Branding the Library Service


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To (too?) Public: library Marketing and Public Relations in Public Libraries Today. Presentation by Alison Hunter, Principal Libraries Officer, East Lothian Council, Scotland

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  • I am going to talk to you this morning about how ELLS went about carrying out a branding of the whole service and in particular the marketing campaign put in place for children.
  • Firstly I would like to tell you a few facts about East Lothian. The county of East Lothian lies to the east of Edinburgh and borders the Firth of Forth/North Sea. It has been predominantly a farming and fishing community in the past and has recently seen a growing population as families move out from the city of Edinburgh. There is not much industry in east Lothian now and a large proportion of the population commute out of East Lothian to work. The population estimate is currently 96,830 and growing year on year, although it is one of the smaller Council areas in Scotland. Each of the 6 main towns has a library, the busiest being Musselburgh to the west of the county, which borders Edinburgh City and is the most urban in the area. 6 of the villages also have libraries – 2 co-located with community centres 1 with a day centre Two mobiles serve the other smaller villages in the county, the rural areas and some primary and nursery schools in rural areas. The service is administered from a dedicated administrative HQ which is situated in Haddington right in the middle of the county. This also houses the Records store for the Council. The library service has the remit for providing the Council’s archives and records management service as well as the library service. This is a picture of one of our smaller village libraries, east linton, which shares the building with the day centre.
  • These are the aims for our service and I am sure reflect in general the aims of many public library services – all are centred around the entitlements to information, access to books and reading , education in its broadest sense and leisure activity. This gives a background to the service and I would now like to talk to you about why we decided that we needed new branding and what we considered when doing this.
  • The East Lothian Library Service in its present form has been part of the unitary authority, East Lothian Council since 1996. There have been a number of developments within public libraries over the past fifteen years as a result of new technology and national political initiatives and We had identified that this it was an appropriate time to take stock of the current situation and consider how best to market the service to a potentially greater audience. An important consideration was to consider how best to ‘brand’ the Library Service as there was a feeling that events, policies and initiatives planned and implemented by the Library Service were often not recognised as such – either by external customers or internally within East Lothian Council. At the same time we were planning for a new library, which would be a flagship building for us , in Prestonpans and wanted to consider branding of the service in line with this development. Bu what should that cover.? We would need new leaflets, but through the marketing group we identified that the branding had to go much further and provide us with an identifiable logo which said libraries. The image was all important to focus the library service as a service for the 21 st century and encompass all the services that we provided. With the help of our corporate communications team we put out a brief to a number of design companies and with a very modest ceiling price asked them to provide us with some initial examples of their work and what they could do for us. The three options were presented to the marketing group who chose the design you see here from Shaw Marketing and Design. A company from Edinburgh. The Marketing Group liked the bright bold colours and the mix of drawing and strap line and the vibrancy of the logo. The strap line in particular has given us lots of potential. A new set of leaflets was designed for the service by the Council’s graphics unit to cover all of the services that we provide to be put into a welcome wallet. I have a few copies here if anyone is interested in seeing them afterwards. As well as a leaflet with all the opening times each library has its own business card with opening times which can be kept handy in a purse or wallet. A place for this is provided in the welcome wallet.
  • The first step was to draw up a marketing strategy looking at the objectives we wanted to achieve. We looked at the factors which could affect the service - political – possible administration change, economic, social – population growth and technology - investment in new technology . We also looked at our ; Strengths e.g. we got extensive and positive coverage of the service in the local media Weaknesses – identified signage as a problem Opportunities – to expand into local radio – and we now have a very successful slot on a regular basis on local community radio Threats – public perception of libraries We asked for volunteers from across the library service at all levels to be involved in a marketing group to take things forward, from library assistants to members of the senior management team. Staff were so enthusiastic about being involved that we had to put some staff on a waiting list. It was crucial to get that buy in from staff and to ensure that they were involved in the branding exercise and the marketing initiatives. Our main aim is to increase the use of libraries and to widen our appeal., but there are a number of objectives around marketing the service, which means that we need a strong brand. An Action plan was drawn up and we have just recently looked at this again at the plan and updated it – it links in to the objectives you see here and includes - attending local galas to promote the service, making sure new homes in local areas get welcome packs posted through their doors, create a summer reading challenge for teenagers, evaluation events, build on current partnerships e.g the Local book festival and forge new ones, use blogs, twitter and facebook to create followers.
  • We had highlighted signage as a weakness in the strategy and therefore Signage was a key component in the branding exercise and will continue to be so. We have a number of new library developments in the next 18 months, which will allow us to focus on this. Here is a picture of our most recent new library Prestonpans with the strap line used on boards on shelf ends sp as well as external signage we will use the brand inside as well. . All posters and other signage include the logo and we have a version without the strap line for use as well. .
  • As I mentioned The action plan for the marketing strategy included taking the library out into the community to galas, the local agricultural show, events in community halls etc. and we use our mobile library for these outreach promotions. We agreed the brand should be carried through to our vehicles. our mobile library service is a great travelling advert for the service as is our delivery van.. The delivery van also has the branding on the back doors, as well as the side so that people driving behind the vehicle will be getting the message! We also had pull up banners designed which could be used at events, particularly those not happening in the library, in order to ensure that people were aware that it was a library event. A photographer was commissioned to take photos of particular areas of the service so that these could be promoted. Again the strap line was used and each banner focuses on a word of the strap line. We are just about to have these redone with new photographs and including our wi-fi service. Polo shirts were also purchased for staff to wear at outside events so that again the library service participation would be obvious. The branding also included merchandising such as pens, key rings, jute bags and usb sticks.
  • Continuing the theme of promoting the library away form a static building Web promotion is an essential factor with24/7 libraries provided through on-line access. Over a year ago the Council created a new web site and we took the opportunity to use this to change the library web pages and reflect the library brand within our own library web pages of the corporate web site. As you can see we have used the colour of the branding to highlight different areas of the service.
  • Similarly we wanted our catalogue to feature the brand. In March we moved over to a new look catalogue and again have used the branding to great effect.
  • I mentioned earlier that one feature of the branding we really liked was the strap line. It has been particularly useful and we use this in lots of ways you saw earlier that we have used it on bay end shelves in our most recent library. It has also been carried through to be used at the bottom of emails and newsletters with staff using it to promote books, music, web sites and events. This is one example of how it has been used in an email signature. That brings to an end the talk about the overall branding that we have done, but I would like to now talk about the specific branding for children that we have very recently done.
  • The second branding exercise which arose out of the marketing group was to look at the service for children. I just love this Barack Obama quote which features in our strategy and really just says it all about what we are trying to do in libraries for children. We have always had good take up of library membership by children because we are very pro-active in encouraging them to use the service through things like - Bookbug sessions – these are rhymetime sessions for babies and parents associated with book gifting through a national scheme organised by Scottish Book Trust, also through visits by nurseries and primary schools to their local library. And events and activities for children. However we felt there was an opportunity to do much more and through the marketing strategy identified the need for branding for children so that they would have a symbol that they would associate that with their library. It was agreed that what we needed was a mascot for children, which would identify that character as the library service mascot and would appear on all our material for children – membership card, posters etc. A very talented member of library staff came up with the cartoon lion idea and everyone on the marketing group and across the service loved it.
  • The idea was that the mascot would appear on all materials for children. In order to involve children in the idea for the mascot and to make it their own our Young Peoples’ team ran a very successful “name the lion” competition. The winning name was Lennox and coincidentally tied in very well with the first Book festival to be held in East Lothian. The book festival , an annual event, is held at a well known stately home called Lennoxlove House near Haddington, the County town and the festival is now known as the Lennoxlove Book Festival. It seemed an ideal opportunity to announce the winning entry and the announcement was made at the book festival on board the mobile library. The children were given free tickets to see children’s author Michael Morpurgo as part of their prize. The next step was not only to have Lennox appearing on stickers and posters but in person. Our intrepid YPs Librarian then hunted down costume designers to find someone who could design a lion costume for us. So now Lennox appeasr in person at events across the County and has been met with great success. He has been front page news in the local newspaper and children really love the character. He is now in great demand. Sadly you have to be taller than I to fit into the costume, therefore I haven’t been able to try out my lion impersonation. Luckily we have lots of willing and talented staff who fit the bill.
  • As well as appearing in person he now also appears in the virtual world and has his own blog.   The launch of Lennox was accompanied by a membership scheme for children which ran for a month last year. All new junior members (age 0-12) who joined their local library received a free East Lothian Lennox Lion soft toy when they borrowed their first book. The campaign was another roaring success! During this period 421 children registered, as opposed to 177 the previous year and children’s book issues increased by 17.5%. We have recently been working on a project to put a reading scheme called Accelerated Reading used in schools into public libraries. For which received funding from the Scottish Governments’ Public Library Improvement fund administered by SLIC. As part of that programme we have designed Lennox collectors cards so that children can record the books they are reading from the scheme in their local library and receive a certificate at then end.
  • Here is an example of the certificate they receive amended for the occasion. Anyway I hope this gives you some ideas about the two our branding exercises we have carried out. One of our next steps is redesigning “Lennox” for the teenage community as one of our objectives is to encourage more teenage use. But with any project of this kind it is ongoing work looking at what is working and updating the strategy and action plan. Having had our welcome packs and leaflets in place for some time we are now reviewing what we need and looking at what is available on-line and what we still need to provide in paper. We haven’t done an in depth analysis of the impact of the branding exercise, however since 2007 issues, borrower registrations and visits have all increased year on year. New members have see a slight downturn this year, but this is due to the hugely successful marketing campaign last year, which saw children‘s membership more than double. I have brought some copies of our other promotional material if you would like to have a look at this and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
  • Branding the Library Service

    1. 1. Branding the library service
    2. 2. East Lothian Library Services <ul><li>12 local libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Local History Centre </li></ul><ul><li>2 mobile libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Administrative HQ and Record Store </li></ul>
    3. 3. Our aims <ul><li>The Library Service is a major community and educational facility whose purpose is to safeguard, promote and improve the social, economic, environmental and democratic well-being of the people of East Lothian through enabling them to gain unbiased access to books, information, knowledge and works of creative imagination which will: </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage their active participation in cultural, democratic and economic activities </li></ul><ul><li>Enable them to participate in educational development through formal and informal programmes </li></ul><ul><li>Assist them to make positive use of their leisure time </li></ul><ul><li>Promote reading and literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage the use of information and an awareness of its value </li></ul>
    4. 4. Rebranding – what to consider <ul><li>Devising a marketing strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Involving staff </li></ul><ul><li>Designing the brand </li></ul><ul><li>What written material is required? </li></ul><ul><li>Signage – internal and external </li></ul><ul><li>Branding on vehicles </li></ul><ul><li>Promotional material for outreach work </li></ul><ul><li>Promotion on the web </li></ul>
    5. 5. Devise a Marketing strategy – Marketing Objectives <ul><li>To increase library membership and attract new people </li></ul><ul><li>To seek ways to better engage with the teenage community to increase teen library usage and membership </li></ul><ul><li>To ensure understanding of customer needs and be customer focused and responsive </li></ul><ul><li>To make marketing a priority service </li></ul><ul><li>To motivate staff to identify with the aims of the marketing strategy and library brand </li></ul><ul><li>To stimulate greater awareness of the breadth of library services and information opportunities within East Lothian Library Services </li></ul><ul><li>To encourage the loyalty of customers and potential customers </li></ul><ul><li>To make our libraries visible and attractive </li></ul>Steps to branding the service
    6. 6. Signage – internal and external
    7. 7. Promoting the brand outside the library Branding on vehicles
    8. 8. A place for everyone
    9. 10. Promoting the brand <ul><li>Read   Case Histories by Kate Atkinson – re-reading before I give it away for World Book Night! </li></ul><ul><li>Click on </li></ul><ul><li>Listen Loud by Rihanna </li></ul><ul><li>Discover our libraries at </li></ul>Use of the strap line
    10. 11. Marketing the service to children “ The moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold into a library, we've changed their lives forever, and for the better.” Barack Obama
    11. 12. Marketing - Library Mascot <ul><li>Lennox the Library Lion launched at Lennoxlove Book Festival </li></ul><ul><li>Lennox certificates, stickers and junior library card </li></ul>
    12. 13. Lennox blog Lennox membership drive with free soft toy resulting in 244 extra children registering during February/March 2010 compared to the previous year
    13. 14. 14 th November 2009 Estonia Lennox loves… We hope you have a grrreat time at your conference Date: 6 th May 2011