November 17, 2017

Library Branding 101

Question of the day: How do I get started marketing my library? I hear that question from libraires and when I do, I often share with them my marketing plan for our lbrary (which I’m happy to send to you if you like.) But my plan presumes that someone has a familiarity with marketing and isn’t necessary the most helpful for beginners.

One of the unsung benefits of working for a library is that staff often send reading suggestions my way. Recently someone sent me the title of a new publication that I think you’ll find helpful and might just answer the question of how to get started.

Creating Your Library Brand, by Elisabeth Doucett, self-proclaims its intent: communicating your relevance and value to your patrons. Essentially it is a hands-on fundmental how-to for libraries to stake out their own library brand. 

I’m always skeptical when I see marketing or branding advice written by authors who are not marketing professionals. So it was with curiosity that I turned to the author’s bio to assess her creditials. At first I read that she is a library director, so I started to skip down the skeptic’s path. But this gal has the double-whammy: she has an MLS and an MBA in marketing, plus extensive field experience in both. 

Here’s a line from the introduction:

"Branding helps libraries develop a laser-sharp message about the role they play in their communities, and it helps them ensure that the message is delivered in a way that will have a measurable impact on potential users. "

The book is short and digestible with step-by-step instructions on conducting a brand audit, defining your message, setting brand standards; it even has a glossary of terms at the end. 

Maybe most important, she supports the need for branding and marketing of libraries, some of which still think customers will keep coming no matter what we do.Because information is now everywhere, as she says: "
libraries can no longer expect that they will automatically maintain their current users and also bring in the next generation of users." The tool to help? Marketing.

Her best advice: Don’t be afraid. So pick it up. 

What I’m reading: Music Quickens Time by the celebrated pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim. The next title in my extensive study of the creative process.

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

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Comments

  1. How can I get a copy of your library’s marketing plan?

  2. library Branding 101 says:

    Send me an email and I’ll send it to you today. acircle@columbuslibrary.org

  3. janie rutherford says:

    I would like a copy of your marketing plan as well. email: janier@kslib.info

  4. janie rutherford says:

    I would like a copy of your marketing plan as well. email: janier@kslib.info

  5. Would you please send it over to my email as well (adam.paszternak at gmail dot com)? This topic is hot and urgent nowdays, so I’d like to learn as much about branding and marketing as I can.
    Thank you!

    Adam, Hungary

  6. Lezlea Dahlke says:

    Just in the nick of time! Please send your library’s marketing plan onto us as well: ldahlke@selco.info
    Thanks!

  7. Jane Anderson says:

    Just found this site – Please send me your Marketing plan too
    Thank You!!
    j.anderson@vlc.lib.mi.us

  8. Molly Skeen says:

    Hello,

    Would you please email your marketing plan to me: mollyskeen@gmail.com

    Thank you.

  9. sure send it to me too jhoskins@vegreville.com

  10. sure send it to me too jhoskins@vegreville.com

  11. high school librarian says:

    Branding is important in every product and service consumers, patrons etc. look for when seeking out a product or service. Is your library service oriented? Is your library the “answer gurus”? Is your library a quiet place to unwind or get homework done? It can be one of these or all of these. It is how you present it but a key factor is ALL staff have to be on the same page e.g. marketing the same branding elements from the reference librarian to the human resources person to the circulation desk person.

  12. high school librarian says:

    Branding is important in every product and service consumers, patrons etc. look for when seeking out a product or service. Is your library service oriented? Is your library the “answer gurus”? Is your library a quiet place to unwind or get homework done? It can be one of these or all of these. It is how you present it but a key factor is ALL staff have to be on the same page e.g. marketing the same branding elements from the reference librarian to the human resources person to the circulation desk person.

  13. Please send me a copy of your marketing plan. Thanks!
    bwald@maplewoodlibrary.org

  14. any possiblity that I could also get a copy of your library’s marketing plan? we’re in the middle of re-branding and developing a marketing plan of our own. tjagerson@sdcpll.org
    thanks!

  15. Add me to the list of people who’d like a copy of your marketing plan. Thanks!

  16. Add me to the list of people who’d like a copy of your marketing plan. Thanks!

  17. Hi Alison

    I thank you for sharing this on net.
    Could you please share a copy to my mail id ksirish@firstam.com> I would be more thankful to you.

    Regards
    Sirish

  18. Can you send me your email address so I can send the marketing plan to you? Thanks.
    Alison

  19. I would like a copy of your marketing plan as well. email: srf1959@gmail.com

  20. I would like a copy of your marketing plan as well. Thanks
    email:
    jan.perrier@roxburylibrary.org

  21. Jackie Lichtman says:

    I also would like a copy of your marketing plan. Thanks
    jlichtma@jmrl.org

  22. Hi,

    Can you please email me your marketing plan?

    lizemmett@orcon.net.nz

    Thanking you
    Liz

  23. Is it possible to get a copy of your marketing plan? Email:adickerson@pvld.org

  24. Erwin van Zanten says:

    Is it possible that I could also get a copy of your library’s marketing plan? we’re in the middle of re-branding and developing a marketing plan of our own in Media, PA.
    Please send it to erwin@vanzantendesign.com

  25. ST LOUIS COUNTY LIBRARY says:

    I would like a copy of your library’s marketing plan, too, if it’s not an imposition. jcruise@slcl.org

  26. Paula Watson-Lakamp says:

    I’d love a copy also… Thanks!
    poudre.libraries3@gmail.com

  27. May I ask for a copy of your marketing plan as well? Thanks! chamer24@yahoo.com

  28. May I please have a copy of your marketing plan? Thank you. sjones@georgiasouthern.edu

  29. May I please have a copy of your marketing plan? Thank you very much. I’m reading Doucett’s book right now! dmcphi2@gmail.com

  30. Would you please email your marketing plan to me: shangwad@gmail.com

    Thank you

  31. More room on that bandwagon??

    Please send it to me too!

    neelanrach@yahoo.ca

    Thanks sooo much!

    N

  32. Hey, as long as you are sending out material. I would love a copy of your Marketing Plan and any additional guides for re-branding your library (a process we are attempting currently).

    Cheers,

    John
    jpappas@rcplib.org

  33. Bernie Smith says:

    Please send me a copy of your marketing plan,too! bernie.smith@monroe.lib.mi.us

    Thanks

  34. Dorothy Vuong says:

    Hi I am a latecomer. Can you email me your marketing plan please? d.n.vuong@bham.ac.uk.
    Thanks

  35. Please send me a copy of your marketing plan too…thank you!

  36. Can you send me a copy of your marketing plan please?