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Bonus Post: 8 Untouchable Ways To Improve Your Branding Fu

Photo Courtesy - Paul Brunskill

Can you keep a secret?

Are you sure?

Promise not to tell anybody?

Okay.

My secret is E.J. Apostrophe is a pen name.

Now this is not earth shattering as James Chartrand’s revelation in 2009.  You still deserve to know the truth.

Lord willing, E.J. Apostrophe and the H3roic Writ3r is part of the brand that I am building.

Although my real name is unique in its own way, the name connects with my failed attempts of a writer, entrepreneur, and supreme ruler of cheesecake.

The pen name has become my superhero identity and my real name is my secret identity.  How incredi-mazing is that?

There is another secret I need to divulge as well.

I really like Kung Fu movies.

So don’t be surprised if most of my posts will have martial arts themes in them. (I no longer practice.  I am researching taking martial arts again.  Make sure to behave yourself.)

Each week I asked the H3roic Writer Society (thanks to all who voted) to decide what the bonus post would be on Saturdays and branding is the winner.

There are 46,500,000 Google results on the term “branding”.

Look at some of the web results:

What is Branding and How Important is it to Your Marketing Strategy?

A strong brand is invaluable as the battle for customers intensifies day by day.
It’s important to spend time investing in researching, defining,

marketing.about.com/cs/brandmktg/a/wh…CachedSimilar

The Brand Called You | Fast Company

Aug 31, 1997 You’re branded, branded, branded, branded. of the business we happen to be
in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding.

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/10/brand…CachedSimilar

Branding Your Business

Boost your sales by learning our business branding tips and techniques from our
experts and columnists..

http://www.entrepreneur.com/marketing/brandi…CachedSimilar

If businesses grasp the idea of branding, how can we learn to brand ourselves as writers?

The successful writers already have their brand.

When I mention “Stephen King”…you think ‘horror.’

Dean Koontz = suspense thrillers.

James B. Patterson = thrillers.

Why?

Branding.

Writers struggle to develop this vital aspect and this will be a brief look in helping you to start the steps of untouchable branding.

Let’s look at 8 untouchable ways to improve your branding fu (Told you I like martial arts):

Photo Courtesy - nativepride2k

1.      Be consistent – Branding expert Logan Zanelli is correct.  There is an overabundance of branding advice out there (Bah, puny 46, 500,000!  It’s only a schosh!).  He advocates what he calls “The Simplest Form of Branding.”

What is the form?  Consistency.  Do you use the same fonts on your blog as well as your business cards?  Do you post or write sporadically?  How about a consistent schedule? (Those in The Elite know that they will see two posts here on Saturdays between 12 a.m. and  4:30 p.m. EST)  Are the colors on your blog consistent?  Start off with this first step to begin your brand.

2.      Be Fearless – There is a saying “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”  In untouchable branding, you need to make bold statements and stick to them like a Krazy Clue.

Who is the person who calls himself “The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment?”  You would be correct if you stated “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson.  When I was involved with the freelance site Odesk, there was a writer with the title “The Best D*** Freelance Writer in The World.”

Hype?  Hardly.   He had a robust list of requests from contractors.  Maybe he is not so outrageous yet he has made a brand for himself.  How are you being fearless in your branding to set yourself apart or are you like thousands of writers who “seek to be published?”

3.      Be Evolving – What is the most poisonous type of water?  Any water that is stagnant.  What would have happened to Apple if they decided to stay in the computer business only?  What would have happened if Google would have stayed in the search engine business only?  Both companies would have dried up.

How about your brand?  Do you still use the same tired fonts?  Haven’t changed your theme in years?  Still writing those tired flash fiction pieces?  How are you challenging yourself to be more so your brand can be more?

4.      Be Innovative – Critics laughed at Amazon when the book selling empire decided to jump into the murky waters of E-book readers with the Kindle.  Now who is laughing?

They have jump started a new niche and created more readers interested in buying e-books.

Writer Jay Noel has an excellent name for his blog “Writer on Fire.”  Is your blog on fire with creativity?  Is your brand original?  Does your brand sparkle with imagination?

What ways are you presenting yourself as a writer that is pioneering?

5.      Be Possessive – Former President Ronald Regan was known for his ability to stay on task when engaging in press interviews.  When the hungry reporters tried to trip him up with tricky questions, he would answer with the same key points: “We need to cut taxes, build our military, and create jobs.”

He was not fazed or deterred.  His answers were consistent (branding?). Branding demands that you claim your niche.  You need to own your niche so well that you will become the “Go-To Person” if anyone wants answers.

How can you combine your niche into your brand?  Mine is Christian Speculative Fiction with a focus on Superhero Fiction.  I have telescoped this niche because no one is doing this niche well so I am stepping up to fill this niche.  Hence, the brand “H3roic Writ3r.”

6.      Be A Character – My co-worker and I were discussing about Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino from MTV’s Jersey Shore.  Did you know that Snooki is a New York Times Best Selling Author?

Before I get the smelling salts to wake you up, The Situation made $5 million dollars last year in endorsements.  Say what you will, their characters have made them profitable.

When I say the name of the NBA athlete David Robinson, sport fans will know him as The Admiral – a gentleman and a strong Christian who was not ashamed of his faith.

One of the elements about branding is being the type of character that people will stand up and notice.  Does that mean being outrageous or showy like Lady Gaga?  If this is what you want to do this…just don’t show up on E! True Hollywood Story.

7.      Be Reachable – Let’s revisit Apple Computers, why is the company raking in billions (S65.23 billion to be exact)?  They have a secret, too.  The secret is interaction.

Apple has Mac Groups in every state and hold MacWorld to help give a personal touch with their end users.  The results?  If you have met an Apple evangelist, then you obviously know what I’m talking about.

You want to be an untouchable brand?  Make yourself accessible to your readers.  Email.  Social Networks.  Chat.  Connect with your readers and soon they will be your brand evangelists. (And yes, I will be taking my research and advice by making myself more accessible than Johnny Depp.  You will see changes to the blog soon.)

8.      Be Community Minded – When Hilary Clinton wrote her book “It Takes a Village”, I scoffed at this title.  A village?  Bah!  Now I step back and see the wisdom here.  Why do you think people want to join fraternities, secret societies, or clubs?  The sense of community and family is powerful.  People want to belong.  People want to matter.

Why not place yourself as the Grand Poobah of your brand community and welcome your readers into your tribe?  How are you inviting them into your community to experience your brand?

This is a taste of branding.  If you want more resources, I listed them below.

So tell me…

Do you see yourself as a brand?  If so, how can you make your brand stronger and untouchable?

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Resources To Make Your Brand Untouchable:

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9 thoughts on “Bonus Post: 8 Untouchable Ways To Improve Your Branding Fu

  1. Boy, there’s a lot to consider!

    It’s hard to settle on a brand when you’re generally experiencing a time of great change and self-discovery, but I feel I’m learning quickly about my brand as an aspiring writer (and also my brand in my future career).

    I like how the “consistency” and “evolution” bits kind of contradict one another, lol. I think once you settle into the groove of things, consistency will develop in your voice, the content you produc and the presentation of your communicative medium–be it Facebook, your blog/website or even the way you communicate via email–and the evolution will occur in other ways, like learning to use new features and gadgets, becoming a better writer, and new additions or minor changes to your site.

    As far as evolving the look of your blog or website goes…well, I would hope I never have to make a big change again! Still, I have set mine up this time so that if I do want to change the background color (say, for holidays) it would still work with the overall theme.

    I was really in a state of flux when I switched sites and blog platforms, so hopefully the Jello has set but good by now!

  2. You are your brand. It’s the face you choose to put out into the world. That being said, I don’t think about it too much, but I do try to avoid negativity, and maintain some level of professionalism (I ask myself if I would be embarrassed if my co-workers read what I wrote. If the answer is yes, then I won’t post it on my blog).

    EJ Apostrophe is a pseudonym? I’m aghast! hehe 🙂

  3. This is a fairly decent overview on branding, and it echoes a lot of what I’ve learned over the years (and in my MBA). Basically, when you are your brand… well… you have to be the brand, which means doing what it is that you say you are selling. If your brand is about trustworthiness, you have to be trustworthy. If your brand is about great and engaging story-telling… well… you have to tell some great, engaging stories.

    The difficulty for writers comes in the fact that the latter is very taste-driven. I can write what I think is great, engaging fiction. But if readers disagree, then no matter what I say about my “brand”, then I haven’t delivered. In this case, the brand comes about in part as a negotiation between writer and reader. I have to say what I’m going to deliver, and the customer/reader decides if I’ve in fact delivered on my promise.

    But I’ll never get the chance to deliver if I don’t convince the customer that I can deliver, and that’s where consistency of message and some of these other tools comes into play.

  4. Absolutely love this post. Thanks for the kudos, by the way. Actually, I named my blog after this rare skin condition I have, but it’s all good!

    But seriously, businesses spend millions just researching what to call themselves. My employer recently re-branded itself after two years of pure research! There’s psychology behind branding, but you still have to have the goods to back it up.

    Now I’m going to go practice my kata.

    • If you start building your brand now, Jay, you will be light years ahead of those who start later. Start now and don’t look back.

      P.S. Please share this post with others if you found value in it. 🙂

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