Argh. Sooo challenging…and so permanent. It needs to be just right.
Identifying your “brand” is kind of like going to college, where the goal is trying to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. But at eighteen, who really knows THAT?
You have to pick a major but what are the odds that in a few years you’ll even be interested in pursuing a career in the field? Your scope of interests expands, you identify and refine your skill sets, you grow as a person. So at the end of the four years, are you where you thought you’d eventually end up?
Haha, not me!
I started out pre-law then decided to become a biology major with grandiose plans of becoming a patent lawyer. That didn’t work too well, so I tried psychology next, then political science. Finally, I landed on accounting. Never used my degree, and the extent of my accounting knowledge is limited to distinguishing a debit from a credit.
The point is, we aren’t the same people at 18 as we are at 25 and then at 40. We develop and expand our horizons. So while it’s important to figure out how you’re going to differentiate yourself from the competition, you don’t always know out of the gate who and what you will ultimately become. The reality may be vastly different than what you imagined. And that impacts your branding.
I can tell you from personal experience I’ve branded and rebranded myself many times over the years, trying to figure out how I want the world to know me. This became even more challenging for me as an author because at the end of the day, I write romance novels. But I am much more multi-faceted – how can I reflect that in my platform? I finally figured it out, but it was a journey.
I first did an exercise where I created a word cloud. I wrote down every single interest and skill I have. It became a little unwieldy, so I narrowed it down. Way too much for a tagline and nothing of real value popped out.
More introspection followed.
I’ve blogged for years, primarily about the trials and tribulations of being a working mother with three kids. Maybe that would be a good platform. But what’s the hook? How does that differentiate me from other romance authors? I’m not the only one with kids and a lot of angst.
It may make me relatable but…it doesn’t set me apart.
I consulted with the experts, read books and articles, searching for inspiration. I created a bunch of different taglines using the thesaurus app on my phone. I blogged some more. I made notes about themes from my books. Nothing, nothing, NOTHING.
Fast forward a few months.
As I prepared for my upcoming book launch, I realized I needed business cards….and a tagline. Darn it! Back to the drawing board. There was no way I was ordering business cards without a logo from Fiverr. That site rocks! And I couldn’t get a logo unless I established a BRAND!
So how can I tie my interests to my books? I write romance…set in Silicon Valley. Think venture capitalists, startup CEOs and IPOs…
And now I blog about innovation and entrepreneurship and…IDEAS! My own personal business experiences combined with interesting startup concepts.
The rest, as they say, is history. I finally figured myself out. I am “The Idea Mama, Vogue Entrepreneur and Author.”
It was a good day…and my business cards look fabulous!