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Building our Brand From the Inside Out - Who we are and What we Value

The Edmonton Public Library
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Innovation Leader: Tina Thomas, Director, Marketing and Fund Development, tthomas@epl.ca

Problem Statement

In the fall of 2009 EPL began an ambitious rebranding campaign. Before we could develop and implement a new brand that resonated internally and externally, we needed to define who we are and our unique value to our community. For staff to be passionate and engaged with our brand they would need to be part of the development process from the very beginning.

Innovation

Staff input was critical to define and implement our values, mission, promise and then the brand itself, so we created a steering committee with members from across EPL to provide input but also serve as local advocates. With the help of a consultant we consolidated 5 separate organizational frameworks into a single Values Wheel with “Sharing” at the center, describing both our passion and our differentiator. The wheel formed the basis of our new brand. Our passion became our new mission “We Share!” and our promise, “Spread the words,” made our mission a call to action. We held an internal launch event coupled with system-wide rollout where members of our steering committee presented our brand to each of our branches and divisions, helping us directly touch 95% of staff. We developed a flash video, narrated by our CEO, showing how our wheel was constructed. We produced a shared values statement and booklet to add depth to our new values. We also developed a video where staff themselves articulated these values. All tools are now part of our new employee orientation process.

Progress

Our objectives were to build our brand based on our values and inspire staff to own our new brand. We achieved these and more. Staff surveys showed that 90% were happy about the streamlined values and new brand. Staff comments were also very positive including “I am totally blown away. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of this.” And “You made me feel energized and proud to belong to EPL.” Staff purchased 400 branded t-shirts in 4 days with stock depleted by our external launch. Support for EPL’s values, mission and promise has spread outside our library. A German library posted EPL’s values video as an example of “real shared values.” At Library Journal’s December 2010 Marketing Summit, “We Share!” was suggested for a national library campaign. Non-profit Marketing named “Spread the words.” one of the top non-profit taglines of 2010.