Monday, August 24, 2009

branding @ your library.

Frustrated by a newspaper headline that mistakenly referred to our library as a museum, I told my husband I thought we needed a rebranding. He asked what I thought "branding" a library really meant. I believe it goes something like this: crafting a mission for your library that describes what you do and why, then communicates the message to users in a way that is distinct, consistent, easily understood, and at its best, memorable.

Obviously, I have some independent study to do, probably outside of the library literature. But "The House Brand,"Alison Circle and Kerry Bierman's 6/15/2009 Library Journal article describes a brand as "a promise you make to your customer, and a promise that is unified, consistent, and believable can help ensure that the library thrives." "The House Brand"
is a thorough read that presents the Columbus Metropolitan Library's strategic rebranding, down to their research and survey methods, the process of defining their "identity", struggles with staff buy-in, and preliminary results.

The article describes the strategic rebranding of the Columbus Metropolitan Library as "a critical business decision to articulate the unmistakable value of libraries." (This is just the thing Francine Fialko called for, as described in my last post.) They sought to counter circumstances to which all public libraries can currently relate: "flat funding, a struggling economic climate, and a pending levy in 2010." The work is inspiring and I highly recommend you read the full article, which provides photos of their new logos, signage, bookmobile, etc.

though it was imperative they lose their "house of brands" approach, the Columbus Metropolitan Library created 35 templates for their house brand to provide flexibility

The House Brand
How giving up many brands in exchange for one created a marketing plan with a big impact
Library Journal June 15, 2009 Vol 134 No 11
By Alison Circle and Kerry Bierman at Columbus Metropolitan Library in Ohio

*Note: the article's resource list is limited to non-library marketing sources. I wonder if this was an editorial choice or just more evidence of the lack of marketing-related library literature, websites, and blogs.

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