Thursday, February 09, 2006

Putting the "I" in branding

An article from today called Brand Me reveals what it is that teens want in a brand - individuality. Teens are no longer interested in what's cool, they want what's "them." This means that companies are opening up the marketing process to teens and allowing them to take ownership of their brands. As the article describes how companies are reaching out to today's teens, "The key to going after those dollars? Playing to teens' interactive desires by involving them in the marketing process, according to Marshall Cohen, chief analyst with the NPD Group. "They're engaging the brand rather than endorsing the brand."" Because of this, marketers are shunning the old standby of mass marketing campaigns, and instead holding local events and allowing teens to customize products (check out the slide show Teen Brands: Now and Then for an illustration of these new strategies).

Libraries too can (and many do) open up their brand to patrons who crave a personalized experience and a greater relationship with our institutions. I think marketing is all about relationships and every interaction with our patrons is an opportunity to "live the brand" (to use marketing-speak) and make meaningful connections. Ideally, these relationships should be two-way dialogues that foster conversation and community.

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