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Branding and Marketing Strategy

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Branding Strategy


As many web sites can seem very similar, we need to look to branding to define how the UCLA Informatics Wiki stands out in the crowd. Branding strategies have made been the core of success for many well-known products and services. As Philip Kotler and Waldemar Pfoertsch say in B2B Brand Management, "...branding is the road that a company must travel to define what it wants to be excellent at and how its offerings differ from competitors." Branding communicates the value of the UCLA Informatics Wiki to its prospective users. If our branding strategy works, we can promote the wiki and it will be already respected and well-known, and people will be ready to listen and even get involved. Our initial branding strategy is based off of Eric Weiss's article, "What's in a Name and What isn't" (Weiss, 2004). The following are some branding ideas to build our branding strategy with, answering his five questions found at the end of his article.


What is the unique DNA that makes the UCLA Informatics Wiki stand out from the crowd?

The UCLA Informatics Wiki has taken the initiative to lead the field in defining Informatics. It is a central place to go to find out what informatics is, what job titles there are for those who study it, and the related disciplines are to informatics.


What are the acknowledged qualities that contribute to its equity?

The UCLA Informatics Wiki was accepted for presentation at the Information Architecture Summit, and intended to be pushed out to the field. It was created under the supervision of Dr. Jean Francios Blanchette, who saw the need for the field to define what informatics is.


What are the latent qualities you need to highlight?

To get students and faculty involved from our school we should point out that the field of Information Science will look to UCLA as the leaders in defining Informatics. We need to highlight that students in the UCLA Graduate School of Information Studies can use the UCLA Informatics Wiki to increase visibility of the school in the field, particularly for the informatics specialization. To the greater community, we want to highlight that any author who contributes will bring themselves visibility and association with this initiative. They can be informed that UCLA is working to define Informatics, and if they want to learn what it is or have a say in what it is, they should get involved. Also, visitors can connect to other leaders contributing to this resource.


What are the missing qualities you need to develop?

The missing qualities we need to develop are actually getting contributions and active involvement from students and professionals that we can point. We can use their contributions as ways to show that active involvement has already begun.


What does the UCLA Informatics Wiki symbolize?

Defining informatics proves challenging. We want to get the ball rolling with defining informatics. The UCLA Informatics symbolizes the leader in defining what informatics is to the field of Information Science and related disciplines.


What is the true essence Of The UCLA Informatics Wiki?

What makes the UCLA Informatics Wiki significant is that it is the defining of the word Informatics, and sets the definition of the word informatics. We need to get others to join us in the effort, and lead them in discussing , “What is informatics?”



Marketing Approach


To promote the UCLA Informatics Wiki, we looked into how wikis have been promoted in the past. By examining research literature and discussing ideas with professors, we would like to offer the following marketing approach:

  • Invite and engage as many academic experts in the project as possible. Getting more people involved that have “expertise” to offer will help the wiki to grow and establish more credibility. One example of this was done with Wikipedia, the Internet Encyclopedia Project. More expertise incorporated into the UCLA Informatics Wiki will increase accuracy and comprehensiveness. These experts should not only be encouraged to contribute content, but edit content as well.
  • Communicate with and encourage professionals to make contributions/edits, and offer any expertise. Reach out to thought-leaders from informatics organizations, Informatics Programs, or those working on Informatics projects. Give these professionals a little "shoulder tap" for specified contributions according to their specialization and work in informatics (Chawner and Lewis, 2006)
  • Promote the Wiki in the Information Studies Department. Talk it up at ASIS&T for those interested in learning more about informatics, promote it at ALA for those who are wondering what informatics is. Inform the administrators in the department that questions about Informatics courses can be deferred to the wiki. Inform the Student Affairs Officer, Internship Coordinator, and Digital Resources Librarian.
  • Facilitate a feeling that individual contributions are needed to accomplish the Informatics Wiki’s goal (Ling, et.al, 2005). When designing posters, or preparing for presentations use language such as “This Community Needs You” or “We Want Your Perspective.” Also, make a list of "wanted pages" to identify unique need, and recruit people according to that need. Write emails or talk to them in person about how their unique knowledge, and how much the wiki needs that contribution.

Invite users to be involved in a live chat once a month. Combine the wiki with a blog feature for online discussion. Use the online chatroom to hold journal group meetings or online interviews in chat rooms, or make available as a podcast. Interview people, like on LIS Radio, and archive the audio/web-cast (Chu, interview, 8/1/2006)



Future Considerations


"A successful community must attract and keep enough members to make it worthwile" (Kim, 2000, p.9)


It is not enough to build and promote the wiki, we also need to put forth a strategy to maintain growth. To continue to encourage support in this online community we recommend the following strategies. These were put forth by Amy Jo Kim author of Community Building on the Web. We have modified Amy Jo Kim's strategies to suit the UCLA Informatics Wiki.


(1)Facilitate discussions: "Community building involves more than delivering content to a particular group" (Kim, 2000, p.29). Our wiki can come to life by creating and maintaining 'feedback loops.' By this we mean places on the wiki for people to "gather" and participate in discussion. The wiki currently offers comment tabs to encourage feedback. Communications tools such as message boards, real-time chatrooms, or weblogs, may be possible future additions to enhance feedback loops. In order to fully benefit from these types of tools, a wiki editor that supports greater functionality may have to be considered.


(2) Build coalitions: Tying this wiki to a physical community will increase the likelihood of future contributions and robustness. Two possible communities are the ASIS&T student group or the Information Studies department. Either group can sponsor activities to support the wiki. For example student ASIS&T members who attend a particular conference can recap their experience under the Conference Calendar section. Both options have benefits and drawbacks. Tying to the wiki to the ASIS&T group would allow for freedom of expression whereas affiliating the wiki with the Information Studies department might lend more toward greater promotion and credibility. Further consideration must be given to which of these groups can best support this wiki.


(3) Empower members overtime (Kim, 2000, p. xvi), and provide ways for them to make contributions. Make them feel their contribution is crucial to answering the question "What is informatics." We have asked two professors in the Information Studies department to if they can incorporate the wiki into the winter core classes. Allowing students to contribute their ideas to this wiki within the classroom learning environment may empower them to deeper levels of reflection. This could be a class group project where students can take on different roles: project manager, wikimaster, wiki marketer, content manager, etc. By identifying their unique contribution to the wiki, students will be given recognition and thus be more invested in the wiki.


(4) Anticipate growth (Kim, 2000, p. xv): We sub-divided the wiki into five related disciplines: HCI, Information Architecture, Knowledge Management, Medical Informatics, and Social Informatics. If for example Medical Informatics attracted members who contributed frequently, perhaps a sub-group could be created to manage that part of the wiki. This can be done by building official roles for these sub-divisions, and facilitating member-run sub-groups (Kim, 2000, p. xiv).




Bo Leuf, W. C. (2001). The Wiki way: Quick collaboration on the Web. Boston: Addison-Wesley.

Kim, A. J. (2000). Community building on the Web. Berkeley, Calif. : Peachpit Press.

Kotler, Philip, Pfoertsch, Waldemar. B2B Brand Management. New York: Springer. 2006

Reiss, Eric. (2004). "What's in a name and what isn't." Retrieved Feb. 3, 2007, at http://www.e-reiss.com/Articles/Naming%20brands.aspx

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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