Several of my author clients are in the process of creating a new brand for their business or ministry. During our discussions, some misunderstandings arose that were preventing these individuals from establishing a powerful marketing identity. So, I thought I'd share a few principles to consider when creating and managing your own brand:
5 Principles of a Great Brand for Authors:
1. A great brand makes you stand-out from the hundreds of other authors. Otherwise, there's no point in having a brand. This may sound obvious, but many people still overlook this fact. You need a brand that is catchy, memorable, and easy for people to pass on word-of-mouth.
2. A great brand generates a sense of appealing curiosity from leaders that makes them want to find out more about you. If you can't make leaders feel a magnetic attraction to you, then your brand is bland.
3. A great brand communicates the kind of results that you can produce for your readers. It's not enough to have a clever catch-phrase or tagline. Your brand must express how you make other people's lives better. In the corporate world, top brands achieve this goal. For example, Wal-Mart's brand was "Always Low Prices." This phrase tells me that my life will better, because I'll be saving money. Home Depot says, "You can do it...We can help." Do you see the implied result?
Some of my favorite brand taglines for authors include "The Stress-Buster," "Blueprints to Build Your Life," "Strength for the Soul," and "Get Gutsy for God." They're memorable, and they communicate results.
4. A great brand establishes you as the best choice, such as the "Cadillac" or "Mercedes" of the industry. Besides being unique, your brand should position you as the best option for a leader. When your brand becomes synonymous with quality, then you've got a powerful marketng force at your disposal.
5. A great brand must reflect your own passion, because you will be solely responsible to get in front of everyone. No one else can market your brand better than you. It's like trying on a dress or a suit, and buying the one the fits you the best and makes you feel confident. When you create your brand, you must feel comfortable and excited with it.
2 Misconceptions about a Brand:
1. A brand does NOT have to please everyone, including your friends - because your friends don't hire you for publishing projects or speaking engagements. Therefore, your brand must appeal primarily to LEADERS who have the decision-making power and money to work with you. If your brand appeals to leaders, then you're on the right track. If not, then it will hinder the growth of your career.
2. A brand isn't a big deal. This is false, because you are already being branded by everyone around you. We have finite brains, and we need a way to quickly remember and recall everyone else. A brand is part of this mental function. And, if you let other people brand you, the outcome will usually be negative, because people don't fully know who you are. Therefore, you must actively manage your brand to create a perception among leaders of your uniqueness, value, and expertise.
Resource suggestion: For further study, I suggest an excellent book on creating your personal brand as an author, speaker, coach, or consultant. Check out How to Establish a Unique Brand in the Consulting Profession by Alan Weiss.