Thursday, March 8, 2012

Generic vs. Name Brand

If you've ever lived the life of a student, unemployed, low income or food storage minded shopper (or maybe you're a millionaire because of how you use your money) than you understand what I mean when I say:

Thank goodness for the No Name brand!

As much as I might want to splurge from time to time on that Campbell's thick and chunky soup (substitute this product for whatever came first to your mind as you read that sentence), common sense and a corset-tight-budget often means that it's the yellow-labelled cans of goods that end up in my cart.

Because in food, and clothing, and many other areas of industry, branding products usually works this way:

brand name = high quality
no name = low price

There's been a lot of talk in the blogosphere about creating a brand for yourself as a writer. This is usually referring to the way you use social platforms such as facebook, twitter and blogging to promote yourself, your work and your talents. Your brand.

What does this have to do with groceries?
Simply this: Have you considered what your brand is? Do you think brand is important? (I'm referring here more to how author brand relates to visibility, recognition and the quality of our writing, not the price or worth of our books and stories).

I've never really thought about it to be honest, until last night when I opened my pantry door to the food stacked three cans high with blaring read labels that said "No Name". Do I really want to be one of those cans? Is it worth it to build an author brand, or can one find a 'niche' as a generic writer?

When exploring the question of what is an author brand? I found this interesting statement:

If you've put your pen to paper, you've already started developing a brand, even if you don't know it. A brand is a promise to your readers that you will deliver a specific value or benefit from reading your work that can help you develop your readership and expand your audience. ...and when choosing a book to read, time and again, you'll return to the authors who delivered on their promise (from createspace article).

In other words, just as in industry, branding in writing should 'ideally' lead to the following

brand author name = High Quality
brand author work = Desirable

So while we might be a penny conscious grocery shopper, we don't want to scrimp when it comes to brand name in writing. It's definitely an area I need to put some thought and effort into.

I have a fun question for all you MMW blog readers. If you were a canned good (or any generic/brand name product, what would you be and why?

And, as a writer, how have you worked to develop your own brand? Any tips for those new to the craft?


  1. I would be the Wal-Mart/Great Value brand of frozen lasagna. I only buy frozen lasagna because it's way easier and tastes better than anything I'd make. And the great thing about the generic lasagna? Even better than Stouffer's, in my opinion.

    Lasagna has layers, is comforting, and fills you up. It also contains all the major food groups. :-)

  2. Hmm . . . what product would I be. I haven't a clue. I'd WANT to be something chocolate . . .

    Good point about author branding!

  3. I'm Comstock Cherry Pie Filling. From cheesecake to black forest cake, makes everything taste better.



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