The PLA Blog | Official Blog of the Public Library Association

The title of this post is definitely the line of the conference so far, and it came from the mouth of Queens Library (NY) marketing director James Keller, while he was giving his presentation on branding.

Keller is a former consumer goods ad man, having come to the library world after a career with Proctor & Gamble, and boy is he a dynamic speaker. Walking around the entire room as he spoke without any notes, he walked the audience through the basics of stakeholder identifications, targeted audiences, strategic positioning statements, marketing plans, and maximizing resources. A lot of this stuff was a little old hat to me, since in my pre-library life, I worked in marketing communications for a pair of ad agencies and for a publisher, but Keller did a great job of making it all feel within the realm of possibility.

Two nice concrete ideas he gave us:

  • Instead of making full-page flyers for all your programs, which tend to take up space, get jumbled, and look messy all spread out on tables or flopping out of displays, promote your programs with postcards. You can condense the info to a 2-sided postcard and copy it on colorful card stock using a regular copier. You save paper, it’s simpler for people to grab and stick in their pocket, and most importantly, you can use a standard cheap postcard rack to display them without taking up a lot of space.
  • Instead of agonizing about creating a new annual report each year and spending loads of money on a design firm to make each year’s different, create a lovely promo brochure for the library system that can serve many different functions. Design it with a pocket in the back cover so you can insert single sheets with your data, stats, budget numbers, whatever. His rule was that the brochure would tell stories and not use numbers, and then the annual report is the two pieces of paper in the back, since that’s the only info that tends to change from year to year.

BoratVery nice!

Overall, Keller glossed over some of the practical difficulties involved (but then again, he’s a real go-getter, can-do, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer type of guy), but on the whole this was a really nice intro to branding and marketing.

Comment Pages

There are 1 Comments to "“Don’t try to strongarm us — we’re the library!”"

  • Stephanie says:

    I was at this particular program and have to agree, Keller was fantastic. Also, someone needs to print this magnificent quote on a poster so I can hang it in my office–it is by far the funniest thing I’ve heard lately (library related, that is)!