OCLC Symposium – Part 4

I really saved the very best for last.

Antony Brewerton from Oxford Brookes University Library, UK
(not only does he have a delightful accent, but he has a great sense of humor and keeps the audience laughing)

We need to change the perspective of libraries and reach people from different backgrounds at a local level.

Antony spends a lot of time looking at particular comments in the OCLC study to highlight the fact that people think libraries are only about books and they may not use our other resources because of that belief.

Libraries are different things to different people and we should market to them all accordingly. He then says something that seems to be the advice of the day: We should be customer oriented not product oriented.

At Oxford Brookes, they have a team in the library whose primary function is marketing. Their marketing was informaed by their strategic documents and the four essentials of marketing by M.J.Baker: start with the customer, have a long run perspective, wield full use of resources, and be innovative.

Antony then went on to show the audience the most brilliant marketing run in a library that I have ever seen. All of their posters and ads are based on a plain white poster with a bright picture of an item in the middle, a short slogan underneath the picture, and a few smaller lines after that.

For example: Their signs to discourage cell phone use in the library had a picture of a vinyl record with the words “hanging on the telephone” (Blondie) beneath the record.

Get rid of jargon and bring them in with slogans that solve their problems – “come for an hour and improve your grades!”

One of their most popular campaigns involved posters with various pictures of mixed drinks.
A picture of a beer said “get ahead”
A shot said “fancy a swift one?”
They printed coasters (beer mats) that promote the URL – satisfy your thirst for knowledge with the library

Another campaign involved the slogan “finding information can be a piece of cake” with pictures of cakes, bars, and cookies.

With $650 to promote the library’s URL, they used the slogan “Be Inspired,” put it on posters with an apple, they gave away apples around campus, and handed out apple stickers with the library URL on them. Over the next few months, their website went from 65,192 hits a month to 228,201.

After you develop a campaign that works, promote your success to your local and library community. Write articles and give talks to get people thinking about libraries in different ways.