I came across this interesting list of the top 10 trends in branding. As we look ahead at how to position ourselves in today’s marketplace, these observations are always helpful. You can read the entire article here, but here’s a brief run down of the list — and how I think it relates to libraries:
1. Value is the new black. More than ever people want to know what they are getting for their dollar. For libraries, which are funded publically, we need to talk about much more than books and programs. What is the value we bring to our communities? I’m convinced that it is measurable and transformative.
2. Brands are increasingly a surrogate for "value" — that’s because a brand is a great shorthand in a cluttered field of information. Libraries are fortunate that we have so much brand equity already, often to the envy of many other organizations.
3. Brand differentiation is brand value. The unique meaning of a brand is more important than ever. What’s more unique than a library? Let’s build on that.
4. "Because I said so" is so over. The era of the big corporate giants defining opinion has been replaced by customer opinion. Think about book, travel, health — all those are led by customer comments today. This could be a mind-set change for libraries, which are built upon librarian expertise. In today’s world, customers share in that expertise.
5. Consumer expectations are growing. Faster, better, and the way I want it. Libraries that are nimble and adaptable are going to do best.
6. Old tricks don’t work anymore. Consumers on are to brands that try to manipulate them. The core authenticity of libraries works in our favor here.
7. They won’t need to know you to love you. The ability to go viral means immediate access around the world. More of that shift away from knowing our customers when they walk into our library; now we need to find ways to connect our staff with customers in a viral environment.
8. It’s not just buzz. Conversation and community is all. Facebook and Twitter aren’t about announcing programs and events. It requires a finessed skill to foster communication between customers themselves. A behind-the-scenes moderator.
9. They’re talking to each other before talking to the brand. Get on board the social media express! And, importantly connect them to each other (Facebook and Twitter) and with your website.
10. Engagement is not a fad; it’s the way today’s consumers do business. For those who hope this is all going away, I hate to break it to you. There’s no going back. Libraries must develop a strategy to engage in this space, and the sooner the better.
What do you think?