Division B - Printed Tools of Public Relations
Category 3 - Brochure - One to Three Color
Passport to Polk
Polk County Communications Division

Award of Distinction

Research/Situation Analysis: The Communications Office fields approximately 5,600 calls per month from citizens and staff looking for phone numbers and information for or about county departments and services. Like other governments, Polk County realizes the value of a telephone directory for efficient resource utilization. For almost ten years, we have offered a Directory of Services to employees and citizens. The Directory of Services looked bland and somewhat amateurish despite the fact that it was outsourced to an advertising agency for final print layout at a cost of approximately $6,000. Users told us repeatedly that the content wasn’t arranged in an easy-to-use manner and that the table of contents did little to help them locate needed information. Entries were categorized by department, rather than a more standard alphabetical listing of topics and services. Information was also often incomplete or missing, forcing users to continue calling the Communications Office Information line.

Objectives: We had four primary goals: to keep publication costs low – ideally no higher than previous editions; to increase functionality and value to users; to create a more professional look and feel for the document; and to put it into widespread circulation so citizens had easy ACCESS to needed contact information

Implementation: To maintain publications costs, we moved to a two-year printing cycle (instead of annual). To maximize usage and value of the directory, and improve the overall presentation, the Communications Office revamped the entire publication. Spiral binding versus saddle stitched (former version) gives our piece a more polished, professional look. More user-friendly since it lies flat when opened. Additional cost: approximately $0.40 more per item. Single color process versus black printing (former version): Again, gives our piece a more polished, professional look. No additional cost for piece to be single-color printed on white paper because it still is just one color. Larger format: 6-1/10”x9-1/10” high versus 5.5”x8.5” (former version): An increase in document size facilitated spiral binding and allowed room for more information and a larger font size. Glossy paper versus recycled paper (former version): More professional look with no real additional cost, plus the paper can be recycled once the directory is outdated.
Additional improvements made to the publication included: Created the publication in-house rather than outsourcing the layout. The cost savings was used to enhance the document. Added formal and informal pictures of the commissioners, information about the constitutional offices, a pull-out map in the back that locates county facilities, parks, community centers and libraries, frequently-called numbers on back cover, message from the county manager , pictures for section dividers, “Reaching Your Representatives” section that includes all of our state and federal delegation. Extremely in-depth directory of county services with descriptions in several places for easy-to-find-information. For example, elections information can be found under candidates, election, elections, precinct locations, supervisor of elections, voter registration, or voting information. All information has description, phone number and address, and most have website information. We also included a general information section with information on hurricane preparedness, voter info, homestead exemption info, and recorded information line.

Evaluation: Because we designed and developed the guide internally, we had timely, enthusiastic participation of management and directors who made easier that their departments and divisions were represented appropriately in the publication. They realized they had an opportunity to distribute valuable resource information both internally and externally. We exceeded our goal of keeping costs the same with new format directory costs actually falling approximately 15% below those of the old format because of productivity improvements and economies of scale savings. The countywide blitz to deliver directories gave us a bonus opportunity to build and/or strengthen relationships while getting the directories to the end users. Polk County staff takes great pride in presenting a professional image to the public it serves and enjoyed working on this publication in-house. The project provided a professional development opportunity as well. “Passport to Polk” has proven to be a valuable tool for both internal and external agencies and individuals. Demand has been unprecedented. City Halls across the county have told us the directories are literally flying out the doors and have almost all requested additional copies. Another first – area realtors have asked for copies to provide to new residents! This has proven to be a very valuable document, indeed!

Budget: The total cost of this two year publication was $24,535. The annual breakdown is as follows:
Printing 15,000 $9,870
Increase in size 655
Map insert 1,633
Proofs 109
Grand Total: $12,267 (Cost per book: $1.64)