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A brand is an idea in the mind of the consumer whose power lies in the ability to influence purchasing decisions.
The key point is the power to influence. The more-narrowly focused the idea is, the stronger the power to influence. In fact, a brand's strength is precisely inversely proportional to the narrowness of its focus. Through branding, you make yourself, the Author Brand Name, interchangeable with the "idea." You promote the Author Brand; and the brand sells products.
Today we're looking at consistency, the cohesiveness of your message--your brand's trustworthyness in the customer's mind. Click through the jump-break to learn more.
People don't like change and in fact, will resist change of any kind. It's just human nature. However, we are an adaptable species and have survived this long by learning to change when change becomes inevitable. That doesn't mean we won't go down fighting. To avoid that fight--a potential customer's resistance to buy your next new book--become something consistent, constant, predictable. The Immutable Law of Marketing 17 (Law of Unpredictability) says the market will change--and that you must change/adapt with it--but your customers need to feel that you are unchanged, unchanging, familiar and not an unknown in a sea of unknowns.
Brand-building is a long, drawn-out and boring process. It takes repetition and consistency, finding 50 million ways to say the same exact thing and it takes a devoted energy and enthusiasm despite how boring the message might become the 50 millionth time you have to deliver it. When people do boring work, they become bored and yearn to try something new. Don't do it. Not with your brand, anyway. Or not unless you've been pushing the same brand for ten or twenty years and you really don't think you can wring another penny out of it.
Limit your brand to a narrow, finite focus. That's the essence of branding, narrowing the message down to a finite little, pill-sized, easy to swallow message. One word. Bam! inside the customer's mind, not one word on this and three words on that and two more over here. Just one word, one concept, one brand that is consistently the same each time it is presented.
Now as an Indie Author, this has to sound beyond boring, but actually "wrong" because we all want each and every book to be a unique and special snowflake, right? Wrong. We want every last book we write to appeal to the exact same customer need, predictably, reliably, consistently--so they buy each and every book we write, with a strong sense of security in their purchase and satisfaction in their reading of it.
The difference between our industry and widget-makers, who might try one line extension after another to "freshen up" the brand's image, is that our industry allows us to create a whole new brand for each type of story we want to write. If you like to try out new things, experiment with new styles, do it. Go for it. Experiment to your heart's delight--under a new pen name for each experimental trial. Don't experiment with an established brand. Reinforce your brand by delivering exactly the same thing again and again and again.
The Immutable Law of Branding 19 (for Indie Authors) guarantees that violating the consistent message--that is, deviating from your brand's concept and unique message--will lose you customers. They'll find the change disorienting, discomforting, disinteresting in the worst cases. They might even think you're being a little dishonest with them claiming to be a "Type A" author and then delivering "Type B" stories. Here are the only three B's you should consider: Be consistent. Be unique. Be you.
Next week's Monday Marketing will cover Law 20: the Law of Change (LOL). Yes, it's an ironic pairing but Immutable Law of Branding 20 (for Indie Authors) is a little Immutable Law of Marketing 17 (Law of Unpredictability). We'll delve further next week. Hope to see you then!