Case Study: Metro Screen keeping it real
I've been doing a series of presentations about our research into the strategic advantage in considering reputation when engaging customers and collaborators in digital spaces. Collaborators are people who work together to realise shared goals such as gaining resources, recognition or reward. I think that reputation is a game changer and this is the two sentence argument why:
- In this world you do better if you know who you are, therefore know what your values are, and then act in a way that is true to your values.
- If you don't act in a way that is true to your values, your customers and collaborators sense that there is a hidden component of your identity and may behave cynically towards you. This is the point where reputations start to get frayed.
Given that you want people to engage with you - that is be internally motivated to choose you because they are on board with what you do - it's a good idea to communicate your vision and let your true values hang out. So your emphasis should be on telling people what's in your vision for them. The best effect you can get is to combine social media with an event or meet and greet to let natural social intercourse breed collaboration. OK that's the theory, and so it's always confirming that you're on the right track when you find out how people are using this theory in practice. Last week I caught up with Katrina Tucker at Metro Screen. Metro has been around for about 30 years - teaching, funding and supporting generations of film and multi-media producers. If you live in Sydney then you'd notice that a lot of slashies have got their chops from here. Katrina and I first met some 7 years ago when I was collaborating on a streaming media course. Metro Screen offer core vocational training as well as a shifting selection of updated media skills to the NSW market. Katrina would be the first to tell you that they get a lot of social call outs and discussion in places as far afield as Indonesia and Korea, however their offer is linked to VETAB and is therefore available to NSW residents only. An important parallel offer is Metro's commercial hire of equipment and studio spaces and this is where the story gets interesting. A few months ago Metro started to realise that they had a reputation for being only a student level hire providor. Through conversation and off-the cuff research they discovered that the perception amongst professionals was that they were not holding professional level equipment or professional grade spaces. Metro realised there was an opportunity to change perceptions and be a key player in the professional hire market - and the only player in the Eastern suburbs. How could they deal with the mixed student/professional brand message? The first thing that Katrina did was to split the brands and change the advertising message. Previously Metro had advertised their training offer alongside the hire offer in the same ad. Now the ads for hire and training are placed separately. Next, Katrina is running a meet and greet showcasing event so that professionals can check out the gear and the spaces and network at the same time. There's also a plan to review the whole exercise - Katrina is watching Google statistics closely and in time will survey visitors to the event to see if their perception was changed. This final piece of the puzzle will give her management level information that she can use to make subsequent plans. What's really great is how this whole strategy stays true to Metro Screen's brand DNA. "The majority of what I do is about partnerships," says Katrina, "it's the best method for us to communicate - we are word of mouth people."