We are pleased to announce the implementation of a system-wide marketing planning initiative and brand refresh for the Licking County Library System (LCLS).
A Need to Communicate the Library's Commitment to its Community
Licking County Library, located in rural Ohio, is working to address early childhood education, literacy, educational attainment, and employment needs amidst declining economics and an opioid epidemic. The Library understands the importance of developing a dynamic marketing and outreach program that educated the community about all it has to offer. At the same time, resources were limited, and outreach had to be targeted and cost-effective.
Start with the Facts
In close collaboration over the course of one year, The Ivy Group and LCLS conducted qualitative and quantitative research on the programs and services the library offers.
In developing the strategic plan, the team:
- Conducted a market segmentation and lifestyle analysis using Census data and Nielsen insights;
- Gathered input from 820 households through telephone surveys;
- Facilitated 12 executive interviews with community leaders; and
- Conducted a design and communications audit to evaluate the Library's promotional publications and collateral.
Work toward a Plan
With the design audit and solid information about the demographics and lifestyles of LCLS's primary market as jumping-off points, we drafted a research-based marketing plan detailing a comprehensive program of branding, outreach, and communications designed to optimize the Library's presence in and influence on its primary marketplace.
Through their research, Ivy Group identified nine strategic priorities on which the marketing plan focuses:
- Marketing management
- Social media development
- Penetration through collaboration
- New card holders
- Registered card holders
- Technology leadership
- The virtual library branch
- Summer reading
For each priority, we outlined a specific plan of action. For example, "marketing management" addressed the Library's need to systematize its program and conform to brand standards. For a more organized and cohesive marketing program, we recommended that the Library model a tactical plan of marketing activities and assignments, to be made accessible to all relevant staff members and managed by a designated point person.
"It's no coincidence that the word 'campaign' is used by both military and marketing teams--both involve the tactical implementation of a smart strategy." – Pam Fitzgerald, Managing Partner, The Ivy Group
Finish with Branding Flair
The original tagline, Serving Newark and Licking County Since 1908 was retrospective at best, stodgy at worst. The other tagline that appeared from time to time in publications--Innovate, Educate, and Inspire--was institution-centric and implicitly patronizing (as in we, the Library, innovate; we educate; and we inspire).
To position the Library as welcoming, dynamic, optimistic and forward-thinking in a community where a shifting economic bedrock raises fears about the future, we suggested a more versatile and energetic tagline that speaks to individual and community aspirations:
This sense of optimism and a desire to uplift the community informed the brand refresh and new design system. Designer Stephen Burden created a more vibrant color palette and sample design applications, including a website homepage, newsletter, and bookmobile poster template.
A key application involved the redesign of a complicated bookmobile schedule that was crowded and uninspiring, but critically important, especially to residents of more remote areas of the County. We designed a bookmobile schedule template to allow the library to easily update bookmobile stops every month in an eye-catching, easy-to-read format consistent with the library's brand.
With a research-based marketing plan and a refreshed brand, Licking County Library was ready to greet tomorrow.
About Licking County Library
Founded in 1908, Licking County Library serves a population of approximately 120,000 in Newark and Licking County, Ohio. The library supports lifelong learning and fun learning experiences with six branches, an active bookmobile, and a 24-hour "library in a box" headquartered at Central Ohio Technical College. For more information, visit lickingcountylibrary.info.