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David Lee King

Make your Stuff Obvious



This sign was at our local shopping mall. Like any good blogging geek, I stopped and took a picture of it – to the chagrin of my kids, I’m sure (“Mom – Dad’s taking pictures of signs again!” – eye roll!)

But the sign made me think of a few things that I thought I’d share:

  1. The sign is nicely done – large, easy-to-read words.
  2. Just an interesting side-note – the sign’s in the shape of a smartphone. A few very short years ago, a phone that did wifi wouldn’t have made any sense. But we all easily get it now, don’t we?
  3. The message is clear, the service is obvious, the sign is hard to miss. You know exactly what they’re advertising.

Contrast that with the average wifi sign in a library. In most of our libraries, we make little, tiny, dinky-winky signs that say “wifi.” Usually provided to us by our wifi vendor. If we have signs at all [hmm… I wonder what our wifi signs look like? I’ll need to check].

But at the mall … where they really want you to stay awhile … the wifi sign is HUGE. This sign was almost as tall as me, folks! And right out in the walkway, standing close to the food courts (one place people would possibly use wifi for an extended period of time).

What do they want you to do at the mall? Stay awhile. Eat some food. Use their free wifi. And buy more stuff!

Now translate that to a library. What do we want our customers to do? Stay awhile? Eat more food (if you have a cafe)? Read/watch/listen to/download more content? Ask us questions? Attend our events? Probably all of those things (though I’ll bet most of us don’t spell those goals out quite like that).

Define what it is you want your customers to do, then make your branding, your promotion, your signage – what you want people to do while engaging with you – make it obvious.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.coffeeswitch.com/ Dustin Fluke

    I’m so picky with signs. I made fun of the backwards Feel good nutrition sign that loomed for so long at their old location before it was finally replaced with a blank. I mean, seriously, I’d rather pay to have the sign removed if it was my business. Just makes it look bad in my opinion.

  • http://twitter.com/BfloLibrarian LibrarianLand

    You make it sound so simple but how do we meaningfully convey enlightenment by slogan?

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    Well – I’m not really trying to be anything but simple! I’d say dump the “convey enlightenment by slogan” thought, and just put up some signs – large ones – advertising something you want people to know about (like the wifi example).

    Then see if usage picks up. If it does … success! If it doesn’t, you are either: not advertising correctly (i.e., bad signs, signs int he wrong place, etc), not advertising stuff people want, or the thing you’re advertising is too hard to use (therefore people aren’t using it).