Guiding Perceptions and Memories

Looking for increased visibility? Need to convey the value of your information services? Perhaps you have a new logo and want to rebrand the library with your new visual image. Do perceptions currently held by customers accurately reflect what the library can do for them?

Whether prompted by internal events or competitor activities, implementing a branding program is an integral component of successful library marketing. If you've recently renamed your service or transformed it, then establishing the new brand is the key to getting recognition and overcoming the baggage of the old brand. If you want to break out of the traditional library pigeon-hole and successfully compete with self-service internet competitors, then a branding program is your ticket to repositioning services in your marketplace.

At Chris Olson & Associates we've been building and nurturing library brands for more than 21 years. We've worked with clients at all points along the brand-building chain, using visual and written messages, and product and service management strategies to convey the value of information and to position libraries in the minds of target markets.

Branding Influences Perceptions

The objective of branding is to establish a mental image and positive recall in the minds of the target market. When a person thinks of your library, they conjure up a mental image and memory—a perception. Branding strives to impact these perceptions at all levels to achieve a favorable result—people purchase or use an information service because they perceive it as being capable of meeting whatever need they might have at the time.

Understanding the dynamics of branding and how best to achieve desired results is the knowledge that Chris Olson and her team brings to each branding project. Whether for a local community or an international market, we craft and implement branding strategies which meet information service objectives with stunning and long-lasting results.

Visual and Written Messages

A strong and successful branding program begins with understanding the target market and competitors, and how library services are perceived. If the research to determine these points hasn't been done, we'll conduct brief, insightful research to uncover current perceptions. From there we work with clients to identify desired perceptions, positioning objectives, statements, and other strategy elements which form the foundation of a branding program.

Our branding strategies utilize visual and written messages to impact target market perceptions. The design and use of logos, color, layout and the consistent use of other visual elements are choreographed by Chris Olson & Associates to achieve instant brand recognition. Taglines, headlines, and other written elements are carefully constructed to convey the desired message— both overtly and subliminally.

The Impact on Products and Services

Limiting a branding strategy to a logo and tagline is a prescription for failure. A library's products and services, and their features—the packaging, delivery, price, service, advertising—offer windows of opportunities for establishing and extending a brand. Because experience with a product contributes to perception, it's extremely important that a branding program pay attention to the characteristics of products and services which can influence a brand's success.

Chris Olson and her team skillfully review features for missed opportunities and fine-tune client offerings in light of the overall branding program. Our objective is to define the role products and services play in the library branding game plan, focus their impact on perceptions, and realize the fullest potential of branding activities at all levels.


Don't Overlook Brand Packaging

“Use Branded Deliverables to Increase Recognition and Visibility” is the cover story for the July/August 2004 issue of Searcher magazine. Co-authored by Chris, the article provides approaches for packaging information products with examples.

Conveying the Library's Value

In today's tight economy and aggressive competitor market, library information services are coming under close scrutiny with threats of budget cuts and of being replaced by the Internet. The buzzword is "value" as library managers struggle to convince decision-makers the value of maintaining library service in the organization. Unfortunately spreadsheets and budgets address the quantitative aspect of value twice a year or once a quarter at best. The daily reminder of a library's value is the responsibility of the branding program.

We urge clients confronting value and competitor challenges to review their branding programs and revise them to focus on value perceptions.

Your Branding Program

With Chris Olson & Associates by their side, clients benefit from our extensive branding knowledge and experience. We tackle a client's challenge and work to find feasible solutions. Our partnership approach to branding projects means that we freely share our ideas and insights, and that we are always available to our clients for consultation and objective feedback. The branding programs and strategies of Chris Olson and Associates are creative and unique. We tailor our recommendations to client requirements and conditions. For us there is no shortcut to an effective branding initiative.

Chris has prepared a reading list of branding resources which you are welcome to download and peruse.

To discuss how we can assist with your library's branding program, contact Chris Olson at 410/647-6708, or write to Please allow 4-5 weeks for our services to commence.

Updated 3/23/05