Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Branding, it’s not just for cows anymore™

Branding, it’s not just for cows anymore™

I read it all the time: market yourself, develop a personal branding identity, stand out from the crowd by positioning yourself as a commodity. Strategy, strategy, strategy.
Yes I get it, being heard above the crowd is valuable in today’s hypersaturated market where entertainment is comingled with even the most basic purchases (Since when has beef, or milk, or orange juice needed a pithy slogan and a jingle? Save your marketing dollars trying to convince me to buy a device that warms baby wipes)

And naturally we want to save ourselves from the marketing blunders that allowed this little poor-decision-making gem of marketing dross to be unleashed on the world.

Whose bright idea was that? Almost as bad as Hong Kong's "It'll Take Your Breath Away" ad campaign. (SARS anyone?)

So I get it, I ought to read up on how to market myself to get and retain readers.

But after about five paragraphs of marketing strategy positioning doublespeak I start wondering if anything exciting is happening on twitter.

Branding is supposed to be creating an identifiable difference in your “product” that separates it from all the other products out there. When it comes to personal branding, as it is employed by authors, songwriters, bloggers, anarchists, talking vegetables, et al, branding is just having a uniquely distinguishable persona and talent.
How hard is that? We’re all unique snowflakes, right?

Well shoot, it’s hard to think about positioning yourself so your witticisms and charm bring hordes of readers to your blogs or books. It’s hard to smile for the virtual camera of interwebiness, which never sleeps and never forgets.
It’s not really that terribly hard to make up a strategy… I mean, we can armchair strategies all night long. But it’s the follow-through and the dedication (or revisifying) which ends up being the toughest part.

What’s a bloke to do?
Usually just do what you do, learn a few tricks along the way, blog about something that interests you at the time (and in that too-short free time you would normally reserve for playing video games).

That’s all I got. What about you, oh intrepid reader? Have you ever wrestled with the “Market Thyself” beast?


  1. I've been reading up on this too, Mason. Over here from a distance of space and age, this is how I see your brand. "Super-cool, pensive, funny, musical dad who also writes science fiction among other things, and has deep Christian roots, alongside a super-cool writer-musician wife." How'm I doing? I think it is about being yourself. There is definitely only one you.

  2. I find it difficult to market myself without feeling spammy. And chances are any marketing ideas you get have all been done. There's a good article about it here: http://triberr.com/blog.php?post=17986

  3. I've kept myself awake thinking about it, for sure. Do I blog about the right topics? Do I tweet enough? Are my tweets funny enough? Is the fact that my website is flash limiting me from iPad/iPhone users? You could really kill yourself over that stuff...So I just do as I please. : )

  4. What's a girl to do? "Mercedes" is already branded. I should just hop on the luxury car ride and save myself some work.

    Branding is tough because you want to be noticed but you also want to be sincere. I want to be myself but I don't want to be obnoxious. And, unfortunately, I am obnoxious.

    Let's armchair it on Tuesday!


  5. Ugh those "Branding" and "social media gurus" make me want to simultaneously vomit and go on a murderous rampage. As an avid reader I am /less/ inclined to purchase a book from someone who seems really concerned with branding, marketing, etc. It's like they lose sight of what hooks me as a reader.

    Authors that are REAL are the ones I'm likely to follow/support. Bonus points for the ones that interact with people.

    Personally I've not had to wrestle with this yet. Nothing I have is even close to publication. But if I appear to be turning into one of those obnoxious BRAND people I give Mason permission to practice his ninja assassination skills on me.

  6. yep, the never ending story of marketting oneself. It definitely takes dedication and persistence and it works best when we aren't being obvious about it too. Not always so easy.

  7. Another thought here. "They" say that for a writer, your are your brand. I.E. your actual name is your brand. You kinda lucked out on that one, dude!

  8. Oh, and oops, my bad. Fantasy, not sci-fi.