While at WordCamp Atlanta (#wcatl) I heard Sara Cannon speak about branding. She referred to the branding by Best Made Company, and axe maker with a stunning website. Yeah, they make axes, and their website is beautiful. Check it out at http://www.bestmadeco.com.
When I see something like this it reinforces my belief that any product – and, in fact, every product – can have good branding.
Publishers are in a difficult situation these days. Many authors are self-publishing. Books are available digitally, to be read on a Kindle (or similar device). Websites like lulu and Scribd make it possible to avoid publishing altogether. Advertising is expensive. How to promote a book?
I was pleased to see Delacorte Press launch a simple and elegant promotion. This promo involves passionate fans, builds loyalty and costs very little. Here is the original post from Diana Gabaldon’s website:My publisher asked me to post this message: If you’re here, you’re an Outlander fan. The seventh book in the series, An Echo in the Bone, is coming out 9/22/09 (really!!). Help us spread the word about this amazing series with FREE copies of Outlander. We all know it’s a book that you tell everyone they have to read, so let’s get more people reading it! And it’s Outlander as you’ve never seen it before—with a cover just for the uninitiated. Here’s how it works: We’ll randomly select 100 winners from those who fill out an entry form on or before 7/31/09. Each winner will be sent a carton with 24 copies of Outlander. Your mission is to give them away for free: to your friends, family, colleagues, the people you see at the gym, the bus stop, the supermarket. You get it. Hand them one. You know you’ll be giving them an amazing novel, and people love to get free books.
So, the publisher will send 2,400 books out to 100 highly engaged fans – and those fans will have the pleasure of sharing a book that they love with 24 people who are unfamiliar with the series. Making your customers feel like heroes is a great way to engage and build loyalty.
This campaign will be highly successful, I predict. Props to Delacorte for keeping it simple.
The days of cartoon-ish clip art are over. The trend in slide presentations is photos. That is, high quality, legal, royalty-free photos. You can find them by searching the web using these key phrases: creative commons, free photos, wikimedia commons.
Here are a few sources I found for photos and images:
The Morgue File Free images for your inspiration, reference and use in your creative work.
EveryStockPhoto.com – Indexes over a million Creative Commons photos for your use.
Wikimedia Commons – The central clearing area for the Wikimedia projects CC files.
Flickr Creative Commons search – Search Flickr for all the derivatives of the Creative Commons licensing.
PhotoEverywhere.co.uk – A travel & tourism photo site offering photography for everyone’s use.
TravellersPoint.com – A wiki for travellers with a large collection of CC licensed travel photography.
A meal at Oak Street Cafe will not be cheapest in Roswell (that honor probably belongs to Rhea’s) nor the most expensive (Pastis? Rice? I’m not sure).
But it might be the best meal in Roswell.
I believe in eating at independent restaurants over chains or franchises.
I’ve been eating at Oak Street for about four years now.
Oak Street Cafe is owned by Joe and Kim. I’ve never had a bad meal, which is good recommendation, right? But I’ve never had a mediocre meal at Oak Street Cafe, either. Which is why I keep going back.
The menu is small, which I prefer to having a gazillion choices to sort through. And the menu evolves over time, as Joe tries new dishes.The atmosphere is calming, and not snooty. The service is consistently good.
Every time I walk out of there I feel satisfied and pleasantly full. I never feel like I paid too much – quality food is worth the price, because it’s good for body and soul.
This is why Oak Street Cafe is great, I think: They keep it simple and focus on quality food and a quality experience.
Kim and Joe do very little marketing. They have a website. They tweet the daily specials. It’s all word of mouth that grows their business…and the word is good.
The simplest marketing strategy of all: have a consistently great product.
P.S. Sometimes Joe’s aunt will bake a cake, and they’ll sell it by the slice at the counter. Buy a slice. Trust me.