Brand Yourself

Branding is important. It’s creating you as a “product,” recognizable for what you represent, whether its your expertise, your reliability, your message

And branding isn’t just about companies. Although I don’t believe that people are corporations, people can be branded and represent their own business interests.

Consider that the singer Jay-Z is a brand – in addition to being a rap star, he’s a clothing and sports magnate. But he is known for everything at once without having compromised what he represents. He’s a quality brand.

Branding expert Ron Berger said, in a New York Times profile about his own business, “Jay-Z may have attached his name to music, clothes and big business deals like his stake in the Brooklyn Nets and the associated Barclays Center, but the reason he has been such a success is because of who the singer is. “The street cred that he comes from and doesn’t waver from, it’s probably been foundational to the brand he’s become.

Taylor Swift is a brand, too: the singer-songwriter’s new album, Red, sold 1.2 million copies in its first week, and she is the only woman to have two million-selling albums in one week, since 1991.  She’s also got her own line of clothing sneakers and, doubtless, more branding opportunities to come.

Are you yet a brand? Well, it’s more difficult for writers – but it’s quite possible (think of, in fiction, such names as Stephen King or John Grisham or Nora Roberts; in nonfiction, Malcolm Gladwell and others). If you’ve got a platform – that is, an online site where you blog, engage with your audience, spread your message and build your tribe – then you’re likely to go a long way toward becoming a brand yourself.

And why should a writer be a brand? Because, for one thing, the book you’re writing is part of your business strategy which involves using the book as a sales tool, and growing your business. This isn’t a craven grab for attention: it’s what you need to do to be noticed in today’s marketplace.

So think of what you want to say, craft your message and begin writing what you know, and reaching out to people in the most honest way possible. Soon you’ll be your own brand.

Bob Hughes
Author: Bob Hughes
Robert J. Hughes ("Bob") was a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal for over a decade, specializing in culture reporting. He was the paper's theater reporter, wrote on publishing, the art and auction markets, television, music, film and philanthropy, and reviewed books.
  • Anonymous

    Great concept. Changes the way you look at writing and connecting with your audience.