The director of my neighborhood library, Ann Moore at Upper Arlington Public Library, alerted me to a great article in American Libraries Magazine. If you need help convincing library staff to keep messages short — admit it, sometimes you do — cite this article.
In the article, “Keeping Our Message Simple,” the author, James LaRue, mostly focuses on creating advocacy by training passionate library users to deliver the value message throughout the community. But listen to what he also says. From a marketing perspective, it is rule of law:
“Repetition of a concise message is another thing librarians have trouble with. We can’t just tell people three things and leave. We have to give them six brochures, nine bookmarks, four fliers, describe three new services, and highlight one research study. We so overwhelm people with information that we communicate nothing.
“We need to keep things simple. We should have no more than four stories and messages, we should make them human and memorable, and we should keep saying them, over and over and over and over, not just in Colorado, but all around the country, and for years. Just like the folks who speak against public-sector funding.”
Can I say, “amen, brother!’ Doing this is, I suspect, fundamentally counter-intuitive to a librarian who has been rigorously trained to provide all the information available. That’s doing their job. But sometimes, really, less is more.
And the repetition is hard to accept. As I have gone out and spoken to libraries, I talk about our incredible media coverage. Guess what? We only talk about the same four or five things. Over and over. Amazingly, we get countless coverage on the same service…say Homework Help Centers.
Everyday our psyches are pummeled with information. To penetrate all that noise we need to be concise, memorable, emotional and simple. Then say it again.