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Quantum2 Community of Practice
Since the 2004 SLA Annual Conference in Nashville, Tenn., Communities of Practice have been a hot topic of discussion on SLA communications. Dialog and SLA are partnering to offer the Quantum2 Community of Practice dedicated to leadership development for information professionals. Quantum2 members are invited to join to share ideas and best practices for topics such as defining the value of information services and gaining visibility with management. This community is available to all SLA members. Find out more about joining the Dialog Community of Practice.
Packaging Your Information Services:
Creating an identity for the information resource center (IRC) and its products is an exercise in branding. In the context of packaging, let's touch on some of the ways to create a consistent image and brand identity package in order to build awareness and recognition.
Packaging is about not only how you put together and present information products and services, but also about the people who provide the service. First, think about the current business identity for the IRC — you have one even if you haven't worked specifically to create it. The current identity is made up of every customer touch plus the image conveyed by the IRC staff. The way that everyone serves the customer projects an image. For example, when answering the phone, are people formal or folksy? Are they consistent in using the IRC name? Do they recommend additional services or respond just to the immediate request? Of course, different people behave differently, which means that the customer experience varies as well. How staff members dress can also send a message — is it casual, corporate, trendy? The important point about dress is to "match" corporate culture, so that your customers will feel comfortable in your presence.
Another important aspect of packaging is unifying the package components through consistent use of visual cues such as color, graphics, or formatting and these can be conveyed through IRC communications and by the IRC's products themselves. Some examples of this are:
A few familiar examples of a defining message or tag line are SLA's "Putting Knowledge to Work" and Dialog's "Information to Change the World." A team exercise to create a defining message can be a great way to get the staff thinking about what is the most important message about the IRC to communicate to the rest of the organization.
In short, everything generated by the information service should have some common identifying features. The immediate goal is to create a recognizable visual image that conveys the message "brought to you by the IRC" with every customer touch. Over time, as your persistent identity becomes known for the quality and characteristics of your overall package, you will find that it conveys additional messages to the customer such as reliability, accuracy, quality or trusted source. Your business identity then becomes a composite of all these elements.
As always, your suggestions for workshop topics are always welcome and encouraged. If you know a friend or colleague who would benefit from Quantum2, please encourage them to sign up today.