What’s in an Icon?

Further to my thoughts on branding a couple of days ago (see What’s in a Name? and What’s in a Look?, way below), I wanted to make some more observations about how the companies on this trade show floor are working to position themselves through branding strategies.


Stefan Karlsson [shown left], a marketing executive for Content Management solution provider Emojo, could not say enough about the importance of branding, when I visited Emojo’s stand the other day.

To build brand, he said, you must “stimulate a community.”

Saying that a company’s Web site is the first contact point and key impact factor in building credibility, he stressed the functionality of Emojo’s own product, cleverly named Affino, derived from the word “affinity.”

According to Karlsson, Affino provides a solution that not only supports traditional Web Content Management functionality, but makes it simple for companies to add community building aspects, including personal customer blogs, to their own Web sites in order to encourage affinity and viral marketing.

“Building your brand,” he said, “is all about building communities of users, encouraging word-of-mouth, and letting your customers champion you.”

Emojo’s Affino platform,”does not just empower the people on the back-end, but the users on your site,” he said.

As the photo of Stefan shows, the Affino booth was emblazoned with a series of icons designed to reinforce Affino’s primary branding statement: “Express Yourself.”

Among the keywords Affino uses to quickly describe its capabilities are: Build, Target, Promote, Communicate, Organize, Survey, Engage, Participate, Publish, Transact, and Collaborate.


Thomson took a similar packaging approach when it decorated the cafe it has sponsored all week in the trade show hall.

Branded for ISI Web of Science, Thomson decorated the space with suspended signs, each driving home a product attribute: Navigate Freely, Link Confidently, Analyze Effectively, Benchmark Reliably, Refine Precisely, Investigate Thoroughly, Explore Fully, Discover Swiftly, and Search Successfully.


Taken together each brief phrase has an iconic quality of its own, adding up to the set of attributes Thomson must want show goers to take home and recall when they think of ISI Web of Science.

It’s good to see the information industry putting as much thought into marketing communications as it does into taxonmies. Libraries could also profit by adopting some of these ideas in their outreach efforts to patrons.

Dick Kaser
ITI V.P., Content

For those interested in marketing their libraries, check out ITI’s Marketing Library Services newsletter, edited by Kathy Dempsey.

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