‘A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.’ (Oxford Dictionary)
‘An identifying symbol, mark, logo, name, word and/or sentence that companies use to distinguish their product from others.’ (Investopedia)
Brand creates an awareness, recognition and appreciation. It is the way people are made to feel about the person/company and product.
Note: Though there may be some overlap, Author Brand should not to be confused with Author Platform. See previous article: What is an Author Platform?
In other words; what the author hopes to achieve through branding themselves. (Not as painful as it sounds – no hot iron burning into flesh.)
Their brand should:
- Present a picture, perception, identity, etc. specific to themselves.
- Distinguish what makes them unique and different to other authors.
- Demonstrate value.
- Inform audience of goals and objectives.
- Set expectations.
Branding is, in essence, the author’s promise to their audience (readers; fans; followers; etc.).
Note: Author Branding is About The Author NOT their book(s)/products!
Before considering the elements that make up a brand, author’s need to determine a few things:
- What type of reader are they seeking to attract? (Naturally this will take into account the genre(s) they write in.) (Some authors write in radically different genre under alternative nom de plumes in which case they may need to consider creating more than one brand. However, if they utilise the same author name they will need to broaden their brand information and reach.)
- What their brand ‘voice’ is to be? (Tone; Style; etc. Similar to finding their writer’s voice.) (Selecting an appropriate brand voice should be based upon how the author wishes their audience to perceive them and what they would like them to think when they hear or see their name/brand.)
- Their specific selling point? (How they are different to other authors who write in the same genre(s). Why a reader should buy their book(s) in preference to another. Etc.)
- What exceptions they wish to instil ? (Letting their audience (readers) know what to expect from them: Genre; Book Length; Style; Quality; Frequency (of publications); etc.)
Once the author has determined the above, they will need to decide:
- Their look. (How they want to portray their public image.) (Colours; Style; Photographs; Logo; etc.)
- Where to implement their brand. (Website; Blog; Social Media; Advertisements; E-mails; Promotional Material; etc.) (Wherever they appear their presented representation should always be consistent.)
When hearing the word ‘brand’ many will probably think of famous logos such as Nike; Starbucks; Virgin; Samsung; CocoChannel; and so on. However, a brand is far more than its logo, as outlined above, which should always be born in mind when formatting the various elements that combine to make up their brand.
The following are some elements of brand author’s need to consider:
- Logo (Colour(s); Font(s); Style(s); Image (may comprise an author’s photograph IF they use it consistently e.g. on book covers; in websites; and so on but does not have to); Icon(s); etc.);
- Colour (Backgrounds; Headings/Banners (Website; Blog; Social Media; etc.); Frames; Adverts; etc.);
- Font(s) (Style; Size; Bold; Italic.);
- Style (Layout; Paragraph; Format; Image/Photograph framing; etc.);
- Tagline (Condensed statement of the author’s aim/purpose.);
- Photograph/Image (One that portrays who the author is or who they wish to be seen as.);
- Profile: Website; Blog; Social Media; etc. (Should comprise photograph/image and brief resume of who author is and, possibly, an expansion upon their aim/purpose.);
- Website/Blog template/theme (Should be able to incorporate the colours; fonts; style; etc. already decided upon.) (Author’s may find it easier to select this element first and then base colour choices etc. upon it. Just a thought.);
- E-mail: Style; Signature; Template (Where user is given a choice.) (All should reflect other characteristics previously decided upon.);
- Newsletter: Template; Style (Not all authors have one but if they do it should follow the colours; fonts; and style already chosen.);
- Anything else the author anticipates will form part of their public brand. (Author pages; Landing Pages; etc.)
Important: Throughout, an author should, must, strive to maintain consistency. They will want their audience (fans; followers; readers; etc.) to know what they are seeing/reading relates to them. Not to implement the same colours; fonts; styles; logo; etc. across all sites and publications (books and promotional) could result in confusion for the reader. It needs to be remembered, in modern society, people perceive themselves as being short of time and certainly, on the whole, have shorter concentration spans. If something they see does not, within a few seconds, grab their interest or confirm it is something they wish to see/read, they are more likely to move on to the next thing to catch their attention.
In the modern, overloaded book world having their own brand identity is something authors should seriously consider.
Throughout, consistency in presentation, visual and voice, is vital to attract and maintain attention.
Brands, such as those well known ones mentioned, build expectations as to style; quality; veracity; etc. An author brand should be doing the same otherwise their audience may feel let down and betrayed and consequently, cease to follow them or purchase their products.
Authors should construct their brand in stages rather than in one mad rush to be everywhere immediately. Effective branding takes time.
Disclaimer: Neither T. R. Robinson Publications nor T. R. Robinson are employed by or have any affiliation to the companies mentioned in this article. Nor do either receive any remuneration for mentioning them.