Hello from New York City.
The leaves haven’t gotten the message that fall officially arrives this week.
So my husband and I took advantage of the welcoming warm weather.
Visiting the Polonsky Exhibition of Treasures at the iconic New York Public Library.
The stately building sits at the heart of midtown Manhattan guarded by two stone lions. Walking up the stairs into the entryway you can’t help but feel a sense of awe.
To get to the library, we walked across Bryant Park from the Sixth Avenue subway station. Over its history, Bryant Park has experienced many changes in use.
Most recently, Bryant Park was renovated to make it inviting to visitors. It offers a variety of activities all year long. It’s an oasis situated between Times Square and Grand Central Station.
Heidi at the Bryant Park Carousel
Under the park are the extensive stacks of the New York Public Library. They contain over 1.5 million books and reference materials.
Marketing Lesson of The Week
► Curation NYPL Style
Like a modern day Library of Alexandria, The New York Public Library (aka: NYPL) has collected, preserved and made accessible a deep collection of the world’s knowledge. Many of these items were donated to the library to protect and preserve them for future generations.
While most of us think of libraries as homes for books, the NYPL’s collection includes a rich and diverse set of objects beyond the printed word. These items provide context and enhance our understanding of books and other works.
Also, these items provide reference material since the NYPL is one of the world’s largest research libraries. Anyone can apply to use its materials.
For the first time, The Polonsky Exhibition of the NYPL’s Treasures curated a broad set of never before seen items for public viewing. While showcasing some of the Library’s great pieces, the curators put a lot of thought into deciding which items to select and how to organize them. This made the show inclusive across diverse groups and interests. (Note: Map is clickable.)
- The Written Word,
- The Visual Word,
- New York City, and
- Audio and Moving Image.
Walking into the imposing stone and wood carved room, you feel the exhibit may be small since it’s only one room. Yet you quickly discover each case is packed with a variety of artifacts such as a copy of the Gutenberg Bible, Charles Dickens’s desk, the original stuffed toy Winnie the Pooh, and handwritten music by Mozart and Beethoven.
What caught my attention?
- A broadsheet of the Declaration of Independence. Many copies were printed and distributed across the 13 colonies to get the word out. Since they were often pasted to walls and other places, very few remain intact. This was colonial content distribution at its best.
- Albrecht Dürer’s Triumphal Arch. Commissioned by Emperor Maximilian, this work consists of 200 individual prints and took 2 years to complete. From a visual perspective, the detail in each section is amazing. As a marketer, it’s interesting as a piece of imperial propaganda, even though only 3 copies were printed.
- Charles Dickens’s annotated copy of David Copperfield for public readings. Dickens discovered that public readings were popular and profitable due to the success of his books. Between 1853 and 1870, he gave 472 public readings. (Source) Today, many authors do readings and signings to sell books.
Based on this exhibit, what can you learn as a marketer?
- Approach the breadth of items and content that exist within your organization with a fresh set of eyes. Then transform and/or curate selected items to bring new insights and/or forms of marketing to your audience.
Actionable Marketing Tips
- Curate a regular column or feature in your newsletter. Use your own content or add value to content from other people. For example, Chris Penn always adds a list of the best content he finds on the web and categorizes it for his newsletters.
- Create a “From Our Vaults” feature. Use photographs of older products and/or advertising on social media. For example, Campbell’s Soup Green Bean Casserole remains a Thanksgiving tradition. To appreciate the long-term value of this recipe, read the full story, Awesome Holiday Content Marketing Campaign You Need To
- Catalog and license your historic content to create another revenue stream. This works for media entities like radio stations. For example, WCBS Radio has organized its historic recordings of the news and licenses them for movies and other uses.
► Brand Voice
With the second edition of “Everybody Writes: Your New and Improved Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content” about to hit bookshelves on October 18th, there’s no doubt that Ann Handley knows a thing or two about content
In her Content Marketing World keynote entitled “Brand Voice Is the New Logo,” Handley asked, “If you cover up the logo, can someone tell it’s your content?” Content marketers knew they better pay attention. [Hint: It’s a theme of her updated must-read book.]
Further, Handley added that marketers should make their brand voice more authentic and accessible. This helps build your brand’s trustworthiness. Also ensure that your content evolves with the times.
In an era where AI-assisted content continues to expand, your content marketing must stand out and let your audience know that it’s your content even when there’s no logo or mention of your brand.
Brand voice encompasses how your brand communicates. It consists of the words, language, and tone you choose to represent your brand’s personality.
Based on your brand mission and marketing persona, your brand voice must be consistent. As a result, your audience recognizes it regardless of the context in which it appears.
Like other branding elements, brand voice consistency helps improve your brand memorability. Despite documenting the key elements of their brand voice, the content from many brands lacks unifying characteristics so their audiences can’t distinguish it. A good example of brand voice documentation is Mailchimp.
Further, having editors and/or copy editors can help make the content from different creators sound consistent.
Ann Handley discussing brand voice at Content Marketing World
Actionable Brand Voice Tip
- Show a set of content marketing without any specific references to brand and business to your marketing team. Include content from your competitors and close substitutes. Then see whether your brand voice stands out. If it doesn’t, determine how to change it.
► Sonic Branding
In contrast to brand voice, sonic branding (aka: audio branding) is how your brand sounds. It extends an audio language across all of the elements of your brand and business.
Based on your brand’s personality, your audio brand helps identify and associate specific sounds with your business. In addition, it adds an emotional component aiding memorability
Sonic branding consists of a combination of one or more of these 3 types of sound: the human voice, music and/or ambient noise. A sonic logo is often condensed to 3 tones. NBC’s 3-tone sonic logo was copyrighted in 1929.
With the increased use of voice-enabled devices, sonic branding has become increasingly important. Beyond the use of videos, podcasts and other forms of audio, many products have associated sounds that alert users to take a specific action, such as washing machines.
Actionable Voice Marketing Tips
- Determine the sounds your sonic brand should make. It’s part of many aspects of your marketing such as intros and outros of videos, podcasts and other content. Also, consider other sounds that are part of your marketing.
- Decide how your spoken content should be presented and recorded. If your business adds an audio option to your text content, consider who will read the content, what type of accent should be used, and what other spoken elements related to your brand are needed.
- Add text or subtitles to audio and video content to be more accessible to a broader audience.
► QR Codes Come To Life
While QR codes have been around for years, they initially failed to catch on. In the early days, they required a smartphone, education and work to use them. You had to know that you were looking at a QR code and have downloaded an app to get the information.
During the pandemic, as more digitally savvy consumers across generations had smartphones and wanted touchless experiences for health reasons, businesses increased their use of QR codes.
By this time, smartphone cameras came with QR code readers pre-installed. So they were ready to fill this consumer need. Around New York, QR codes popped up in restaurants so patrons could avoid touching menus.
Since the pandemic, I’ve noticed broader use of QR codes around the city as well as on television and out-of-home advertisements.
Because people now understand how to use QR codes and that they provide a broad range of options beyond presenting touchless menus.
For example, the email for our NYPL visit included a QR code to download the Bloomberg Connects app to get the complete audio guide to the exhibit.
Beyond the NYPL exhibit, Bloomberg’s app offers audio tours for 100+ museums and sites. Each tour’s audio is custom created by the institution. Further, the app allows guides to feature audio, video, photography and/or text.
The app aids accessibility through the use of voiceover, captions and audio transcripts, image zoom, and font size adjustment.
Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the arts and cultural organizations aren’t charged for inclusion in the app. In addition, the foundation provides them with the necessary on-boarding, technology and marketing support to reach a broad audience from around the world.
Actionable Content Marketing Tips
- Add QR codes as a call-to-action (aka: CTA) to your marketing wherever it makes sense. This allows viewers to instantly connect with the next step in your process. This reduces the chance that they’ll forget to take action later.
- Provide the related information and/or training that your audience needs to consume your content and use you products.
► Banned Books Week
With the theme “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us,” Banned Books Week takes place this week, September 18 – 24. It highlights the value of free and open access to information. It draws national attention to the increasing efforts to remove or restrict people’s access to books and the related harm of censorship.
The Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) of The American Library Association (aka: ALA) annually develops its “Top 10 Most Challenged Books” to provide information about censorship in libraries and schools. In 2021, the ALA monitored 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services. They selected their 2021 list from 1,597 targeted books.
These lists are based on information reported in the media or voluntarily reported:
“Surveys indicate that 82-97% of book challenges – documented requests to remove materials from schools or libraries – remain unreported and receive no media.” (Source: ALA 2022)
If you’re interested in participating, the NYPL has a full list of activities around “Read Banned Books.” It includes free digital access to Toni Morrison’s bannedThe Bluest Eye and Beloved through October 31st (see the link.)
See how brands big and small can stand apart from their competitors, stand up for their values, and step outside their comfort zones to deliver stellar content experiences. Free from Content Marketing Institute.
Plan Ahead: Mark Your Calendar
► Adrian Hon speaks at Betaworks
September 21, 2022 6:30 pm – Live event
Registration and vaccination proof required.
Adrian Hon is the author of You’ve Been Played! How Institutions Use Games to Control Us.
October 10-12th, 2022 in Arlington, VA.
The market for Voice/AI solutions is growing exponentially.
Join me and the top people working to transform the user experience. Use code: Cohen20 for 20% off of any ticket.
October 10 -15, 2022 Cincinnati, Ohio
This entrepreneurial-oriented event subtitled Spark The Future, is run by Pete Blackshaw and Cintrifuse.
► MarketingProfs B2B Forum
October 12-14th, 2022 in Boston.
Ann Handley brings B2B back to Boston with 49 Sessions. 4 Keynotes and shenanigans!
► SparkTogether 2022
November 10, 2022 – Paid tickets for virtual event.
Organized by Rand Fishkin and his team, this event won’t be recorded.
If you don’t have the budget to attend a conference IRL, check these tips:
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