I’ve been mulling over Nathan Bransford’s post on There is no such thing as a brand recently.
The talk about ‘building a brand’ and ‘you are a brand’ in the writing community makes me feel uncomfortable. I once ran an online business, and building a brand was one of the things I need to work on from the get go. It was about customer experience, and whom I wanted to attract to the shop. It was tied to the product, and selling it. The brand was not about me. This is why the focus on branding bothers me. I don’t enjoy thinking of myself as a commodity to be pushed and sold.
I think we need to take a look at what branding means in marketing terms: brand is a way of showcasing the value of a product to a potential customer, and differentiating why your product is better or different from every other similar product on the market.
What is a brand if you are an author? How important is it?
When I look at the blogs that stand out in my memory, I notice that they fall into several categories a) have a wicked sense of humor, b) are honest and relatable, or c) are full of info that I need at present. In most cases it’s authenticity, or the author’s voice (a & b) that keeps me engaged in the long term.
I think it’s more useful to think about which aspects of your personality you feel comfortable showcasing to the public, rather than artificially creating a brand for the web. People respond to authenticity. It’s easy to see who’s only trying to sell something (turns me off), and who’s faking it (those bloggers usually don’t last).
I’ve got no books out in stores right now. I really have nothing to sell to you, and if I ever do, I hope that my personality doesn’t taint your reading of my work. I think that sometimes knowing less is better than knowing more. That being said, I still think I censor too much. I’ve got to rethink what I’m comfortable sharing.
Those are just a few miscellaneous and rambling thoughts. What do you think about branding?