My background is in graphic design. I have spent countless hours assisting businesses in branding and creating unique identities. This has involved creating a unique sigil, creating new business names, to developing a color palette that suits the individual. There is a lot that goes into creating a brand and then fostering its growth.
Unfortunately, as a writer, I tossed all this knowledge aside and decided to jump in feet first without consideration for my brand. Originally it was about making things available and getting it out to the public. Now as I start to consider other projects, I’m realizing I may have caused more problems than I originally thought. Here are some branding suggestions I would make that will save a significant amount time down the road.
1) Your Name & It’s Importance
I know it sounds funny, but this would be the first thing I suggest people spend time considering. I go by many nicknames: JJ, Jage, Jer, Remy. My career knows me by Jeremy. My recent friends by Jer and older friends by JJ. My online persona is simply Remy. Because of this my first book I published under Jeremy Flagg. However, this has created some issues with my occupation and is resulting in me in moving my brand strictly to Remy Flagg. Now I have to make sure that all my social media knows me by this, my first book is published under Jeremy Flagg and needs to be changed. It has created a cascading effect that is muddling a brand I hope to be long-term. It gets even more frustrating and confusing when legal documents and bank accounts come into play.
Suggestion: Think about your life. Do you have a day job you want separate from your writing? Are the names on social media available? Do you write very different genres you might want to separate from one another? All of these are things to consider in choosing your name. Once you pick it, going back is a difficult and tiring (and sometimes avoidable) pain in the neck.
I always have to speak to businesses about brand consistency. A company wants to be called one thing, but on their promotional items they want another name. On their website they want this color scheme and on print fliers they want something unrelated. I find it is often that developing brands tend to have difficulty roping in their brand and keeping a consistent message. For writers this can be equally taxing (especially for a writer doing all their own promotions.)
Suggestion: You have to assume that your fan base is a bit crazy. Keep things consistent such as names. I find trying to maintain identical handles on social media helps keep things a bit more straightforward for me. I also keep identical profile photos (and usually cover photos as well) to help make it obvious that you’ve crossed from one of my social media sites to another. I maintain similar, if not identical, biographies for the sake of simplicity. Keep track of all the sites you have a presence (or in the promotional venues you use) and make sure to maintain a consistent visual and verbal message in your work. This doesn’t mean each location has to be identical, I frequently change the content of each venue I promote myself. However, it does mean that a viewer should be able to see it and understand, “Oh, they’re also the person I follow on…”
As I go through this little folly and struggle I’ve created for myself, I’ll continue to post my findings and suggestions. Hopefully they’ll help people avoid mistakes I created for myself at the beginning of this venture.