Magazine article Online

What's in a Name?

Magazine article Online

What's in a Name?

Article excerpt

Names in general are a major part of your branding strategy whether you plan it this way or not.

Many of you are in a heavy planning cycle as you head into the new year. During this time, we get a lot of questions about average budgets and head count, content spending and vendor management--the kinds of questions that allow our clients to provide justification and insight into their own budgeting process. Lately we've also been getting a handful of questions about names. Yes, you read correctly--names. What's in a name? Everything. Your function's name sets the energy for who your group or function is, what it stands for, and how it is perceived. Names conjure up particular images for your organization or department and set expectations about the kind of services you provide. Names in general are a major part of your branding strategy whether you plan it this way or not. And lately we've seen a lot of center managers doing the name planning.

CHANGING FUNCTIONS: A CORPORATE EXAMPLE

We've researched and written about these roles in past columns and a recent study we did confirmed how they're at play. The study, a global needs assessment and information audit for a major corporation, was sponsored by the library that wanted to proactively plan and manage its future moves in the context of what their population needed. The results pointed to dramatic changes underfoot within their environment.

To quote from the report: "End-users have already begun to see a wider role for the library, less bound by traditional library functions. The bottom line is that users aren't asking for better reference services or a good hardcopy collection. Rather, they want the library to provide information to their desktops; help with internal information and experts, alerting services on selected topics, and high-value research services. From management's perspective, the library is seen as a source of content expertise that can be leveraged in the new intranet."

The findings from this study reaffirmed the desire of this center to shift its strategy and implement a makeover to more efficiently and effectively target services addressing the new roles the organization was clamoring for.

A few days after the report was delivered, the client was moving ahead aggressively on articulating future plans and roles in anticipation of a meeting with management on next steps. Over the transom came an email:

As part of my plan for moving forward, I am considering getting rid of the L-word and changing our name. From your extensive contacts among Information Professionals, do you have a listing of organizational names for Information Centers like you do for position descriptions?"

Our analyst's response:

We included a few names below that reflect this changing role. Note that you'll see reference to Information Content (IC) quite a bit. We've started to use Information Content in our discussions of the market and are seeing it pop up in names. There is much confusion in end-users' minds about information, which is often assumed to be information technology (IT) that we're finding the words information content are creating a lot more clarity, as it defines what aspect of "information" you're dealing with. Some ideas:

1. Information Resource Consulting Services

2. Information Content Resources

3. Information Consulting Services

4. Information Content Network

5. Information Resources & Services

6. Information Research & Content Strategies

7. Information Content Services

8. Information Services

Our analyst also shared her views confirming our client's hunch that it was a good idea to "lose the L-word," particularly in their environment. Indeed, in discussions, focus groups, and end-user observations, our research continues to point to extremely strong stereotypes and tight affiliations for corporate end-users who equate libraries with books and journals, not with the rich resources and services being offered by today's information service functions. …

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