Branding and Style

Last weekend, my editor Martin and I spoke at RWA NYC chapter about the editor/author relationship. I also spoke to the group about the importance of branding and defining your style.

The definition of branding is “to label or mark with or as if with a brand.” It’s a concept that is sometimes hard to completely grasp. We’re surrounded by brands and marketing and yet trying to pinpoint your own brand can be super difficult.

The beauty, however, about both brand and style is that you likely already have both–the exercises I’m about to explain are simply to help you focus what’s already there. Knowing your brand and style is extremely helpful when putting together your marketing materials, your website, any sort of speeches or talks–even how you dress and present yourself!

To help focus and define your style (I did this specifically in writing romance, but you could easily adjust it to fit any business or genre!!), first ask yourself the following:
-How do I define a hero?
-How do I define a heroine?
-How do I define romance?

*From here, choose your top 5 favorite movies, tv shows, books or images (these can be anything ranging from a portrait of Audrey Hepburn to Fight Club to Pride and Prejudice).

*Ask yourself what about these movies/tv shows/books/images are so powerful to you?

*What do these 5 stories have in common?

*Then narrow down those commonalities to 5 descriptive words. These 5 words should describe your style in a nutshell.

Is this an exact science? NO! Of course not. And it might not quite work for you. But, most of us write what we like to read and watch. So I think that it’s perfectly normal that we will draw from these inspirations in which we love to watch and read.

Branding is a little more difficult. The easiest way I narrowed down my brand was by looking at other brands I admire. I took an hour and dissected what about these brands I loved so much. Was it the customer service? The aesthetic? The dependability?

Then, I chose 4 brands which I felt reflected what I strive for in my author brand. For me, I chose the following:
-Nike for Women
*This is the heart of my heroines. I write most of my heroines to be
very real, very flawed individuals. When they fall, they get up and
try again.
*This is the aesthetic. It’s romantic. It’s vintage and soft without
being sappy.
-La Perla
*This is the passion. The sensuality. High end, couture and sexy.
*This is the party. Kinda speaks for itself.

Once you narrow down the brands you feel best represent you, really take a look at everything you have. Your covers, your website, your newsletter, your facebook and twitter, etc. Ask yourself if they coincide. Do they represent what you just described? Do the styles match the 5 words from earlier?

So, there it is! A quick easy guide to defining a brand yourself. Hope it helps!

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