Friday, July 29, 2005

Branding with a bang

Branding can be your most effective competitive advantage, but did you know that branding is more than just a logo? True, branding can involve a design or a catchy name, but it's a lot more than that. As one article (Brand Aid: The Basics of Branding, by John Williams, free subscription required) described it, "Your brand is your promise to your customer." It's your statment of who you are and what patrons can expect from you, and it sets the tone for your day-to-day operations. If you want your brand to portray your library as trendy, for example, do all of your interactions with your patrons also put forward that theme? Do your e-mails, voicemail recordings and web pages match up with your brand? If not, you may want to rethink whether your brand identity is a good fit for you. (See the article for more branding how-to's).

The Church of the Customer posted about one new solution to developing a brand called citizen marketing. In the post, they referred to a new marketing venture called Cobrandit, a self-described open source ad agency. They offer $50 to people who produce an authentic, true-to-life video about products they love in particular product categories. The presumption here is that the public knows more about branding than the producers themselves.

Citizen marketing is part of a democratizing trend that shows up in marketing news a lot lately, and it's something for librarians to think about too when they consider branding.

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