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Welcome back to my marketing series on Branding (for Indie Authors). Over the course of this series, I'm helping you understand what branding is (and that it's not a book cover theme). We're discussing how to choose that one word that best describes your brand.
Click through the jump-break to get started.
Because it's so important to understand what branding is before you consider how to apply the concept to your own Indie Author career, let me repeat the definition of branding yet again.
The power of a brand lies in its ability to influence purchasing decisions. Remember, it is your brand that influences your customers, not your promotional tweets or advertising budgets.
Interestingly enough, Immutable Law of Branding (for Indie Authors) Law 5: The Word, discusses the same concept as Immutable Law of Marketing Law 5: Focus, which is also repeated in Positioning (For Indie Authors) series as Positioning 8: One Word. There's a reason this one word concept shows up again and again in all three of these marketing series. It's just that important. Today I'll rehash the idea with a slant on branding but be sure to read the other articles for a different perspective. The more you think about "focus" as the goal, the more successful you'll be at achieving it.
Because you're an Author, you're no doubt balking at the very idea of defining your book in "one word," let alone defining yourself in just one! Okay, you do not have to choose literally one word but close. In the first entry of this series, Laws 1+2: Expansion and Contraction, I gave you the example of Kleenex brand tissues. Their "one word" concept was a "pocket tissue." So, two words - but it was a single, compact idea that entered the minds of the consumers quickly and easily. It was a simple idea (disposable pocket tissues) and virtually replaced the cloth handkerchiefs that were the norm before the arrival of Kimberly-Clark's product. Read here how Kimberly-Clark did that with Kleenex brand.
Most of us don't know the company name "Kimberly-Clark," but when someone looks across the room and sees a box of Scott brand facial tissues, they might be likely to say "Would you please pass me those Kleenex?" The brand name has become the generic name for the product. It is now the "noun" defining the "thing" people want. That's strong branding.
The Kleenex brand not only eliminated another product (cloth handkerchiefs) from the market but they also went on to completely replace the idea of a disposable pocket tissue in the minds of consumers with their "one word" - their brand. Kleenex did this by establishing their brand saying "Don't put a cold into your pocket." This phrasing was not accidental. By saying this, Kimberly-Clark brilliantly applied the Law of the Opposite (we are not our competition or we are what our competition is not).
Without ever suggesting to their Depression-era, economy-minded customers that they spend hard-earned money to buy a product and intentionally throw it away after one use, Kleenex brand of sanitary disposable pocket tissues exploited the influenza epidemics and turned "waste" into something positive--protection against infection. It wasn't quite an application of the Law of Candor (Law 15), but rather one of the Law of Attributes (Law 14). It was a brilliant strategy--and it was very focused.
Kimberly-Clark looked at their market--and marketplace and consumer attitudes and consumer's minds--and created a brand strategy that would establish them in a leadership position. For their effort, the term "Kleenex" is now a generic "noun" meaning facial tissues. Other brands who've claimed a generic noun for their products include Jell-O brand (owns "gelatin dessert"), Band-Aid brand (owns "adhesive bandages"), Saran Wrap brand (owns "plastic food wrap"). These are strong brands because they are focused brands. You can't become generic, become "the thing," by overtaking the competition. You have to be the first brand and establish the category.
Indie Author Categories and Brands
So how do we Indie Authors do that with our books? It's not easy because to do so is counter-intuitive to our creative nature. To focus one's brand, one has to eliminate all the verbal flourishes and simplify. Don't use eloquent, special words. Use a simple, easy-to-remember word. Don't try to write in every genre, narrow your focus and write in one genre--or create a new one! Immutable Law of Marketing (for Indie Authors) Law 6: Exclusivity, reminds us that it can be done!
The secret to creating your brand's one word is to think in terms of a new category, not of your one book. Don't think about defining just what you write; think of defining what you write in terms that others will relate to--and join you in writing. You want to focus your brand--but you want to expand the new category. I'll be discussing expansion of the category in a later entry of this series, so stay tuned!
Next week's Monday Marketing will be Branding (for Indie Authors) Law 6: Credentials. It's all about authenticity.
Tomorrow's Tuesday Tip will be an extra-special treat for me. I've been searching and experimenting and wracking my webbie-tech brains for a way to digitally autograph an eBook without losing the native format -- that is how to open a Mobi or ePub file, sign it and save it as the same kind of file without having to go through the process of "faking" a publication. I needed a tool to reformat. Calibre is it!
Tune in tomorrow to read more. Download Calibre today - it's free! - to get a head start. See you at 10:00 am ET/USA tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!