You can change your life at the Orange County Library System (OCLS)
Since the OCLS became a Mindspot Client we have learned that you can learn to fly, record an album, be entertained or take advantage of a plethora of ways to improve your life at the library. You may think saying that you can change your life at the library is a bit of marketing puffery, but it’s not. It’s a real opportunity.
The OCLS helps people find jobs every day. They have smart people who work there and can help you learn to write a resume, learn a language, and improve your computer skills. You can learn to read or fix a car. The breadth and depth of their service offers is nothing short of astounding.
For example, downtown at the Melrose Center on the second floor of the main library there are flight simulators, a recording studio, a video production studio and people who can help you make it happen. It’s a co-working space for Millennials. I see them. They are finding the library. The world has evolved to a collaboration economy and these digital natives are looking for opportunities to meet other people like them. What better way to meet someone you have something in common with than attending an event, class, lecture or concert at the library?
The OCLS offers life skills classes that help people learn basic financial management. You can learn to sew and knit at the library in what they now call their “maker spaces.” There are yoga classes and story times for children.
The online access you can get by having a library card is equivalent to what large corporations and colleges have only better in many cases. You can get access to many of the top databases to take classes online such as Lynda.com. To learn more about these resources click here and prepare to be #mindblown.
Here’s the catch. It’s FREE. And, that’s part of the problem. Some people think it’s too good to be true. And, if we didn’t have you at ‘changing your life’ – they still have books and eBooks and yes they’re free too.
With all of these free products, services and nice, friendly people to help you, then why would The Orange County Library System (OCLS) even consider hiring a strategic consulting firm like Mindspot? Well, it turns out that things have changed over the years, and people don’t often realize that the libraries have kept up with the pace of that change! People still think of books and don’t realize that libraries have evolved and are now a technology hub and often the heart and soul and collaborative space for communities.
As a result they think of Amazon to buy a book before borrowing the free version. The OCLS has 16 locations and serves the 1.2 million residents of Orange County, Florida. Although the library system has an extensive collection and offers the most current technology, classes and other products and services, library card sign-ups and visitation were declining. Classes that were offered get great reviews; however, they were not always full.
The OCLS was looking to develop a new Strategic Marketing Plan for this next year that would increase library card registrations and build a viable base of users for the future.
Using a Customer Centric approach Mindspot conducted observational research. Multiple locations were selected, and library visitors were observed and In-depth Interviews were completed. Online Focus Groups with those library visitors and non-library visitors were conducted to gain a better understanding of how the library is viewed and to consider possible ideas for the future.
A formal survey instrument was developed to statistically analyze consumer behaviors, and measure levels of awareness and interest for various services. This survey was deployed in both English and Spanish. The process was inclusive and iterative and the Team at Mindspot worked with the Management Team at the OCLS to disseminate and share the research with library personnel.
The Strategic team at Mindspot conducted a series of workshops with Employees of the OCLS and gathered input to develop a strategic plan for the next 1, 3 and 5 years. Other progressive Library Directors were interviewed to learn what is working well in their markets and their vision for the future.
The OCLS now has an in-depth understanding of consumer behaviors, while segmentation and statistical analysis validated formed hypotheses and evaluated strategies for inducing positive change. Mindspot provided strategic recommendations for re-positioning and messaging and collaborated with the OCLS to develop objective data-driven marketing strategies.
A comprehensive strategic plan is now being prepared and actions put in place that will help the OCLS become top-of-mind in the consideration set of visitors and potential visitors.
Positive results are already being measured with class sizes increasing and usage of resources also improving. More relevant communication is in process and the Orange County Library System has redesigned their website and web portal based on Consumer Insights provided by Mindspot. It’s an evolution and not a revolution and let’s start with you.
Walk into a library. The OCLS isn’t the only library with a lot to offer. Go get or renew a library card. If you haven’t been to a library since you were a kid, I encourage you to get in touch with your inner child. If you don’t have a library card and are a resident of Orange County, Florida, you can sign up to get one here OR visit the location closest to you.
Written by Lynnette Leathers, CEO of Mindspot, Inc. and Chief Blogger
Contact Lynnette and Mindspot