I attended another inspiring luncheon with the American Marketing Association. This topic was Cult Branding 2.0. Speaker was Chris Stets of One Four Design Group. As I listened to Chris, I kept thinking over and over — he’s talking about libraries! See what you think.
Chris interviewed CEOs or CMOs of leading brands: Target, Apple, Harley Davidson, Walmart. He wanted to find out what attracts people to a brand. He discovered some basic principles: they offer something no one else does, but more than that, they are in a class of their own. They are masters of building lasting and meaningful relationships with their customers. Sound anything like libraries?
He laid out 7 Rules for Cult Brands:
1. The Club: Customers WANT to be in a group that is different. That couldn’t be more true with Apple or Harley customers!
2. Courage: Cult Brands show daring and determination. They dare to be different and are willing to take risks.
3. Fun: Cult Brands sell lifestyles. They are fun. They capitalize on our human need for self-actualization by developing products and services that support high-level needs.
4. Human Needs: Listen to the choir and create brand evangelists. Respect your choir. Value their opinions. Reward them. Remember that core followers all want to believe, but need to see miracles in the form of unexpected gifts and surprises.
5. Contribution: Cult brands always create customer communities. They always give back. Find new ways to show love of and appreciation for the passion and devotion of your customer clusters.
6. Openness: Cult brands are inclusive. Don’t build imaginary profiles of ideal customers. They don’t discriminate and embrace anyone.
7. Freedom: Cult brands promote personal freedom and draw power from memorable sensory experiences. They stay fresh in the “diary of the mind” with brand consistency and nostalgic marketing.
All that can apply directly to the positioning of libraries in our communities. He added:
1. Determine where you are now.
2. Discover your brand evangelists. His example were HOGs: Harley Owner Group.
3. Understand your brand evangelists’ needs. Listen to what their needs are.
4. Diversify your key touchpoints. No two customers are alike and receive information in different ways.
5. Translate your ideas into creative communication.In today’s world you have to be creative — really creative, not what I perceive many libraries think is creative. We have to be powerfully creative enough to change people’s behaviors.
6. Sell-in to your internal team. Your staff have to live the brand. Your value proposition that you present to your customers has to be the same as the value proposition you present to your employees. If not, the end-user will feel the disconnect.
7. Put your knowledge to work.Get out there and put your knowledge in multiple channels so people can see it and respond: Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Twitter, etc.
Some final thoughts: I learned about PURLS — personalized URLs, where uber-customers have direct contact with the company in order to receive rewards, coupons, special offers, etc….all to enhance loyalty. Libraries could do that in a heartbeat!
And I loved this final quote: “Creativity is the defeat of habit through originality.” And — marketing is how we know what our customers want and we use that information to guide all our decisions. Marketing is NOT a poster!!