Recently, the Center for the Future of Museums posted an article on the “Flawsome” concept of branding. Thanks to IMLS grant funding, we’ve established C2C as the brand of the NC Department of Cultural Resources’ professional development outreach for cultural heritage collections. Our statewide audience/ consumer group relies on C2C training to be full of useful practical information, hands-on activities, and local networking opportunities.
According to trendwatching.com‘s definition of flawsome, “Consumers don’t expect brands to be flawless. In fact, consumers will embrace brands that are FLAWSOME: brands that are still brilliant despite having flaws; even being flawed (and being open about it) can be awesome.” Brands that show some empathy, generosity, humility, flexibility, maturity, humor, and…some character and humanity,” are flawsome.”
Since C2C is a brand, can we apply the flawsome definition effectively to our program? In this pursuit, we’d like to share with you some of the more critical comments from our workshop evaluations, the stumbling blocks they reveal, and ways that we’ve learned from them and/or adjusted our practices accordingly.
- Clarifying Schedules: “If the leaders could be here a bit early, that’d be great. I was very confused about what I should do.” Last year we had a workshop 3+ hours away (a day trip for us). The workshop was scheduled to start at 9:30, and we didn’t arrive ‘til a bit after 9:00. Some people thought the workshop started at 9:00 and were already there waiting. Since that discombobulated workshop beginning, we’ve made a concerted effort to send all registrants an email during the week before a Monday workshop to remind them of the start time and to let them know that we’ll be driving from Raleigh (usually) that morning and so not to expect us much before 8:30-9:00, depending on the set-up requirements.
- Varying Knowledge Levels: “more directions for remedial people.” At most workshops, participants have a fairly wide range of knowledge and skills. Keeping the content and instruction both accessible and relevant is a perennial challenge. “Love you guys, but less intro.” We are thrilled to have “repeat customers” at many of our workshops. When we know there will be a high proportion of repeaters in advance, we can abbreviate the introductory presentation on our program. For those who know us well, however, any program overview (which first-timers appreciate) is repetitive.
- Activities: “More hands-on.” People really learn best by practicing techniques with peer and instructor guidance. Based on feedback, we’ve added new hands-on activities, especially in disaster preparedness workshops. However, unless the entire workshop is hands-on, some participants still can’t get enough. “Include behind-the-scenes tours of museum storage, registration depts, etc.” Occasionally, we can incorporate this great suggestion. Our “Textiles Intensive” workshop during Preservation Week will include this feature.
- Budgets: “This was a great workshop for new ideas, but hearing about funding opportunities would have really helped.” Many of our tips for preservation supplies and new exhibit techniques cost money. To help address the funding issue, we’ve added some guidance about grants to our website.
- Workshop Duration: Some participants have wished for multi-day sessions on workshop topics. While we acknowledge that we cram a lot of information and resource suggestions into a day-long session, that still seems like the best in-person model to make the training as accessible as possible. Our staff is always available for individual follow-up consultations, and requests for this service has increased as our program gets more “brand recognition.” Additionally, we created this blog, in part, as a way to provide preservation information that supplements workshop instruction.
- Supplies: “More table space;” “more workstations.” Sometimes the workshop accommodations are not ideal, but the trade-off is that we are able to reach out to a wide variety of cultural heritage institutions and practitioners around the state. “Provide writing pens.” Our first response was—really? On second thought, sometimes the few pens we bring disappear at our workshops. It might be wise in the future to bring a cache of them along to each one.
We hope you agree that C2C is flawsome! And we hope that encourages your participation in our statewide network and/or our online community. How can your institution announce its flawsome-ness? Could this concept translate into a viable strategy to engage potential participants and/or supporters?
Posted on March 23, 2012, in Connecting to Collections, workshops and tagged branding, Center for the Future of Museums, Flawsome, marketing, trendwatching.com. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.