Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Identity Control: Part 3

maria mortati, gyroscope inc, museums This week, I'm participating in an on-line forum at ASTC Connect (American Science and Technology Center, for our non-science museum readers). It's predominantly about Web 2.0, and how science centers are struggling with and adapting to it. What's clear is that there is no "right" answer, but rather, what works best for your institution. You can find more about that in places like Nina Simon's blog. Back to brand and identity, here are some simple guidelines for getting to a zen state with your institutional image management in this new world: Be willing to throw the first stone. Up front, foster a culture of inquiry. Ask provocative questions about yourself and find out what your audience thinks. Just the act of doing so will show that you are open to conversation, and that you know they are out there, looking, listening, and wanting to respond. Give them such invitations repeatedly. Make it clear. If you want feedback give them clear criteria, and be deliberate in your inquiry if you are asking for input or feedback. Many visitors are still afraid of museums. This will also help them shape their input in a meaningful way. Let go. Yup, this is the best way to move forward. Those that love or hate you can both be your allies. Finding ways to engage with that conflict and passion will make you a smarter institution. I like to think of it as being Lincolnish. Do you know where your visitors are? -- Suggested reading: Starting and Fostering Online Communities, Brand Recovery in the Social Networking Era -- Up next: How to read a floor plan

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