Monday, June 04, 2007

'Bout branding - thanks GPLLA!

Thanks to the Greater Philadelphia Law Library Association (GPLLA) for inviting me to speak about library branding on Friday. GPLLA was an outstanding host and audience - I can't thank you enough for your kindness!

I also want to thank all of you who shared your insights into the wonderful world of law libraries with me. You opened my eyes to a fascinating area of librarianship and your input was invaluable to me in preparing the talk.

For those of you who may be interested, my talk is entitled, From Superfluous to Substantive: Marketing that Matters. In it, I outline what real branding is, why it's important, and how to do it. During my presentation, I tried to get across the following key points:

1. How you execute your brand is highly context-specific. Your brand depends on your personality and abilities, your competitors, your patrons and their perceptions, and your organization.
2. Every marketing decision you make and every contact you have with patrons is an opportunity to live your brand and to do something remarkable.
3. Brands are not just descriptive, they're aspirational.
4. No one cares about what you have; Patrons care about what you can do for them.

Point #4 is particularly important and where I think most librarians have trouble. It's easy to fall into the trap of demonstrating features instead of benefits, but doing so puts our own ambitions in front of our patrons', which in turn makes our libraries irrelevant to them. A better approach would be to apply the model/equation I outline here:

If we focus all of our marketing/branding efforts on C (and a bit on B), we position ourselves as vital partners in our patrons' success, which in turn makes us relevant and necessary to our users. If we focus on A, we lose sight of what marketing is about: patrons' needs. And that's plain bad marketing.

I hope the GPLLAers took this to heart (and that I made sense!). If any of you readers out there have questions about the items in the presentation, let me know and I'll be happy to answer them! Since I've done so much branding reading lately, you can bet that the topic will come up more here on LM, so stay tuned.


Sybil said...

Jill, you're right on with all your key points. And #4 remains me of a formula I learned in sales training that reinforces the importance of benefits over features. When dealing with customers and prospects,remember to tune into WII.FM ... always consider "what's in it for me" from their perspective.

Jill said...

Glad I was in the ballpark, Sybil! I love your "tune into WII.FM" - ha! Thanks for commenting. :)