July 18, 2011 in Dag

The day I nearly got mistaken for a supermodel: a whinge about branding

I just want to start by saying that my post last week was the most successful one I’ve done, and to thank everyone who took the time to post comments back to me or respond via Facebook.

Today I’m going to go the opposite way completely and have a bit of a whinge (for my friends across the Pacific, read whine, moan, complain, rant, etc…).

Anyone who read my post last week may wonder why I’m contradicting myself and going all negative. My response is that I’m not contradicting myself at all. Last week I said that I planned to try to make my book marketing a fun experience. And to be honest, there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as a good old whinge. It helps to let out the stress and leaves you feeling energised and refreshed (well it does for me).

The subject of my whinge today is supermodels. Honestly, whose idea was supermodels? The idea that a group could somehow be elevated into the super domain just for walking around wearing expensive clothes with blank expressions on their faces seems utterly ridiculous to me. Surely there are far more worthy candidates that merit a prefix of super; superteachers or superdoctors or maybe supercharityworkers. But I’m starting to get off topic here – I think this is turning into a possible subject for a future post.

Anyway, the thing that really gives me the proverbial about supermodels is when you see that one of them has released a new fragrance, or a new fashion range. All of a sudden, they’re not just a supermodel. They’re a successful businesswoman as well. And the media gushes about how amazing it is that they’re not only utterly gorgeous but they also have a great head for business.

Give me a break. Let’s not get into the squillions of dollars they’ve already earned on the catwalk which they can use for starting up a new business.  There’s something even more important than that which they’re taking advantage of.  They already have a brand. When you see their names splashed up all over magazines, the first thing you think of is fashion and beauty. It’s no great stretch for them to spin off another product associated with that brand. And let’s face it, the products with their names on them are always things like perfume or underwear or other fashion related stuff. The sort of things the public already associates them with. I’d like to see one of them try to market something completely different, like hardware or automotive parts or artificial limbs. Then we’d really know whether they had a head for business or not.

This whole supermodel situation encapsulates for me the difficulties for us indie authors. If you don’t have the brand recognition, it doesn’t matter how good your product (and for me, read book) is. Supermodels already have that brand. What can we as authors with no public profile do to create our own brands and generate that recognition for our name in the minds of the general public? To be honest, I’m not really sure. But there’s one thing I’m hoping that will help me out. My stories are pretty true reflections on my view of the world. And my main marketing strategy is to just try to be me and have fun doing it. Hopefully that will start to tie things together.

Which leads me back to the title of this post, ie the funny bit:

The very first thing I ever had published was as a result of a funny short story competition run by The Age, the major Melbourne broadsheet newspaper. It was about an ordinary suburban couple being stalked by a bunch of camera-wielding supermodels. But what was really funny was that next to my name, in the spot where they usually have a photo of the writer of the article, they had a picture of Claudia Schiffer instead. Not the truest reflection of me or my writing. To be honest, I’m not sure that it did my brand any favours. But then again, if it gets people to read my stuff, maybe I should have a supermodel on all of my book covers.

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