An Opportunity for Cutting and Sticking - Cecilia Peartree

Some time last week I made an alarming discovery at my day job. Back in the mists of time, I vaguely remember taking part in a re-branding workshop. This was a morning of activities which ranged from the pointless to the excruciatingly boring, aimed at crowd-sourcing an updated brand for the organisation. I don't recall any definite conclusions emerging from this particular workshop, but there was some cutting out and sticking involved, which most colleagues seemed to enjoy. It made a change from sitting at a computer, I suppose. I remember as well being very impressed by the venue, which was one of these hot-desking places where people who don't have their own office can come in and use a desk space. Personally I hate hot-desking at work, because I never have all the software I need on a different machine, or the stock of paper-clips, treasury tags and emergency snacks in the top drawer of a different desk. But as a writer I am quite happy with the idea and have hot-desked in the waiting area at Kwikfit and on various trains before now.

Last week's alarming discovery, which I made during one of my intermittent visits to the announcements page on the corporate intranet, was that there was still more work to do on the re-branding exercise, something I had fondly imagined was over and done with ages ago. So any day now we will be summoned to another workshop to share our generally worthless opinions about things that seem completely irrelevant to us.

It struck me, even as a colleague and I bemoaned this news and wondered how many more meetings and workshops it might spawn, that the local voluntary organisation of which I am now the secretary, having cycled through various committee roles over quite a number of years, could probably do with a bit of re-branding.

Slightly to my surprise, we've got off to a good start by commissioning a new logo and even agreeing to adopt it.
However the chances of getting the committee members along to a session of cutting, sticking, mind-mapping, bonding and thinking up silly acronyms are about as high as the Scottish football team's hopes of getting into the next World Cup final. Not only that, but in a bizarre reversal of rôles I seem to be the only person who thinks it's at all important. At committee meetings we have to plough through staffing issues, the minutiae of running a shop (we have a charity shop on our premises to raise money), the failures of our many and varied funding applications, and a random sample of local issues before we get to anything to do with our public and online presence.

I think self-publishing has raised my consciousness about branding a bit, although obviously not enough for me to make it a priority at my day job, where in any case there's a whole department to sort out that kind of thing. At some point during the production of my lengthy mystery series, probably around book 6 as I was quite a slow learner, I realised it would be easier for potential readers to find books in the series if there was something similar about the covers. I've now progressed a little, I think, beyond the point where the first in the series appeared on a 'lousy book covers' website, so I will risk including here the cover for the 16th in the series, published as an ebook the other day.

Just after I had drafted this post, I noticed a very good article by Wendy Jones on the More Than Writers blog which went into a good bit more detail about book branding, so for more focus and much less rambling have a look over there: Wendy's post on book branding


Umberto Tosi said…
I've struggled with this for a while now, realizing that my "brand" is all over the place - too much like my eclectic tendencies. Needs focus. Like you, I've worked on commercial rebranding campaigns, but need to apply the techniques more to my own works, especially indie books. Thanks. I look forward to reading Wendy's post too.

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