I figured out what bothered me about the small press/indie/agent view of branding. They tend to tie the brand to product and not positioning. Let me explain a bit. What we hear about branding is that you
|Photo by Rob and Stephanie Levy|
Think about brand names. If you are my age (61 soon to be 62) no matter how upscale Penny's have become, in your mind it was good, but not great clothes at a low price. A J.C. Penny suit or dress was more like Sears or Family Fashion or TJ Maxx. I know, most of my clothes when I was growing up came from Penny's. Compare that with Macy's or Neiman Marcus. Those brands say, "a fool and his money..." ooops sorry. They say "We've got good stuff but you are going to pay for it. Be sure to bring your gold card or don't even expect to breathe the air in here."
Neither of those are good or bad images, but they are definitely different. Playboy and GQ are both mens magazines, but quite different brands. The Same for Cosmopolitan and McCalls and Ms for Women's magazines.
Positioning then refers to image, but more specifically the image that is unique about your business. Not about your books specifically, but about your line of books. What makes your mystery novel different than what Agatha Christie or Lillian Jackson Braun wrote? How is your romance series different than Love Inspired or Harlequin___ romances?
It's like that terrible question you always had to answer when preparing a proposal for a publisher. How is your book different from what is already on the market? I hated the question. Now, I totally understand it. I'm working on revamping my brands to address that question. I've got some ideas, and I'll let you know later.
It's not about how many products you have or how different they are. It's what image people have of your brand regardless of the product you make. Mercedes Benz builds cars and trucks, but the image is alway quality, luxury and durability. Honda does the same and the image is economical, dependable.
I'm asking myself what is my uniqueness. And I'm building from there. What about you?