Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Inspiring video on reaching Millenials/digital natives

I don't normally lift items for this blog, but this video was so well done and gave me goosebumps, so I wanted to share it. This is from the YouTube listing:

"This video was prepared by the UK branch of Dorling Kindersley Books and produced by Khaki Films. Originally meant solely for a Dorling Kindersley sales conference, the video was such a hit internally that it is now being shared externally. We hope you enjoy it (and make sure you watch it up to at least the halfway point, there's a surprise!).

Read an interview with the creator of the video on the Penguin Blog. The clip was inspired by a video created by an Argentinian agency, Savaglio/TBWA entitled Truth."

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday's Signpost

Clever wayfinding icons near the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, CA. A stylized hieroglyphic fossil shape as the arrows.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Museum video podcast-in-a-day

Last week I attended a daylong workshop at the CAM Conference sponsored by the California Exhibition Resources Alliance (CERA). The workshop was a Technology Salon for Small Museums and featured presentations throughout the day on how to use technology wisely and efficiently for marketing, interpretation, and in exhibits. It was hosted by the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University.

I offered to show people how to create video podcasts and use the video for both promotion and education. So we decided we would create a podcast during the workshop, with the goal of having it up on YouTube by 3 pm. Online video is the most important tool a cultural attraction can use, as it's now the most compelling online content. In addition, one video podcast can be placed, for free, in over 25 outlets. That means one short video is out there in 25 different online spaces, promoting your museum 24/7.

Here are a few of the steps we went through to make this podcast a reality.
  1. Choose content. I asked curator Lindsey Kouvaris to choose three items from their permanent collection that a) would be interesting to talk about, b) could be used to talk about behind-the-scenes aspects of museum work, and for which c) she had permission to broadcast the image.
  2. Prepare still images. Lindsey sent me high-quality stills in advance, along with their museum's logo, and the necessary credit line for the photographer. I pre-loaded these into iPhoto in advance, and created a title card with their logo. The still images can then easily be pulled into iMovie as stills, and you can zoom in on them.
  3. Choose music. I chose four options from Garageband's library that I thought might work for this museum. Once I arrived, I had Lindsey choose the one that best suited her institution's personality. See my handout for more on legal music use.
  4. Charge camera, double-check equipment list before getting on plane.
  5. Shoot interview. I start by telling a joke to get the subject comfortable, and make sure they're looking at me, not the camera. Once I've set up the camera on the tripod, I start recording and then make sure I'm nodding and smiling a lot to keep their energy up and focused on me.
For this workshop, I shot the last portion of the interview in the workshop space, so all the attendees could see how I did it. Lindsey was a trouper! Then I began editing while the other presenters were doing their thing. At about 1:15 pm, I plugged my laptop into the projector and showed them the partially completed podcast (about half done at that point). The sound levels weren't quite right, but they could see everything coming together. And by 3 pm, it was indeed up on YouTube. I also showed them another video piece, and the multiple locations it had been used. Here is the final video:

While this felt a little crazy to do under the gun, it was a fun challenge and I think it illustrated that video has become both accessible, affordable, and easy. Click here for the handout I created, which lists all the outlets where I place my video podcasts and details about the hardware and software I use. Before I left, Lindsey had already embedded the link in their Facebook Page. :)

Thanks to Rebecca Schapp and Lindsey Kouvaris of the de Saisset Museum for hosting, and to Adrienne McGraw and Lexie Smith Kliebe of CERA for putting together such a terrific day.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday's Signpost

This struck me as so simple and so brilliant... placing a sale item right at the cash register, then keeping them stocked as they fly into people's shopping bags.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dazzling service strategies: fantastic conference session

I had the wonderful opportunity to watch two top National Park Service trainers in action on February 8, 2010 at the Association of Partners for Public Lands conference here in San Diego. Nicki Phelps and Rich Weideman were a truly dynamic duo; I learned as much from their presentation style as I did from the presentation itself. Here are some highlights:

Nicki and Rich work for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in San Francisco. They covered four core service strategies, with terrific visuals, examples, and audience participation. They are:
  • Reliability
  • Surprise
  • Recovery
  • Quality
Reliability relates to providing consistency throughout your experience, products, and service, so that visitors have confidence in you.

Surprise means providing unexpected, unusual, non-traditional, and personal aspects to experiences. I liked Nicki's mantra of shifting from "no, can't, don't" to "yes, how, will."

(Meaning, instead of your first reaction being "no, we can't or don't do that"—to shift to an attitude of "yes, let me figure out how we will make that happen for you."

For the Recovery discussion, Nicki brought in a hotel staffer who had been particularly helpful to her the day prior. I loved that she made it personal to herself, topical to the event, recognized an actual person, and gave him a thank-you gift in front of all of us. You can train for Recovery by teaching staff members to:
  1. Listen
  2. Repeat
  3. Problem-solve together
  4. Act
  5. Follow up

We also talked about how truly great service comes from a long-term perspective, wanting to have customers for life. And in national parks (as well as museums), our visitors/customers are also constituents, often voting for tax increases or bond measures to support these public resources.

Last, Quality involves creating a seamless, branded environment with exhibits, uniforms, and products that reflect how you want people to view your institution or site.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Branded product development session at APPL

I had the wonderful opportunity to sit in on a session on product development by Robert Lieber on February 10, 2010 at the Association of Partners for Public Lands conference here in San Diego.

Robert works for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in San Francisco. He is truly a brilliant branded product developer. Here are some highlights from his presentation:

Retail is dynamic, you want to be turning inventory, and always changing displays and adding new products when you can. Products you develop have a larger margin than books, so while they are an investment of time and resources, they have a larger payoff as well.

You want to create products that educate, celebrate, engage, and promote your site.

You can tell interpretive stories through a product category. One example on Alcatraz (the former Federal Prison that is now a national park) is the theme of recreation. The first product they developed is the Alcatraz baseball. The baseball's packaging tells some of the story of recreation at the prison... there will be other products in this category that flesh out this story.

Sometimes products help flesh out the time period: What was it like to live in San Francisco when Alcatraz was active? They found period cartoons and turned them into decals.

In some cases, the product is a reproduction, like this inmate's cup. Or they might create a product to help raise money for preservation, like this "Save The Rock." Wildflower seeds help tell the story of the garden restoration project.

They have also taken actual historic text, like regulations, and designed a whole product line of metal signs, mugs, magnets, and other items. These are popular with parents and teachers!

If you run a museum shop, I'd encourage you to spend some time in the Conservancy's online store. I guarantee you will be inspired with new product ideas!