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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, RGP.org, NORED.org, LakeErieWest.org (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 multifaithcouncil.org Blog RSS, Flickr
Live > Health & Services Family Service of Northwest Ohio fsno.org
Live > Sports & Recreation Destination Toledo dotoledo.org Example Sports & recreation feeds: News, Events
Live > Arts & culture Toledo Symphony toledosymphony.com Twitter
Facebook
Work > Getting started EPIC Toledo epictoledo.com Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
Work > Economic Development Regional Growth Partnership rgp.org
Learn > Educational Resources Partners in Education of Toledo partnerstoledo.org
Enjoy > Nature Metroparks of the Toledo Area metroparkstoledo.com
Live > Sports & Recreation
Enjoy > Sports & Recreation
Toledo Mud Hens mudhens.com YouTube, Twitter, Facebook
Learn > Post-secondary education University of Toledo utoledo.edu YouTube, Twitter, Facebook
Work > University of Toledo - Innovation Enterprises innovationenterprises.utoledo.edu
Learn > Post-secondary education Bowling Green State University bgsu.edu News feed, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook
Work > Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce toledochamber.com Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
Work > Williams County, Economic Development Corporation wedco.info
Work > Wood County, Economic Development Commission woodcounty.com
Work > City of Toledo, Lucas County ci.toledo.oh.us - Business
Enjoy > City of Toledo, Lucas County ci.toledo.oh.us - Visiting
Live > City of Toledo, Lucas County ci.toledo.oh.us - Residents
Live > Toledo Community Foundation toledocf.org Facebook
Live > Greater Toledo Urban League gtul.org Twitter, Facebook, Flickr
Learn > Greater Toledo Urban League gtul.org - Education and youth services
Work > Greater Toledo Urban League gtul.org - Workforce development
Work > Job1USA job1usa.com Twitter
Work > Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority toledoportauthority.org Twitter, Facebook
Enjoy > Crowne Plaza Toledo crowneplazatoledo.com
Live > Lucas County co.lucas.oh.us
Enjoy > Lucas County co.lucas.oh.us - Visitors
Work > Lucas County (LCIC) lcicoh.com
Live > Lucas County (LCIC) lcicoh.com - A great place to be
Live > Downtown Toledo Improvement District downtowntoledo.org
Live > The Blade toledoblade.com 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.