Monday, November 23, 2009


A platform Bruce built

First snowfall of the season

A couple of posts ago I talked about the necessity of creating a platform. Above are a couple of instances of same. The first is of course a different type of platform, one created by Bruce, my permanent boyfriend. But it illustrates how to create "branding" as well as a platform: Bruce uses recycled materials in his creations. The platform was built with a shutter from our previous home and the basil was re-planted from this summer's garden. Bruce's Brand is becoming the guy who recycles while creating useful art. A brand can be created by creating different projects using the same creative process.

And what does branding have to do with snow? Well, I grew up in Sun Valley, Idaho, a world famous ski resort. And the ski resort is world famous for skiing in the sun. In fact, Sun Valley has been so successful at branding that many people don't know that during summers, it's also a great resort for all sorts of outside activities, with superb trout fishing, golfing, hiking, horse trails and on and on.

What does this mean for a creative person trying to establish or maintain or grow a career? It means branding requires some thought and planning. It needs to be original and specific, but hopefully avoids "Sun Valley is ONLY a ski resort" type of branding. Narrow enough to be distinct, but broad enough to be attractive to a wide audience. (How many people never read fantasy until Harry Potter?)

Difficult to achieve, I know, and I'm working hard on my own brand, coming up with new fresh ideas for promoting myself and my writing. I remind myself often, that branding, like any creative process is always a work in progress.

What are some of the ways you've branded yourself? Any that have worked well that you'd like to share? Failed miserably? Or do you take the organic approach and promote as it comes?

Next up: networking.


Carol Kilgore said...

I have no brand, but I don't think I'm generic, either. Lots of short work out there, but no novel yet. About the closest thing I have to a brand is my Under the Tiki Hut blog.

Jim Murdoch said...

I was very conscious of branding when I set up my blog and website. The three main things I looked for at the start were a logo, a punchy title and a catchy tag line. What went with that would be a secret formula, a mixture of quality and personality presented within a certain framework. In other words people would come to expect to read certain things when they popped into my site, a literary article of some depth or a book review; they wouldn't expect me to be talking about the latest episode of Desperate Housewives or, if I was, they'd be wondering how I would tie that into a literary article. I think I've achieved that.

Although I've stuck with the same logo for the first two books I'll change this for the third one but it will still be an inkblot; in time a pattern will appear, so I'm thinking long term. The title will never change but the tag line may in just the same way as advertisers change jingles over the years.

Have I been successful? I think so. At the moment I'm managing to exceed 4000 hits a month which is quite good considering I only post twice a week but book sales barely got off the ground. Again I'm thinking long term here. I have more material sitting around than most writers starting off a blog and so it's easy to think years ahead even if the term 'master plan' sounds a bit pretentious.

Kathy McIntosh said...

The name of my business came to me in a dream, something that rarely happens to me. When I started A Well-Placed Word, I was thinking more about PR than the editing and writing I now focus on, but it has transitioned quite well.
Jim, you definitely planned ahead; impressive.
I learned a lot about branding as a product manager, but I had not considered its necessity for authors, as well. First finish the dang book, Kathy!

Helen Ginger said...

I didn't really think about branding when I started blogging, but I think I've done so. The title of my blog, Straight From Hel, leaves the content open, but sort of brands my name (Helen) and it's catchy. Then, I've mostly maintained a content that centers on writing and publishing. People know what to expect when they visit.

Straight From Hel

Conda Douglas said...

Carol--your distinctive (and fun) blog is a strong beginning to creating a brand, as is publishing your short work. It's all about getting your name out there.

Conda Douglas said...

Jim, I'd agree you have achieved a distinctive brand--4000 hits a month! Excellent. And your blog/website is unique and uniquely you (plus your bookcovers are attractive on different levels, while representing your type of work).

Conda Douglas said...

Kathy--yes, finish! 'Nuff said.

Conda Douglas said...

Helen, it was your title that drew me to your blog the first time and your content that kept me coming back.

Helen Ginger said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Conda!

Straight From Hel