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Public services as brand experiences

November 17, 2004

When share of consumer mind and experience is dominated by commercial brands, it is often hard for traditional public services like, education and health to breakthrough.

Tower Hamlets, a London borough, decided two-years ago to compete directly with branded retailers for customer attention. This wasn’t about co-locating, although part of the idea was to locate services in shopping malls, Tower Hamlets also came up with the idea to brand a group of its public services.

The Idea Store, sounds like a consulting company, but instead, it’s a new concept that puts a library, careers advice, adult education and not surprisingly, a cafe all under one roof.

ideastore website

It’s often easy to think of public services as being exempt from the traditional commercial environment, this might literally be the case, but they still need to compete for consumer attention.

Given the catalysts of the advancing technology, changing demography and increasing demands on consumer’s time, schools, libraries, hospitals and other centers of learning, are all ripe for transformation. Experiential branding is likely to figure prominently as the institutions seek to compete with, but also learn from, what’s been succesfull in commerical environments.

We are starting to see imaginative solutions like the Idea Store and the Seattle Public Library, redefine the experience of public services. However, they would never have been built, if the people involved hadn’t thought like succesful brands and used research to help better understand their consumer’s current and future demands.
the making of the seattle public library

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