| By Matthew Miskelly |
There’s been something of a rebranding craze in America over the last few years. Weight Watchers became WW; advertising giant Ogilvy & Mather downsized to Ogilvy; Dunkin’ Donuts is now plain Dunkin’; and Jo-Ann Fabrics lost her hyphen and her last name and today goes by Joann.
Gale’s Small Business Resource Center did some rebranding of its own a few months back. But we went all out—we didn’t just lop off the last word—it’s not Small Business Resourcin’ now. No, if you look up the URL today, you’ll find Small Business Resource Center is now called Gale Business: Entrepreneurship. You’ll also find a cleaner and more intuitive home page that highlights the research topics prospective entrepreneurs are looking for.
But people liked Small Business Resource Center. So why change?
“Gale is making enhancements across its online products. By improving the functionality and user experience of our databases, we make the content more discoverable,” said Kristin Mallegg, content strategist for the Business and Organizations team. “The new interface offers a familiar experience that is similar to the sites users visit often and is designed to build comfort and confidence in using a library database. These enhancements will help users find content relevant to their needs while delivering an engaging experience affording easy access to search tools. The move toward greater consistency is reflected in the product name changes.”
Well, the first reviews are in, and the users seem to agree. “I would switch my institution to the new design today,” one Gale customer said. “It’s a much more end-friendly and intuitive experience.” Another user raved about the new look and layout of the platform: “The design is cleaner and more modern, which students are more familiar with. I think they would be able to find information easier. Also, the filters and related terms will help students narrow and/or expand their searches, which is a common weakness in their search results.”
Needless to say, we’re thrilled the initial feedback is positive. But I kept coming back to something Kristin said: “These enhancements will help users find content relevant to their needs . . .” That’s the bottom line, isn’t it? Because we could rebrand to Gale Business: Super-Duper Entrepreneurship and make the site more beautiful than a Monet and it wouldn’t matter if the users didn’t find content relevant to their needs. Quality content relevant to their needs.
I wrote two blogs last year where I profiled four people who started their own business. So I got to thinking: What if a few of these prospective entrepreneurs had stumbled upon Gale Business: Entrepreneurship in the planning stage of their venture and wanted information on a specific topic? Would they find what they were looking for? Would they find content, quality content, relevant to their needs?
For example, one entrepreneur, James Mathison, spoke about how important it was to have a solid business plan: Would he find valuable information about business plans on Gale Business: Entrepreneurship? Easily. Business Plans is one of the first links under Browse Topics on the home page. One click will lead him to over 1,500 magazine and journal articles that touch on business plans. Moreover, almost 1,000 sample business plans from Gale’s Business Plans Handbook would be at James’s fingertips.
But what if the topic wasn’t as broad as “business plans”? Another entrepreneur I profiled, Steph Tortomasi, is co-owner of Geek Chic Collective and sells pop culture jewelry and accessories on Etsy. What if Steph was perusing Gale Business: Entrepreneurship for tips on how to start and manage a venture on Etsy? What would she find? Well, I went to the Gale Business: Entrepreneurship home page and did a basic search on “Etsy business” and found over three dozen resources, including a 3,400-word essay titled “Etsy + Entrepreneurship = Etsy-preneurship” from the book Etsy-preneurship: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Handmade Hobby into a Thriving Business. Which is great. But we live in a digital world; did I get any results in that arena? Yes, and some interesting stuff: a video from the New York Times video collection on how Etsy is giving small business owners a chance to sell to retailers, as well as an NPR Morning Edition audio file of an interview called “Etsy Crafts: A Strategy for Staying Handmade and Profitable.”
So yes, quality content. And easy to find. It took me less than 30 seconds. And it’s a miracle if I can turn on my laptop in the morning without calling the help desk. Imagine what you could do.