waste of time and money but with a monitored probationary period, measurable performance evaluations or productive coaching sessions, they can improve and become a valued part of the library team.
Kitty Pope #17 April 2013