The Launch Process
Here's an example, albeit not from the book industry. In the USA, Altoids mints wanted to launch and compete with Tic Tac brand of mints. Tic Tac were "futuristic" looking with their capsule shape and plastic shaker container--so Altoids wisely used the Law of the Opposite and made their container "old fashioned" looking and kept the focus on their name and their unique attributes. They launched with the slogan "curiously strong mints" to contrast with Tic Tac's campaign of fruity flavors and "mild, won't overpower you" taste.
Altoids gave the consumer more than a contrast. They gave the consumer the two requirements needed to influence a purchasing a decision and choose Brand B rather than Brand A.
- a new category (strong mints) and
- a motivating reason (curiously strong) to try them
Editorial SalesWhen launching a new category, you must have those two critical pieces: there needs to be something new about it and there needs to be some motivating reason why consumers should try it. Unless there is a motivation, there is no way consumers will change from Brand A to Brand B. That is even more true in book-buying habits. Readers know, without a doubt, what their "Favorite Author A" is going to deliver. Unless you have that and more--or better, the opposite of that same old, same old--you cannot lure them away from purchasing more of what they already love. You must tell them--in one or two words--why Brand B is a better purchase at this time.
Selling to them is not the way to tell them this, however. Publicity is. Due to the years of drowning in advertising messages about the best this and the better that and the "new and improved" same old thing, consumers have learned (been trained) to simply reject advertising messages as false. We automatically assume an advertisement contains lies. At the same time, we still assume, to some extent anyway, that the media is delivering the truth. Therefore, an advertisement that is disguised to look like an editorial article might contain some truth.
In the last ten or so years, media falsification of documents has grown to the point of coining new terms (fauxtoshop anything lately?) It is becoming increasingly more difficult to maintain a level of credibility in the media and to distinguish between the "community-fed" social media versus "fact-checked" news media. In fact, all a fact-checker does is ask people (often via social media) to confirm what the news media already knows. There's not much evaluation going on and consumers know this. Add to that the entertainment industry's practice of selling spots of so-called "product placement" and the media has nearly lost all of its credibility.
Publicity, Not Advertising
The bad news, of course, is that leaves very few outlets available for the placement of advertising where it might be believed by consumers. The good news, however, is that publicity, not advertising, is what you want to generate anyway. Advertising should be regarded merely as a hook on which to hang your publicity campaign, not as the end game.
It's very much like writing the opening sentence (or chapter) of your book. You want to catch the reader's attention right away and hold them there, inviting them into your world. With advertising you hook their attention and shine a light on your Author Brand. Then publicity holds the light steady by creating buzz and discussion--about the advertisement or your product, so long as your Brand is involved in the conversation.
Publicity about the advertisement is not your goal, but it can make your Brand a water-cooler talking point, at which stage, your products must deliver to maintain the buzz. Having a great book that people love to read and recommend to their friends still has to be your #1 selling strategy ^)^ Sorry but there's no avoiding that one!
Next Monday I'll delve further into building the Brand recognition using publicity. I hope to see you then!