Tonight I am speaking to the NY chapter of Mystery Writers of America about branding in the digital age. I think I am pretty well branded, though I don’t believe you can ever say you’re “done.” But in writing my presentation I wondered what…and who…has the strongest brand. Of course, there’s Coke. That’s the first one that comes to mind for me. It doesn’t matter whether you can read the label, you know what it is. And if someone says “cola,” the two answers that come to mind are probably Coke and Pepsi, so they’re doing a darn good job of branding.
As far as publishers go, I think Berkley’s Prime Crime has an AWESOME brand. You see a Berkley Prime Crime Cover, you know exactly what you’re getting. They brand their covers with the drawings and pastels, they brand their spines with the little black hand…and the content gives readers exactly what they expect.
Second to Berkley, I’d say Harlequin’s “Presents” line has the strongest branding in the industry. A single glance at a cover and you know what the contents are in length, heat, and story type. People may laugh at the idea of Presents because they’re supposedly old fashioned, but I don’t actually think it’s coincidental that both Prime Crime and Presents are steady sellers for their publishing companies.
As far as authors…well, everyone knows what a Jim Patterson book reads like, but do you know what it looks like? No. But you do know what thrillers look like, right? And they don’t look like cozies or romances.
So what about you guys? What brands seem particularly strong to you? (And don’t forget…to introduce my brand to everyone, I am doing a full month of giveaways on my blog, so stop by and see whether there’s anything you want to enter for a chance to win!)