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Turnarounds, Pivots, and Repositioning

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A presentation delivered to the Charleston Conference in November 2016 on managing change in an organization that has run into problems.

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Turnarounds, Pivots, and Repositioning

  1. 1. Turnarounds, Pivots, and Repositioning A panel on managing change under challenging conditions The Charleston Conference November 4, 2016
  2. 2. Sometimes an organization finds itself in a challenging position. It may have found that the marketplace has shifted or perhaps it has taken longer than expected to bring out a new product. Cash may be tight, owners may have become impatient. It’s now time for a turnaround or a change in direction. What are some tips for managing an organization in this situation?
  3. 3. Participants • Mark Cummings, Editor and Publisher, Choice • Dennis Lloyd, Director, University of Wisconsin Press • Pinar Erzin, Founder and CEO, Accucoms International
  4. 4. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  4 (Just Like) Starting Over A CHOICE CASE STUDY
  5. 5. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  5 “Oooh, look out, you rock ‘n’ rollers Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older”
  6. 6. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  6 About Choice  Publisher of Choice magazine and Choice Reviews (online)  7,000 reviews of new scholarly monographs/websites published annually  Originally designed as a collection-development tool  Database of 200,000 reviews dating from 1988 to the present  Established, well-respected brand  Published continuously since 1964  50% market penetration among US colleges and universities  Twenty full-time staff members; annual revenue < $5MM  Operationally independent of parent organization  “Constraints”  Not for profit, part of member-services organization (ACRL/ALA)  Growth consistent with ALA mission  Brand synonymous with flagship product  Source of friction in brand expansion  Small size  Limited ability to scale
  7. 7. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  7 Facts on the Ground  Declining print circulation  Poorly designed digital product; no corresponding growth in digital circulation  Declining ad revenues in line with circulation losses  Declining royalty income following on industry consolidation among aggregators and wholesalers  Rising infrastructure costs
  8. 8. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  8 Causes  Lack of Demand  Diminished use of reviews in the collection-development process owing to changing collection- development methodologies  Approval Plans  “Big Deals”  Materials budgets  Decentralized information discovery and consumption, with increasing role for end users  Demand-driven acquisition  The open web  Diminished gatekeeper and curatorial roles for the librarian
  9. 9. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  9 Contributing Factors  Historical  No clear mission independent of that of parent organization  Structural  Members are not “owners”; interests vested in the larger organization, not Choice  Environmental  Library materials budgets flat or falling: Choice a declining product in a shrinking market
  10. 10. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  10 The Pivot  What do our members and customers believe is the future of the library and librarianship?  How does their vision of the future role of the library align with our core strengths and values?  How can we leverage these values to support that vision? Mission Brand Strategy
  11. 11. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  11 Mission  What we did  Focus groups  Professional market research  What we found  Concern regarding decentering of the curatorial role of the librarian  Burden of discovery and selection shifting to end users  Enhanced need for discovery and selection skills and tools  Our goal  Choice will support the information evaluation and selection process among a broad spectrum of user types and use-case scenarios, both traditional and new
  12. 12. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  12 Brand  What we did  Retained publishing consultant to advise on repositioning Choice  Retained advertising/design agency for market research, brand makeover  What we found  High regard for brand attributes: trusted, authoritative, objective, high quality, old friend  Conflation of publishing unit and its flagship product  Mismatch between brand perception and actual product acceptance/use  Our goals  Protect the brand: leverage brand equity to rebuild its value and visibility in our traditional markets  Extend brand associations and awareness to new users and markets
  13. 13. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  13 Rebuilding Choice is about nothing less than changing the way people think about us, rebuilding a brand
  14. 14. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  14 Brand Strategy  Expand customer perception: “Not just a magazine”  Develop differential messaging for principal market segments: “Start with Better Options”  VALIDATING THE ROLE OF THE LIBRARIAN: “You remain the critical link in the discovery and selection chain. Choice makes you more effective by conducting the crucial ‘first cut’ of resources, giving you the information you need to quickly make authoritative selections and/or recommendations.”  SUPPORTING FACULTY AND STUDENTS: “In an information-rich world, the sheer number of resources to be considered is overwhelming. Choice saves you time by directing you to only the best and most important resources for all major areas of study."
  15. 15. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  15 Brand Strategy  Create multiple touchpoints in a Choice digital environment; expose selected Choice content outside paywall to increase customer engagement and drive sales/subscriptions  Website: www.choice360.org  Choice Reviews: www.choicereviews.org  Choice Media Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4AQ1G-u32Y9OX5hRzxdXrQ/  Choice LibGuides: http://ala-choice.libguides.com/c.php?g=382336  Social media: https://www.facebook.com/choice.reviews  Leverage our brand in a suite of new products
  16. 16. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  16 Product Development Strategy Choice as Information Provider Choice as a Discovery Tool Choice as a Library Toolset 1. Strengthen our current products to maximize their value to librarians in a changing collection- development environment 2. Extend the audience for Choice content to end users to serve the needs of students and scholars 3. Provide professional development and analytical tools for librarians and others to extend the Choice brand beyond reviews COMPANY CONFIDENTIAL
  17. 17. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  17 Product Development  Launched completely rebuilt Choice Reviews (summer 2016)  Reestablish brand credibility among core users  Bring Choice content “in front of the desk”  Target audiences: librarians, teaching faculty, students  Developing CC Advisor (spring 2017)  Review service for academic databases  Collaboration with The Charleston Company  Target audiences: librarians, teaching faculty, students  Developing Choice/ACRL Trends Reports (spring 2017)  Actionable intelligence to support strategic organizational and business decisions  Target audience: library directors, provosts, foundation heads, publishing executives, library service providers
  18. 18. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  18 Product Development  Planning Open Choice (summer 2018)  Review service for evaluation of open educational resources  Target audiences: teaching faculty, instructional designers, librarians  Expanding Choice/ACRL sponsored webinar program (ongoing)  Professional-development webcasts  34,000 registrations, 14,000 attendees LTD  Target audience: librarians
  19. 19. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  19 Culture Change  Rebranding begins at home  Build capacity through new hires  Revise and expand job descriptions, requirements  Rationalize workflows and job assignments  Look for and encourage “self-selectors”  Encourage collaboration, cross-functional teams
  20. 20. Charleston Library Conference  4 November 2016  20 Mark Cummings Editor and Publisher mcummings@ala-choice.org +1 860.347.6933 x119 Thank you
  21. 21. Managing through a Transition Dennis Lloyd Director
  22. 22. April 13, 1936: University of Wisconsin faculty senate enacts legislation to “publish particularly meritorious manuscripts as books using the imprint ‘The University of Wisconsin Press.’” “Publication is as much a function of the university as teaching or research [and] an obligation that every great university owes to itself and to society.” —The University of Wisconsin Committee on University Publications
  23. 23. Financial Performance Books Division: End FY12: $ 63,318 End FY13: -$210,442 End FY14: -$199,823 End FY15: -$295,086 Cumulative total: -$642,033
  24. 24. Financial Performance Journals Division: Historical balance at end of FY11: $1,679,067 End FY12: $ 316 End FY13: $ 86,877 End FY14: -$ 514,235 End FY15: $ 20,091 Cumulative total: $1,272,116
  25. 25. Triage
  26. 26. Listen
  27. 27. Trust but verify
  28. 28. Low-hanging fruit
  29. 29. Build on strengths
  30. 30. Be visible/transparent
  31. 31. Be patient
  32. 32. FY16 Financial Performance: Journals Division: -$107,250 Books Division: $129,483 Combined total: $ 22,233
  33. 33. QUESTIONS? Dennis Lloyd 608-263-1101 dlloyd2@wisc.edu Twitter: @DLBOOKMAN
  34. 34. THE GLOBAL STORY Through The Eyes Of A Mini-Multinational Pinar Erzin Founder & President Charleston 2016
  35. 35. History 1999 SWETS 2001 EXTENZA 2004 ACCUCOMS Launch SSP in SF 2011 ACCUCOMS sold to SWETS 2013 ACCUCOMS grew by 400%
  36. 36. History 1999 Swets 2001 EXTENZA 2004 ACCUCOMS Launch SSP in SF 2011 ACCUCOMS sold to SWETS 2013 ACCUCOMS growth 35%-400 % Sept 2014 SWETS bankruptcy Nov 2014 ACCUCOMS acquisition Dec 2015 Growth from 38 to 65 staff Jun 2016 Launch New Era for Scholarly Publishers
  37. 37. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHEl2wVI-H4
  38. 38. Thank you for listening to our story! www.accucoms.com

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