Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Marketing to the rescue?

Can marketing sway international politics and is there a lesson here for librarians? Maybe. An article in News by Clay Risen entitled "Re-branding America" discusses the possibilities and pitfalls of "nation-branding," defined by Risen as "what you get when you take traditional public diplomacy strategies and add marketing tools designed to change national perceptions." In the article, Risen notes the importance of "living the brand," or backing up marketing initiatives with services, or in this case policies, that reinforce the marketing piece. Consistency, it is argued here, is the key to successful marketing campaigns and so any exercise in nation-branding should include concrete policies that further the image a nation is trying to create.

This idea of "living the brand" makes me think of the UNC sticker ads from one of my previous posts. It's wonderful that the stickers have been so popular with students, but the key to that success, in my mind, is that UNC did its research and identified a chat tool that is already widely used by students (AOL Instant Messenger) and that students can reliably use the library's buddy name to get good reference service.

Have any of you made changes to your services as a direct result of your marketing plan? Please share!

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