When visiting the Nike webpage, it is extraordinarily east to navigate through their expansive catalog of products. Simply select your age/gender or explore different categories. Search through products based on your consumer need. Select your size, color, or custom order. Receive an added benefit of free shipping if you've spent a certain dollar amount. For anyone that has ever purchased apparel online - this should not be a surprise. However, the concept of brand management is a lesson libraries should learn.
Can a consumer come to your website and navigate quite as seamlessly? Are your patrons able to find which services apply to them without question? I don't think I have ever seen a library brand their services as "faculty, students, guests, alumni." I have frequently seen tertiary webpages with truncated lists of services for each type of patron, but those pages are never the primary mode of navigation for either librarians or users. We are branded as "library" and rely on teaching our patrons how to alter their online consumer behavior to find how OUR SERVICES fit into THEIR NEED for information. As libraries have expanded their consumption contexts, many of our services get lost in translation. For example, a link called "scholarly communications" on a website may mean something to a librarian, but to a faculty member who is looking for information on predatory publishing (another library term with which faculty are likely unfamiliar) they may not know that "scholarly communications" is the right section to search for information on that subject. Faculty may not be aware that classroom instruction is available if it is buried under layers of pages on your website. A bigger issue may be that faculty are unaware of the benefits of classroom instruction; even one-shot instruction sessions have largely migrated away from traditional topics like using the catalog, or finding an item in print to something much more dynamic and student-focused. How are you choosing to represent that on your website?
Students may face similar issues - as will alumni, university administration, and guests. While the list of issues I've just stated are exclusively web related, students and faculty will also face the same issues when entering into your physical space, and when they are seeking out help. If your library brand isn't strong enough, potential patrons may not have a clue that your services would support their information need. Branding is an issue largely ignored by libraries, both academic and otherwise. Even worse than ignoring the issues - many libraries think that putting a logo on everything is the extent of branding. I plan to explore this topic more thoroughly in the future, but wanted to tell this story of Nike first. I think the component of user-centered branding is an important idea for libraries to explore, even if it is not currently the primary method of library branding.