However, shortly after the weight loss claims started, Special K advocated that replacing two meals a day with Special K would increase weight loss; now the cereal is both a breakfast food and a lunch meal. It is unlikely that any person would eat the same kind of cereal for three meals a day, so they not only came out with new flavors of cereal - but also added protein shakes, breakfast shakes, brownies, popcorn, flat-bread sandwiches, waffles, cookies/crackers, and now hot cereal to their line of offerings. They've changed Special K from a low-calorie breakfast option to a brand that is consumed multiple times a day. The brand is also migrating away from the "weight loss" message to include an overall healthy lifestyle image, which reflects current consumer behavior towards diet products. However, Special K is maintaining it's brand image of a low-calorie and healthy alternative to traditionally unhealthy items like brownies and cookies.
Much like the Coca-Cola strategy, Special K most likely took a look at consumption periods of products, and tried to fit into the life style and existing consumption habits of their target market. A great brand extension strategy for Special K was snack foods; frequently women who are trying to lose weight are unable to do so because of existing consumption habits for snacks. Although by consuming Special K snacks are still unnecessary calories, it is perceived to be as a healthier choice aiding in weight loss. Libraries have a different challenge; expanding service options and opportunities to increase consumption of library patrons. We are unable to simply shout services at people and assume that it is meeting their needs, or that people will come to the library for a service outside the need for information simply because it is offered. The old, "If you build it, they will come," adage has it's limits.
My suggested solution for lateral marketing within the library context: verbs. Verbs? What? That's stupid.
Okay, "verbs" won't actually solve our problems, but analyzing the activities of what college and university students ACTUALLY DO, and then seeing which activities have a place in the library, has potential. As an activity, create a "verb cloud" of college student/faculty activities. In an ideal world, grant money would exist so I can feed every syllabus, course description, campus activity group, and department mission through a software program in order to create a comprehensive word cloud of verbs, but until I find that magic pot of gold at the end of the unicorn rainbow, we can just create hypothetical word clouds.
Examples of verbs may include Read, Write, Study, Find, Explore, Dance, Create, Sing, Act, Print, Type, Make, Drink, Walk, Grade, Take, Watch, Buy, Present, Call, Tweet, Bake, or Sleep.
Now, do a space and services audit to find out which of these verbs you can currently accommodate, and which you cannot. Additionally - go through and omit any verbs for which you may not be interested in developing a space or service. There are some verbs (like "drink" - cough, cough) that you may be less interested in accommodating, although many libraries (my own, included) offer a cafe or other non-alcoholic beverage services*. What you're left with will give you an interesting opportunity to create new services within your existing core competencies. For example, "create" may inspire your library to buy drafting software and 3-D printers. The students can receive instructions in the software in their engineering classes, alleviating any new work created for library staff. "Sing," "Play," or "Watch" may inspire sound proofed rooms for practicing instruments or viewing AV materials. However - your campus may already offer an existing place for this type of rehearsal, making a new space costly redundant. "Craft" may inspire a collection of books and supplies, and a weekly group meeting for those with a shared interest in knitting.
Obviously there are still associated costs with any program implementation, but this type of audit can help you identify which services may be desired on campus, which may be practical to implement, and which may be uniquely suited for the library, rather than at another campus location. A strategic analysis of not only the current environment, but the impact of any new programs, collections, spaces, or services should be well considered before any decisions are made.
*Many public libraries are also offer interest classes in beer brewing or wine tasting as well - which is a socially responsible way of approaching that particular verb, but it still may be an ethical grey area, especially when accounting for individual campus climates for alcohol tolerance. I would LOVE to see a blog post on any libraries that have tried this type of programming, and what type of interest or reactions were noticed on campus.