What is your message? Public libraries are a unique “bridge” for building social connections. In the world of community building, local libraries have a powerful role to play. Libraries are no longer a passive repository of books and information or an outpost of culture, quiet and decorum in a noisy world, the new, well-marketed and promoted library is an active and responsive part of the community and an agent for change.
Spreading awareness about the services that public libraries have to offer visitors is a challenge and it has been compounded by traditional lack of marketing staff and resources. COVID has brought this issue higher up the agenda for us in libraries as we worked hard and fast over the last year to digitally pivot. This hard work has changed us forever and its probably time to take another look at your marketing plan.
What a starting point we have, what a brand! The brand “Library” is an amazing brand – synonymous with trust, inclusion, equality, ethics and democracy. A brand the community feel they own, free and open to everyone.Having a brand that is this easily recognisable is crucial to help increase awareness of your existence and make you and your library instantly recognisable.
This branding can also really help reassure and reengage your customers after the COVID pandemic. We all know how important it is to make connections with the local community that use the library services regularly as they are likely to spread awareness for the library through word of mouth.
It has never been more important that we are visible as there is so much competition for time and focus. It has been especially difficult as so many of us haven’t even been in the physical building. That’s why the SOLUS app is now in over 6,000 libraries worldwide. Extending access and reach 24/7 anytime, anywhere! We made it easy and fast to make the library visible and accessible 24/7 anytime, anywhere.
We have seen a huge uptake in libraries’ online presences during the COVID pandemic so marketing to the new customers and visitors takes on a wjhole new meaning and is equally important.
“Ultimately, the point of branding is to reassure your audience that they can depend on you and your service. The defines the word ‘brand as “the set of physical attributes of a product or service, together with the beliefs and expectations surrounding it – a unique combination which the name or logo of the product or service should evoke in the mind of the audience.”
Chartered Institute of Marketing
There are so many ways to reinforce your brand and access! Customers see your brand and colours and it must instantly be synonymous with trust and inclusion. Here are 10 areas you might want to look at first;
- Your app 24/7 anytime, anywhere – in the customers’ pockets!
- Library signage, posters, adverts
- Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs, newsletters etc
- Intranet and screensavers
- Website and catalogue
- Library management system (LMS)
- Internal systems e.g. Teams and Slack etc
- Email signatures
- Library report and research document templates
- Billboards and TV advertising
Some or all of these ways have been used by SOLUS customers across the world and we show some examples here.
Your SOLUS library app 24/7 – anytime, anywhere and puts the library brand in the palm of your hand! It immediately registers your library as digitally astute, customer facing, caring and innovative.
Facebook and Youtube – The Dun Laoghaire- Rathdown Library in Ireland promotes their self-service 24/7 access through the app in this way – watch this!
Library signage, posters, adverts …
TV advertising and YouTube – Sunshine Coast library app advert – the gateway to the library!
Autosignatures, Internal systems e.g. Teams and Slack – The all council Autosignature for Moreton Bay Libraries
Billboards ... and how they took it big on – a coherent push through multiple channels!
Building on your strong “library” brand is going to be more and more important! We need supporters, influencers and champions! Don’t placate – Inspire! – 67% of all consumer decisions are primarily influenced by word of mouth so influence the influencers.
Libraries the world over are evolving the stories they share and how they share them. Librarians understand the power of storytelling more than most. Yet, even when in the business of lending books and stories, it’s easy to forget the power of your own story—why you love working for the library, what your library has achieved, and what you’ve learned along the way. It’s stories like this that help the public understand and connect with your library.
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