Princeton NJ was washed out in the hurricane, but that didn't stop the public library from offering services. Staff that could, came in and with a little creativity were able to offer wifi when the rest of the town was down. They put movies on for the kids, offered electric and wifi for everyone else. Meanwhile Janie Hermann began tweeting updates about the storm and hooking into some bloggers that had community connections Marketing director Tim Quinn's son, George, filmed the whole thing and put together a video that says it all. They even decided to stay open later than usual. They had over 4500 come to the library that day. But more than that, they secured an even stronger commitment of support from the community. People wanted to tell the world how much they loved the library. Janie shared this comment from a visitor:
“Yesterday was a fantastic day in Princeton! 1-day post-hurricane Irene and mobs of people swarming into the Princeton Public Library, many unbathed, frantically looking to recharge their tech devices and retrieve their email. The staff at our beloved library an amazing, truly healing, supportive, gracious force. I cannot express fully the profound gratitude I felt/feel for all of you. I moved yesterday, so my stress level was a bit higher than usual. I found being at the library for an hour or so to be a balm for my ragged spirit."
Ingredients for success?
- Staff who believe their library should be helping their community in crisis
- Leaders who are open to out of the box thinking
- Continual communication through all communications channels
- Partnering with bloggers and tweetheads to get the message out
- Listening to the needs of customers throughout the day
- Filming the event to capture the feeling of the day and then sharing that through all channels
Marketing on the fly: Find the need, fulfill the need, communicate the offering, communicate the result
Nice. Very nice.