Creating a Library Marketing Plan 2 – Branding Basics
I love library marketing and branding and think it can be such a powerful thing for our libraries. If you want to follow along with this post series as I explore creating a library marketing plan, check out all the posts here.
When I started to investigate creating a library marketing plan for our school library, I drew upon my marketing and branding knowledge from the business sector and started researching the topic.
You’ve probably heard the words ‘marketing’ and ‘branding’ before. You’ve probably even heard them applied to library settings. But what is marketing and branding, why should we care and what can it offer for school libraries?
What is marketing and branding?
Marketing includes the tools, processes and methods used to promote your library. It’s the action you take. You are probably already marketing your school library – newsletter articles, social media accounts, posters or emails. That’s marketing. But, you can also market your library a lot more strategically and effectively. That’s where branding comes in.
A brand is who you are. It’s what people know about you or think about you. Yes, it includes your name, maybe a logo and your colour scheme but your brand is also a lot more than that. Your brand defines you as a school library or school library team. It’s your vision, your mission, your values and what sets you apart. It also helps to guide your marketing, whether that’s with a consistent message or consistent design, and helps direct your library in general. Your brand should reflect everything from how users are greeted as they walk through the door to how an overdue email reads.
Why should I care?
So maybe you’ve heard about branding or marketing before and don’t think these business terms belong in the library world. Or maybe you’re already busy creating posters and writing emails and trying to share what is happening in the school library, so you don’t have time for more. If you are unconvinced branding and marketing is for you, here are a few reasons to get interested.
Increases your impact
If you are spending some time promoting events or library happenings, you might has well get maximum impact for your time. Having a consistent marketing plan that reflects your brand will give you that impact.
Advocate for your library or position
I don’t think there is a librarian or library out there who doesn’t feel the need to protect their library or position. Having a library brand that fits in with a clear marketing plan allows you to advocate, advocate, advocate. And it makes that easy. It shares with everyone – from your leadership to your parents – who the library is, what it does and why that’s important.
Guides your direction
The very process of creating a brand is forward focused. It helps to direct your future and where the school library is going. It creates momentum and it brings your team, leadership and stakeholders right along with you.
Where do I start?
Convinced? Or at least want to know more? So where do you start.
You start with your brand. You might already have a brand. In fact, you do. It just might not be one that you consciously created. If you don’t create and direct your brand, sometimes what you end up with is what you end up with. And that might not be want you want. So, step one is conducting a brand audit. It’s a really powerful process. I learnt so much in the process of auditing our library’s brand. From there, it was time to update our strategic plan, mission and vision statements and create a marketing plan. I’ll share all that with you in the next posts in this series.
I’ve read quite a few books and helpful articles on marketing, branding and brand audits. Here are some you might like to check out.
Articles and blog posts
Librarian in the Middle – blog, first 5 steps guide, podcast and more.
How to market for a school library post and webinar recording from Shannon McClintock.
Being visible and vocal- Marketing the school library post from Kelsey Bogan.
Marketing your school library article by Andrew Downie via SCIS Connections
Librarians: Build Your Brand – Bubble Up Classroom
Super Library Marketing – this website created by Angela Hursh is fantastic and a must read.