As pointed out earlier, perhaps one of the greatest areas of improvement would be the inclusion of emotional content in the creation of a library brand. To do this we must develop emotionally accessible attributes for the brand. This means that the brand should readily tap into the target market’s psyche and evoke an emotional response.
To look at the business model literature we can see a very large discussion of the importance of emotional branding. In fact, “over the last decade, emotional branding has emerged as a highly influential brand management paradigm” (Gobe, 2001). This is in large part because connecting the products to the emotions of the consumers creates a more experiential experience of the product. By doing so the consumers connect to the product and the product itself becomes a part of the consumer’s identity. Therefore, for a consumer to leave to brand would now mean that the consumer loses a sense of identity. In this way “emotional branding is a consumer-centric, relational, and story-driven approach to forging deep and enduring affective bonds between consumers and brands” (Roberts 2004).
The idea of the library as a community driven organization can actually work to benefit the creation of the brand identity. This is because “proponents of emotional branding proclaim that this high degree of consumer passion is seldom, if ever, cultivated through rational arguments about tangible benefits or even appeals to symbolic benefits, such as heightened self-esteem or status” (Gobe 2001). Instead we see that “these potent consumer–brand linkages typically emerge when branding strategies use narratives and tactics that demonstrate an empathetic understanding of customers’ inspirations, aspirations, and life circumstances and that generate warm feelings of community among brand users (Muniz and Schau 2005).
Where better to generate warm feelings of belonging and community than within an organization that has this as its main goal. The library should be presenting in a continuous narrative to the consumers that the library is not only a community-centered organization but also that when they use the library the users are a part of the community. They belong to the community, and the library is their key to that sense of belonging. So how can this story be told?
I would argue that perhaps we can convey this message through partnerships with the community, or through partnerships with other community organizations. These partnerships would have to be with organizations with similar goals of the library such as education, community building, literacy, etc. If the library partners with organizations that do not have the same goals then it is possible that the story gets confusing or diluted and the brand identity of an organization as a place in jeopardy since the consumers will no longer understand the story being told to them through the brand story.
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