Before you Market Your Books, Know Your Brand
Guest Post by Scott Weisenthal
Authors are brands. You are a brand. And knowing your brand is going to help you market your book successfully and manage your reader’s expectations.
Branding isn’t just restricted to products like Nike, American Airlines or Crest toothpaste. No, people are brands and those who do it right can find a loyal following, which can lead to success.
So what is a brand? As advertising legend David Ogilvy once said, “a brand is the intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.” The totality of a brand’s image comes from different perceptions, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors customers associate with a brand. Customers expect more than a just a refreshment when they drink Coca-Cola, they expect happiness. Those who watch the Syfy channel know that the programming with push the limits of the imagination. People who buy a Volvo are also buying safety. And kids who buy Nike, aren’t just buying sneakers, but the tools they need to follow in the footsteps of their idols.
And what about people as brands? Tom Jones’ brand is all about sex appeal. Howard Stern’s brand promise is shock. And author Stephen King distinguishes himself with fear. You won’t see these people straying from their brand because it’s one of the biggest reasons they’ve achieved so much.
So now let’s focus on your brand. Ask yourself these questions:
1. What’s the one unique selling proposition that sets me and my book(s) apart from other authors?
2. What do my books have in common with some popular books that I can also tout?
3. How can I demonstrate my answers from questions #1 and #2, and make it memorable for readers?
4. Does my book and cover have identifiable artwork and a tone of voice that customers recognize?
Once you answer those questions, make yourself a mission statement — a short synopsis, against which you’ll measure everything you do to keep your brand image on course. Here’s Coca-Cola’s mission statement: http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/ourcompany/mission_vision_values.html
Don’t rush it. Sometimes the answers to these questions takes time and research, but when you have the answers, you’ll see your brand take shape and we can move to part two: from brand to creative brief to executing a marketing plan.
Scott Weisenthal is founder and CEO of OffTheBookshelf.com and a writer himself.