Monday, March 10, 2008

The Experience Economy & Libraries

I just finished reading Springwise's article on the Andaz Liverpool Street hotel. Andaz is introducing an interesting marketing technique dubbed "reader-in-residence." Created as a temporary marketing tool to be used during the London Book Fair, the reader-in-residence program takes a famous journalist (Damian Barr) and places him in their hotel as the guests' personal literary concierge. Guests will have the opportunity to consult Barr on reading recommendations (i.e. a readers advisory), and guests can even book a lunch or private reading with him. Andaz hopes these type of personalized experiences will tempt fair-goers to stay with them. Simon Warrington, Anaz spokesman, is quoted as saying, "If we can show as a brand that we're personable, it makes sense for us to do quirky projects like this. It's all about Barr's personality—the hotel becomes his space, and it's not something we can control. This could go either way."

Understanding that your brand has limited control is paramount in this age of consumer centricity. Moreover, in post-industrialized nations where even non-basic products & services have become commoditized, consumer experience with the brand has become increasingly important.

New technologies have helped libraries reach out to their patrons in order to accommodate their patrons busy lifestyles (e.g. podcasting storytimes). However, something should be said about the "library experience." From customer service to building design, we should be delighting our patrons at every opportunity while demonstrating our value to our communities at large.

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