OLE’s new branding
I have been asked to write a blog post to help kick off this website and provide some insight on how we developed the brand identity for OLE. You may be asking what is a brand identity? Let’s start with what is a brand? A brand is how people feel and what they understand about your company or your organization. What you do and how you behave certainly contribute to those feelings but there are also some other subtle influencers such as logo design, tone in written materials, and even typeface used that can help create an appealing brand. These are the items that make up a brand identity.
I am excited to be writing about OLE’s new branding, especially while I am here at the first ever WOLFcon in Durham, NC. For me, Durham is where this journey began almost two years ago when I met up with Mike Winkler and Aaron Welborn (Director of Communications at Duke University Libraries) to develop a charge for The Republik, the design firm that would be working on a brand identity for OLE. My first night in Durham, I had dinner with Winkler, who enthusiastically filled my head with OLE, OLF and FOLIO and I quickly became nervous, hoping that I would be able to remember the acronyms the next day. I got lucky the next day and didn’t have to say much, but after hearing all of the acronyms and entities, I knew it was imperative that we get a brand identity rolling to help alleviate the confusion I encountered.
It was fun watching The Republik dig into the DNA of OLE (their attempt to understand the nature of our organization) and our premier project, FOLIO. I was relatively new to library marketing and enjoyed watching The Republik learn about library communities and get really excited as they realized how much libraries are loved and all of the cool things they are already doing. More importantly, it was really inspiring to watch their enthusiasm translate into a visual identity for OLE.
Simultaneously with The Republik’s DNA effort, the OLE Marketing team began to meet regularly to discuss opportunities to stay engaged with our community and to guide the branding work that was underway. The team has continued to grow and morph and has better organized itself to provide strategic direction to the OLE community in regards to outreach, advocacy, and elevating the newly defined brand.
One of the reasons this was a fun project for me was that I got to sit back and watch The Republik bring their intelligence and creativity to life with our logo. And boy, when they got to what was the final logo, we were immediately in agreement that this was the right one for OLE. The Republik’ thinking behind the logo and the additional blocks of letters is that OLE represents the building blocks for all libraries to do great things. OLE provides the foundation and the marketing team thought that we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
In addition to a great logo, The Republik provided us with four great statements to use in our promotional material: WE EMPOWER, WE ENRICH, WE SHARE, and WE ADVANCE. We thought these statements encapsulated our mission so well that we used them as a foundation for mission statements by defining what each “we” statement meant. Additionally, they designed this beautiful, new website for us, gave us a leg up on a brochure, and are delivering a brand guideline that will help us all use the new materials with ease. To complete the website, the marketing team worked to carefully craft content that we can use to describe our brand and speak to our work. We are thrilled to share the results of these amazing collaborations.
Our work to develop our brand identity still continues. Currently in development is an effort to define membership models as well as create some additional deliverables such as a value proposition and additional marketing materials to help our full community talk about OLE.
Take a look around our website, look at the branding guide, and I hope that you find the materials to be as refreshing and inspiring as I and the entire marketing team did.
Happy branding, y’all!