This presentation has a great round-up of useful books, blogs and websites on all things to do with Library marketing. Check it out:<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”https://www.slideshare.net/KathyDempsey/where-to-find-library-marketing-info” title=”Where to Find Library Marketing Info” target=”_blank”>Where to Find Library Marketing Info</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/KathyDempsey” target=”_blank”>Libraries Are Essential consultancy</a></strong> </div>
I’m on the #brandlibraries working party – one of the LIANZA’s Strengthening the Profession projects. I couldn’t really not put my hand up for this project, seeing as I have been banging on about libraries and aspects of marketing for a while. However some stressful personal family circumstances made me doubt if I had the energy for this. Well I ended up applying, things have changed family wise and the project is now under way and I am part of the working party. Vye Perrone (Waikato University) is chairing the working party, and other team members are Sandy Green (Masterton Public) and Amanda-Jane McFadden (Tauranga Public).
I won’t be blogging about every aspect of the working party – that won’t be appropriate as the project is LIANZA’s and there are reporting requirements back to LIANZA Council. But at the moment I’m considering what branding is, and thinking about what it is we might exactly need to achieve.
The project aim is to “Create a strong, unified library “brand” aimed at decision makers, which spell out the economic and social value of libraries in New Zealand”
So let’s have a look at what some of my favourite library marketing gurus have to say on the subject.
In The Accidental Library Marketer, Kathy Dempsey (p. 125) says:
Branding is another important aspect to consider as you look at your overall marketing picture. That’s really about developing the “personality” of your product and service. How do you want people to see you? What characteristics should come to mind when people think of you?
In The Library Marketing Toolkit, Ned Potter (p. 37-38) writes:
Branding is the:
process of creating a recognizable product or service – building an identity which people understand – and marketing it as distinct from potential competitors.
(For libraries these are bookshops, the internet and other institutions people can invest time in).
The brand … is the sum total of everyone’s perceptions about what you do. It is the way people feel about your library, the way people describe your library to others. Clearly branding as a marketing practise is an attempt to influence this as favourably as possible. But the brand is in the eye of the beholder – in the eyes of the users and non-users of your library – so you can never fully control it .. To put it a simpler way, a brand exists in the way people feel about something; branding is an attempt to make these feelings positive
He also writes – and these aspects are key (p. 39,)
Ultimately the aim of an organization’s branding and visual identity is not just to give a good impression, but to help people position that organization within their lifestyle. It helps people make a decision as to whether something is “for them” or not … Branding doesn’t just increase use of the library by attracting new customers, it also increases the amount of use by existing customers, and influences those decision makers who hold the purse strings for library finance
Libraries are already a strong brand – and to most people, that brand means books. A recent US study* indicated that this association was only getting stronger – in 2010 75% of American’s associated libraries with books, which was up from 69% in 2005.
In his post on The Physics of Your Library Brand, Steve Matthews points out:
There are few brands in the world bigger than LIBRARY. Library is generic – they are all the same, they are interchangeable, they all function the same, look and smell the same as far as the public perception is concerned. LIBRARY is one of the biggest brands ever developed. It took centuries to create the LIBRARY brand – BOOK. It will not be replaced easily or quickly – “the bigger a brand, the more difficult it is to reposition it”
However strong brands don’t always survive. Libraries have been fighting threats to our brand for almost as long as I have been in the profession (and that is a few years now!).
But as Steve Matthews asks:
How can the library re-invent itself and change its brand to survive in the 21st Century technology and information marketplace? How can we apply physics to library marketing in order to move the library’s position in the marketplace?
One of his recommendations is:
On a national level, library associations must conduct marketing campaigns that change the LIBRARY brand to something other than BOOK
So we do already have a brand, the question is probably are we wanting to reposition it?
And for this project – is it necessary to reposition the library brand in order to meet the primary outcome of the project which is “libraries are recognised as core to a healthy and prosperous New Zealand” ? You could say it isn’t, but you could also argue that this is an ideal opportunity to attempt to do so!
Or should we focus more on a publicity/public relations campaign. And if that is the case what about the information about the “economic and social value libraries in New Zealand”? Presumably any campaign is going to need to have this information – so where will it come from? Are the advocacy pages on the LIANZA website developed well enough to draw upon?
We have an interesting challenge ahead!
* http://www.oclc.org/reports/2010perceptions.htm (see pg. 38)
Definitions in the field of marketing can be rather confusing – many terms are used interchangeably. For instance people can talk about marketing when more correctly they are talking about advertising. These definitions from Kathy Dempsey’s book – The accidental library marketer (2009, p. 16-17) – are useful for demystifying some of the terminology:
Marketing is taking steps to move goods from producers to consumers. It’s determining what people want, delivering it, evaluating consumer satisfaction, and then periodically updating that whole process.
Public relations is a planned, long-term communication program (via various media) with a goal of convincing the public to have good will toward something. It’s helping people to think well of an organization, product or concept.
Publicity is sending a message via official channels such as news releases, newsletters and press conferences.
Promotion is furthering the growth or development of a product or service. It’s not just aiming toward good will; it’s encouraging people to use the product or service by telling those people how it would benefit them.
Advertising is calling attention to something through paid announcements.
Branding is a process with dual objectives: 1) establishing a strong link between a company and its logo/typeface/picture or name/phrase and 2) developing the “personality” of your product and service, establishing the characteristics that should come to mind when people think of you. Branding helps build loyalty.
Advocacy is getting people who have good opinions of your organization to speak others on its behalf, to convince other people of its value.
Stare at these definitions long enough and I think that even they start to get a bit blurry around the edges 😉
It is worth considering that in a marketing framework, advertising, promotion public relations and publicity are part of the marketing communications mix – which according to Kotler and Keller in A framework for marketing management (2009, p. 256) is:
the means by which firms attempt to inform, persuade and remind consumers – directly or indirectly – about the products and brands they sell. They represent the “voice” of the company and brand and are a good way to establish a dialogue and build relationships with consumers”.
The other parts of the marketing communications mix are events, direct marketing, interactive marketing, word-of-mouth marketing and personal selling.
Because these elements that make up the marketing communications mix are the parts of marketing that we usually see, it tends to dominate our view of what marketing actually is.
And just to add to any confusion, I was chatting to a colleague at work about where public relations fitted into marketing – i.e. it’s a component of marketing. Well apparently according to public relations theory, marketing is a subset of public relations!
Heather Lamond, LIANZA’s president-elect, has recently blogged to promote the upcoming advocacy workshops that LIANZA is running in New Zealand. There has been slower uptake for these workshops and I thought I would pitch in and do some promotion.
One thing to be aware of is that advocacy and marketing are not the same thing. So if you have already attending one of the recent LIANZA marketing courses (co-presented by yours truly) you will be exposed to a different emphasis and pick up another skill set. As library marketing guru Kathy Dempsey says marketing is:
determining what people want, delivering it, evaluating consumer satisfaction, and then periodically updating the whole process.
While advocacy is:
getting people who have good opinions of your organization to speak to others on its behalf, to convince other people of its value
Dempsey’s definition does make it sounds like advocacy is part of what other people do for us, but as Heather points out:
we all, as individuals, need to have the skills, knowledge and strength to articulate our value and unique contribution (without having to wait or rely on someone else to do it). This is not just about negotiating library budgets or funding for new buildings, but about being able to tell our story in a way that makes a difference to those outside our profession
This doesn’t necessarily come easy to everyone, but I believe it’s important to do our bit to develop these skills, so that we can be advocates for our libraries, our customers and our profession at every level. You can find details of the workshops in Heather’s blog post – be sure to attend if you can 🙂
… I got my very own copy of Kathy Dempsey’s book The accidental library marketer.
One of the many excellent parts of this book is a description of what Dempsey calls The cycle of true marketing. You can see a diagram of the cycle on her website, but you’ll need to get hold of the book to get a full description 🙂 Essentially the cycle outlines the steps that are necessary to do marketing correctly, which enable you to maximise the results of your marketing activities.
Kathy Dempsey has a fabulous Facebook page that she started for her marketing business – Libraries Are Essential. She posts tips on marketing, links to articles and studies, and best practice examples of library promotion. It looks like a fantastic resource for keeping up to date! Check it out at www.Facebook.com/LibrariesAreEssential.
Seth Godin’s post on the future of the library gives us a useful insight into perceptions about libraries, whether we think he is right or wrong in what he says. Sarah Glassmeyer has done a good job of unpacking it all on her blog.
And Kathy Dempsey’s comments (part of Seth’s posting) are right on the mark and worth reproducing here:
I’ve been in the library field for more than 20 years, and I think Seth’s proposal is off-base: “train people to take intellectual initiative.”
Libraries already have plenty of people willing & able to train others in how to do better searches, to be more information-literate, and how to use technology to its best advantage. One of the problems I see is that the public (be they students, community members, business people, etc.) do not want or value the help of librarians, who are still stereotyped as old-fashioned and not useful in the information age. Librarians have all this key knowledge but nobody wants to hear it from them. It’s not cool or smart to ask a librarian for help (especially if you’re a Digital Native). This could be at the core of our downfall. What I therefore see as a more important step is for librarians to fight and update their stereotype. People need to realize and understand their value. We need to get out of our own boxes and show leaders how smart and useful we are. Unfortunately, most lib employees aren’t good at this, and there are few out there who can teach them how to do it. This isn’t part of the library school curriculum. And once you’re in an day-to-day library job, you don’t have the permission, time, or money to find and take workshops that will teach this still. Many, too, don’t even want to put themselves out there. The old “people who need us will come to us w/o outreach” mentality is a threat to our survival. To sum up: the library field already has great trainers and thought leaders. But they don’t reach outside their own field, and on the rare occassions that they do, too few people find them worth listening to.
So here we are again. Our challenge is to communicate the value we can offer, whether it’s through providing collective access to resources, or being intellectual leaders. The thing is, this challenge has been around for a few years now. My dream is that by the end of this decade (in fact way earlier than that!) librarians have this sorted – we have upskilled our profession about how we can use all aspects of the marketing discipline to enhance what we do, and we are experts at communicating our own value and that of all the resources we provide.