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Toledo Region Digital Inventory

Documentation of work started on June 15th, 2011 (continued on June 16th, finished on June 18th), as part of my IBM Centennial Day of Service for the NW Ohio Branding Council's Toledo Region Story efforts.

Task 1: Provide feedback on Toledo Region phase 1 web site copy. The site is going live in a few weeks. My comments may help improve it and reviewing it is good background research for the rest of my day. Recap of feedback:

  • Some items are in multiple categories, to be expected. Example: 260 Live > Sports & recreation; 510 Enjoy > Sports & recreation. The link text, messaging and destination should often be different, however. For example, "Live" is focused more on making the case to potential long-term residents, while "Enjoy" is more about making the case to (short-term) tourists. Commnity assets like sports teams and museums often have different messages for the two audiences.
  • Some link labels seem too "org charty" and not written in users terms, especially based on the brand context the link is appearing in. One example: "Fremont Sandusky CVB" seems like the org chart name. The destination site is called "Lake Erie's Favorite Neighbor" which is better but still not ideal in this context. The brand messaging / reason for including this link may be because it is a "lesser known gem" so that could be included in the link text. Another example: "EPIC Toledo" would be better as something like "Meet the future business and community leaders and join them in changing the region" - that is, less about the organization and more about how the group is making the region a better place to do business.

Task 2: Quickly review the digital presences (web sites, social media) of key Toledo Region organizations. Categorize a mostly-random sample along various criteria to help in the planning for the phase 2 web site. Source: Phase 1 links,,, (for additional Michigan organizations).

How to read the table:

  • Brand platform: The part of the brand platform that an organization contributes to. In general, Live = quality of life, Work = economic development, Learn = education, Enjoy = tourism. Some (like "Live > Worship") reference specific sections of the Phase 1 web site.
  • Organization: The group that contributes to the Toledo Region brand. Some organizations may be represented more than once in the table. Larger organizations will have sub-organizations listed.
  • Website: Link to the site for the organization, or to specific pages that support the brand platform.
  • Social media, content feeds: Sample of social media accounts and feeds (where the organization is syndicating content that could be integrated into various Toledo Region web presences easily). Not complete, just samples to show the range and possibilities.
Brand platformOrganizationWebsiteSocial media, content feeds
Live > Worship Multifaith Council of Northwest Ohio Blog RSS, Flickr
Live > Health & Services Family Service of Northwest Ohio
Live > Sports & Recreation Destination Toledo Example Sports & recreation feeds: News, Events
Live > Arts & culture Toledo Symphony Twitter
Work > Getting started EPIC Toledo Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
Work > Economic Development Regional Growth Partnership
Learn > Educational Resources Partners in Education of Toledo
Enjoy > Nature Metroparks of the Toledo Area
Live > Sports & Recreation
Enjoy > Sports & Recreation
Toledo Mud Hens YouTube, Twitter, Facebook
Learn > Post-secondary education University of Toledo YouTube, Twitter, Facebook
Work > University of Toledo - Innovation Enterprises
Learn > Post-secondary education Bowling Green State University News feed, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook
Work > Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
Work > Williams County, Economic Development Corporation
Work > Wood County, Economic Development Commission
Work > City of Toledo, Lucas County - Business
Enjoy > City of Toledo, Lucas County - Visiting
Live > City of Toledo, Lucas County - Residents
Live > Toledo Community Foundation Facebook
Live > Greater Toledo Urban League Twitter, Facebook, Flickr
Learn > Greater Toledo Urban League - Education and youth services
Work > Greater Toledo Urban League - Workforce development
Work > Job1USA Twitter
Work > Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Twitter, Facebook
Enjoy > Crowne Plaza Toledo
Live > Lucas County
Enjoy > Lucas County - Visitors
Work > Lucas County (LCIC)
Live > Lucas County (LCIC) - A great place to be
Live > Downtown Toledo Improvement District
Live > The Blade Twitter

Summary of findings and recommendations for classifying Toledo Region digital presences for Phase 2:

  • Some organizations belong in several parts of the brand platform, obviously.
  • Large organizations, like U of T & BGSU, probably contribute to many/all parts of the brand platform. These 2, for example: have departments focused on economic development, contribute a lot to the quality of life in the region, provide learning, and hosts events that visitors from outside the region will be attending.
  • Web site quality, features, level of engagement, etc. vary widely across the region.
  • Social media use varies widely across the region. Facebook seems more common. Little or no use of social media for economic development was found (much more common for tourism groups).
  • Very few instances of content feeds was discovered. This will make it hard to share content at a regional level (e.g., nearly impossible to implement a regional news feed or single calendar of events).
  • There is a lot more analysis like this that needs to be done. One day is not even close to enough time. Recommendation is to focus on only 1 piece of the brand platform next and inventory all of the organziations/web sites that are contributing. For example, which organizations already have "quality of life" pages that attempt to give a high level overview of why this is a great place to live? Do 1 part of the brand platform, fold the results into the plan for the Phase 2 regional web site, then move on to another part of the brand platform.
  • Filling out this table may be a good way to help organizations see "Where do I fit in" to the brand platform. Ideally, some online application can ask them questions and they can provide answers - and out pops rows of this table for them.

Task 3: While doing task 2, keep track of Twitter accounts for Toledo Region organizations. Compile a list of which ones @ToledoRegion is not currently following.

Follow-up task: Add 5 new followers each day until complete. This builds up the accounts like of followers (to make it easier to implement the social media strategy) and gives provides a regular flow of new engagement.

Task 4: Attend the NW Ohio Brand Council meeting on June 16th to report on my day of volunteering. I only had a few minutes to give a report, but it was good enough that I was invited back to talk with the council some more. I will call that a success.