Thursday, 25 October 2012

Branding Part 2 – Why to get branding right

To read Branding Part 1 - Introduction click here

In 1991, a businessman stood up in front of business leaders to give a speech. His business, a high street jewellery firm that was popular with the public from all classes and income levels. The company had built up a reputation of selling quality goods at reasonable prices. This is his speech:

We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, "How can you sell this for such a low price?", I say, "because it's total crap."

The UK market reacted badly to what his speech. Customers stayed away from the shops and the business lost £500 million off its valuation in a matter of months. It was, at best, a disaster.

So how is this related to authors?

I would like to ignore the aspect of what he called his products as I don’t think we need to cover what damage you could do with negative comments about your books. What I would like to comment on is the perception that he has given about the customers who bought the products. Essentially by calling his products crap, he cited that his customers bought crap. This has a negative connotation about the customers’ taste, intelligence or both.

The same goes if you insult your readers’ intelligence. And you don’t have to criticize your book to do that. Imagine that you claim your reader’s do not leave reviews, like or tag your book? Surely your readers have enough intelligence on whether or not your book is worth that level of interaction. And just because they don’t leave a review, it doesn’t mean they won’t tell their friends or mention you in their Facebook, Goodreads or real life circles. If you complain, you are tempting a reprisal from readers and they will drag your reputation down.

It’s all part of what some authors’ think that they deserve from writing a book, its called entitlement. In reality, it is not. As authors we are artists, and artists can get praise, criticism or silence. It is not our job to tell our readers what to do. It is our job to write our best and thank people for giving us a chance.

To read more about entitlement I think this article is good.

Some people may remember that in part 1 I mentioned Gordon Ramsey; the famous British chef who has a reputation of having a bad temper. I also mentioned that his attitude is part of his branding. Despite his bad temper he is doing well. Some people will argue that if he can make it work, so can they. However there is one exception between an indie author who is barely known and Gordon Ramsey. He has paid his dues, he has worked his way up and he is seen as a bestseller with a good enough knowledge base that he is an expert in his craft. The vast majority of authors do not have that.

He can afford to act in such a manner.

He has gotten the respect of those in the industry, his product is top quality and he is respected by the customers. Gordon Ramsey annoys a couple of people from his abrupt behavior, it doesn’t matter; there are many other people who will listen to him.

But Gordon Ramsey also has a second level of his branding. His attitude to the customers is completely professional and polite. You never see him arguing with a customer, you never see him complaining about a customer or being rude about one. Compared to how he is to everyone else he almost completely the opposite. In front of his chefs he can seem to be very dominant but in the limelight of the customer he is almost submissive.

Why is there this second level of branding? Because research shows that 68% of people will not return to a product if they feel undervalued. Hence Gordon Ramsey knows that his customers’ feelings are key and knows that if he makes them feel undervalued they are less likely to return. However his staff and others want to be there for various reasons (money, career development, etc) and are willing to put up with his abrupt attitude to get their rewards in the long term.

In his defense you cannot argue that his attitude does produce amazingly good food.

So getting your branding right is paramount. Looking at the example of Gordon Ramsey, you can tell that treating your readers courteously and making them feel valued is the most important aspect. If you don’t; you will lose customers and getting them back will be hard if not impossible.

In this day and age, our branding cannot be on two levels. It would be very easy for one of our readers to search our name and find a post made on a writers’ forum where we are annoyed by the lack of readers leaving reviews or complaining that our readers are so unappreciative of our writing. What message is that sending to your readers? That they are not worth anything! Now that reader has turned away and will never buy a book of yours again.

That is why I say that authors should concentrate on one brand image. This brand image can be a group of words that define them as an individual or their books, but it is one single identity. In the next part I will discuss how we can construct that brand image.

Connect with the Author:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Welcome to The Indie Ebook Review Site

Hello and welcome to the Indie Ebook Review Site.

Please take a seat, pour yourself your favourite beverage and have a read of some of our reviews. We cover Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal and have something for everyone.

If you are an author you can also submit your book for review or request a guest poster spot.

We hope you enjoy your visit.