Hope you all are having a lovely start to your April and didn’t get pranked too hard on the first.
So, a couple years back I had a job that involved branding. I liked it because I love the idea of having rules on how to consistently make marketing materials and having a centralized look, but to be honest, I’m only now discovering its real importance.
Mainly, that having proper branding helps people know who you are.
As a writer, when I first started thinking about branding for myself, I have to admit I was a little daunted, to say nothing of bothered. It kind of felt like another marketing hoop to jump through, another brick in the platform wall, and while I certainly liked the chance to develop a personal logo, play around with wordpress’ designs and choose colors (hard as it was, the things I like visually not necessarily being representative of me as a person), it all felt a little pointless. After all, what’s the point of designing a letterhead if you aren’t sending letters? What’s the point of having a logo if you don’t even have a business?
And that’s still true to a point. I don’t really use my logo for anything, and I don’t write letters, but what branding is useful for, what it will continue to be more and more useful for the better I get at it, is for people to know who I am.
This, for me, as a writer and as a person, is particularly important.
For one thing, unless I’m being particularly mischievous and/or purposefully obtuse, I hate being misunderstood. I long for clear communication and having good branding helps a lot with that.
For seconds, I have very clear goals for what I want my writing to do (point people to Christ, ask questions and start discussions), so being able to make those things clear up front gives important context not only to my work, but also to who I am as a writer and a person. It also helps avoid the problem of people assuming things about my work that they shouldn’t, which as a speculative Christian author can be crucial.
For thirds, because of who I am as a writer, I am going to need very specific people to make my work successful, both from a business perspective and in the goals I just mentioned. Most of my work doesn’t really have a clear spot within the market, Christian or non, so if it’s going to succeed, if I’m going to find my forever home in my industry, I need people who can get behind what I’m trying to do, even if it is sometimes risky or counter-cultural. Having good branding is going to help a lot with that process, both in making it clear to potential agents or publishers what I do, stand for, and want to achieve, and in proving that I know what those things are in the first place.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’m still in the baby stages of this. I need to update the looks of things like this blog and my facebook page to be more consistent, I need to update my About Me page and my business cards, and I’m probably going to have to retire my logo at some point (at least for now, I want to use it sometime), but the prospect of making those changes, now that I understand the importance of what all that does, is no longer a tedious task to be completed, but a pleasure to look forward to, a chance for clearer communication and swifter understanding in the midst of a world that’s losing that art. I know it won’t be easy (if I think writing summaries and loglines for my books is hard, I can’t imagine writing them for myself), but it is and will be important. I just wish I would have realized how much a little sooner.
Anyway, I know I’ve got some graphic designers, branders, artists and entrepreneurs out there as readers, so any tips? Advice? Stories (especially stories. I love stories.)? I’d love to hear how branding has helped you, how you’ve approached it, or how you’ve overcome your branding struggles. Resources welcome too. Peace and good lives, readers!