Emma Walton talks about the impact of receiving a Gold Marketing Excellence Award from PPRG at Loughborough University Library.
We were delighted to receive a Gold Marketing excellence award last year. It was the cherry on top of the proverbial cake following what had been an interesting and challenging year. A year, which had seen the planning of a Library refurbishment, the decision to close the Library building and the completion of the project with the accompanying combination of celebration and challenges that a project of this magnitude brings!
Our submission for an MEA focused on the winning of hearts and minds when the decision was made to close the building for 3 months in the summer vacation. We knew this would be seen as problematic, and so the marketing campaign we ran combined communicating the benefits of the refurbishment with providing information on the range of services we offered during closure with both, the Transforming the Library and Library on Tour campaigns enabling us to use a wide variety of communication methods to reach our users and allowed for a planned and collaborative approach to the issues we faced.
The subsequent refurbishment has indeed transformed the Library, giving us an additional floor, a reorganised space, a wider range of study spaces and a general refresh. Feedback has been excellent but we continue to improve the space based on comments and suggestions.
But back to the award, winning it has had an impact in a number of ways, both within the Library and across the University and externally too.
For staff it gave them the recognition they deserved for all their hard work. It was an accolade that people remembered when we experienced some challenges with new equipment, new policies and developing procedures. For me personally making the submission enabled me to look back on what had happened and find out about it, talk to people and get to know them, an invaluable experience for a new member of library senior management. Loughborough Library has always prided itself on being user focused, asking for feedback and reviewing services; it is what our values are based on. However, despite this being integral to our service it can sometimes require considerable effort, and at times be demotivating. Winning the MEA has reinvigorated our marketing plans.
It has also raised our profile within the institution; something we were keen to do. We received a congratulatory letter from the Vice Chancellor, appeared in his newsletter and was mentioned in his speech at the official launch of the refurbishment. Indeed the award has cemented the opinion of the University's senior management that our approach should be held up as an example of good practice opinion both marketing and collaborative working.
The University is currently looking at the provision of learning spaces across campus and at its new campus in London. The Library is on the project board for the development of the main campus provision because of our experience and expertise in both providing spaces and finding out what might be needed by our users. In addition, we are increasingly being used as a hub for information by other sections of the University as they now realise how good we are at getting the message out there. We recently helped our Facilities management colleagues disseminate information about student space during assessment period. We linked to information from our website, blog and other social media and used their information to create fliers and posters. We also used our connections with the students' union to help get the message out. This method was deemed a success and we have been asked to work with them again in a few weeks. We also worked with them to evaluate the use of spaces so that provision meets users’ needs.
Externally, I and colleagues have been asked to talk about our campaigns at various Library events which all helps raise our profile.
All in all both the submission process and the subsequent achievement have been positive and had an impact on both our profile and our service. I would encourage all to go for it.