All Things Author Branding and Why Every Author Needs One

The emPowered Author Podcast

A brand is more than a logo. That’s a statement branding experts stand by and business owners, thought leaders and authors seem to question. We can see a logo. We can’t touch a brand. While a logo is a visual representation of a brand, there is much, much more than meets the eye when it comes to developing a brand, especially an author brand. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Madelyn Copperwaite, a graphic design expert during Season 2 of The emPowered Author Podcast to discuss all things author brands and why they matter.

As with most things in marketing, you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, you just need to find the right people to help you get there. A brand expert can help you articulate your goals and ensure they resonate with those who need your message most. During this episode of the podcast, Madelyn and I discussed:

  • How an author brand is separate from their book; it’s an extension of their identity and they are the glue to it all.
  • The importance of developing a clear direction and understanding of an author’s values and goals to ensure that their brand speaks to it and reaches those it can help most.
  • How a brand articulates a story that evokes emotions and shapes people’s perception of the author, their book and their business.

While brands are hard to understand because they are hard to literally hold or see, they are purposeful because they create emotional connections and drive purpose. An author’s brand story should be crafted to effectively communicate the benefits and attributes of the author’s work, and Madelyn and I explore how a good brand story can be developed at any stage!

Here are some of my favorite highlights from this episode: 
  • You’ve probably heard of the word brand and know that you likely need one. But where do you start? We dive into this topic quickly in the episode. (2:06)
  • Many authors think their brand is their book cover. But author branding is much larger, and shouldn’t be overlooked. (12:14)
  • Do you know your story? Do you know that you want to tell people? Knowing that story is the beginning of your author brand. (13:51)
  • Author’s are charged with writing the story. Brand experts are in charge of overthinking the subconscious to ensure that target readers and clients feel compelled to learn more. (16:04)
  • What are the problems that your target audience is suffering from or dealing with, and how are you a solution to them? Your brand needs to speak that too. (24:57)
  • Does your current brand speak to who you are and who you help? It’s important to know who you are, but don’t think that that’s more important than who you help. (45:41)

An author brand is something we love helping authors bring to life. If you are puzzled where to start, reach out and let’s chat. Learn more about our author branding solutions and let’s see if we can help you.

Resources highlighted in the episode include the following.

  • Before any branding discussion, you should give some thought to your overarching goals and the strategies you currently have in place to achieve them. Be sure to download our Branding Brainstorm Guide to support you.
  • I had the pleasure of participating in a year-long cohort with business coach Natalie Eckdahl. She talks a lot about how just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
  • During the episode, I shared some of my favorite books and their alignment with author brands. The first book I wrote was Color Today Pretty: An Inspirational Guide to Living a Life in Perspective. When talking branding, I’ve been told that Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand is a game-changing book. Michelle Wyatt’s book, Buckle Up Buttercup, offers another example shared.
  • One of my favorite brands is Lush. I highlight the brand in this episode, and I’m a huge fan of their bath bombs! Try one out and tell me it’s not the best out there.
  • Two of my favorite fiction authors are Mitch Albom and Jodi Picoult. Each have uniquely different author brands and offered a case study during the podcast’s discussion.

Check out the other episodes in this season of The emPowered Author Podcast.

Listen on your favorite podcast platform.

Memorable Quotes from the Episode

2.1 Author Brand
2.1 Author Brand (3)
2.1 Author Brand (2)

Meet the Podcast Host and Guest

Stephanie Feger

Stephanie Feger

emPower PR Group

Stephanie Feger is passionate about helping authors make their author emPact. As the host of The emPowered Author Podcast, she has merged her love for reading books, writing books and marketing books to help authors be successful by sharing emPactful marketing strategies and tactics through the podcast. As an author herself and a seasoned book marketing expert, her goal is to ensure that authors are strategic and focused when it comes to book marketing. 

Madelyn Copperwaite

Madelyn Copperwaite

Graphic Designer

Madelyn Copperwaite is a graphic design extraordinaire and author brand expert. Her work is a blend of creative genius and focused strategy, valuable assets in the author space. While she loves developing marketing materials, she thrives in brand development. The challenge of taking a business’ vision and emPact—something that is not easy to articulate—and creating a brand identity that captures the story in a single identity is a challenge she will take on any day.

[00:00:00.490] - Stephanie Feger
So a brand is larger than a logo. When we're talking about a brand, we're really not talking about the logo. The logo just happens to be an outcome of the brand, a deliverable, one of the end results, a tagline, a business card, a website, all of those things that people can touch, that is a part of the brand identity. But your brand is bigger than that.

[00:00:21.860] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Your brand is the intangible part, the part that's the strategy that has all of your goals and everything that makes up kind of who you are and who you are as a brand.

[00:00:35.770] - Stephanie Feger
Hey, I'm Stephanie Feger, and empower is my middle name. Well, not really, but it should be. I believe that empowered people empower people, and I'm obsessed with empowering. You the nonfiction author with impactful marketing strategies to help you take your important message and share it with those who desperately need it, want it, and will buy it. I'm a gal whose life was changed. By a dream, literally. And that dream pushed me to write my first book, the book that changed everything. For me, that dream was the catalyst to help me capture a message I was passionate about. And in turn, it gifted me with the opportunity to merge my two loves my skill set for marketing, PR and communications, and my love for books, both writing them and marketing them. As the owner and chief strategist of the emPower PR Group, I help nonfiction authors with laser-focused strategy and tactics to help them write books that sell, promote their books to those who need and want them most, and build a meaningful business or a message that is empowering. Think of this as your one stop shop for marketing insights from an author who has been there, done that, and understands exactly where you are. So grab a warm beverage and a comfy blanket and get your pins ready, because I'm ready to empower you on all things author branding. This is The emPowered Author Podcast.

[00:02:06.390] - Stephanie Feger
You've probably heard of the word brand and know that you likely need one. But where do you start? What does that mean for you, the aspiring or established author? And how is that different from your book brand? All of this might make your head start to spin, and if it does, take a deep breath and rest easy because I've got you covered. In this season of The emPowered Author Podcast, it is all about author branding. And I'm joined by Madelyn Copperwaite, my talented graphic designer and brand expert, who knows branding like the back of her hand. Together, we're excited to empower you with everything you need to ensure you are telling your story the way you want your story told. And I'm talking about your brand story today.

[00:02:57.210] - Stephanie Feger
Madelyn, I am so glad that you are here and a part of the entire season two of The emPowered Author Podcast. When I sat down and started thinking about what do authors need to know next, I really went back and realized, no, what they need to know first is everything branding. So I'm so glad you're here.

[00:03:15.920] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, thanks so much for having me. Really excited to be here, and I think it's going to be really fun and to go through all this with you. So excited to be here.

[00:03:24.050] - Stephanie Feger
It's awesome. And we're also joined by my cat, aren't we? Yes. So those of you listening, if you hear a weird noise, it's probably my cat Oreo, who's decided that he wants to be a part of the episode with us.

[00:03:36.250] - Madelyn Copperwaite
He is a delight. He's going to be a big help, I'm sure.

[00:03:38.820] - Stephanie Feger
Absolutely. He has his own brand, that's for sure. I should start an Instagram handle for him @Oreo. A crazy cat. But today, actually, I'm really pumped that you're here because branding is pivotal to any author, and most authors don't even realize and consider just how important branding is. Sometimes for people, it's an afterthought that they step back and go, oh, I need that. Yeah, you do. And I have to say, I was really pumped when a mutual friend of ours connected us. I'm a big believer that things in life happen on purpose and not on purpose, for purpose and at the right time. And I remember when Jamie reached out and said, hey, I want to connect you with somebody. I want to tell my side of the story, and then you can share your side of that. So Jamie and I, she's probably my longest professional friend, more personal friends, too, but we met in my first kind of favorite job out of college, and we worked in the nonprofit world together, and then for just a short stint, but stayed friends for a long time. And a couple of months ago well, no, it wasn't that a year ago.

[00:04:55.220] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Definitely last year. Last year?

[00:04:58.000] - Stephanie Feger
Oh, my gosh.

[00:04:58.870] - Madelyn Copperwaite
It was before COVID Yeah.

[00:05:01.740] - Stephanie Feger
She sent me an email and said, Stephanie, I don't know why I need to tell you this, but there is somebody that was amazing that I worked with that I think you would love, and I do, and I'm so glad that she connected dots. What was that like on your end?

[00:05:14.770] - Madelyn Copperwaite
So it's kind of the same where Jamie said, oh, let me introduce you to this lady I know, she does PR and marketing. And I was like, okay, sounds interesting. I haven't worked with someone who works, like, directly in that field, but I'm definitely willing to give it a try. So she kind of connected us in a thread.

[00:05:34.960] - Stephanie Feger
And I remember my husband and I were talking one evening, and I was talking about a client of mine that had a specific need, and I had used other graphic designers before, but something told me, I was like, I don't really want Madelyn to tackle this. And you did. And I was blown away by the work that you provided your perspective. That really helped me start to realize, hey, Madelyn's got this going on. My favorite part is, I remember asking you, okay, Madelyn, so you can do it all, but what in the graphic world? But what's your favorite? And I'll never forget when you told me, oh, Stephanie, I love branding.

[00:06:13.070] - Madelyn Copperwaite

[00:06:16.230] - Stephanie Feger
I remember what you told me. You're like it takes a lot of work to package something so small.

[00:06:21.050] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, absolutely. And that's part of why I like it, because it's kind of like the foundation of what I do. Every aspect of design, it kind of boils down to what is the brand that we're trying to convey through whatever design we're doing. But it's kind of like that foundation that's like the first place I look for inspiration and kind of as a guideline for what we're going to do next.

[00:06:48.080] - Stephanie Feger
It's just proof, too, that there are people in the world that are overthinking things none of us know that are being overthought. And branding for sure is one of those. I mean, anybody who's listening, if you've ever gone through a branding experience yourself or a rebrand experience, there are probably times that your head is spinning because you didn't even know that you needed to think about these elements. That is why I'm a big fan and a big believer in collaborating with people who love to do these types of things, who live it, breathe it, understand it, because it makes it so much easier for our end user, the end author, the company, whomever it is that really could benefit from that branding component.

[00:07:28.070] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, absolutely.

[00:07:29.120] - Stephanie Feger
When I started to sit down and really evaluate how emPower PR Group can make a difference in the lives of many and empower other authors, I started to realize that I wanted to collaborate with people who love doing what they do and love it in the sense that it's really their zone of genius. Like, where are they experts? And that's where I thought, oh, my gosh, not only have I seen your work and play, but I know that this is something that you love and you get most jazzed about. It gets you up in the morning, it keeps you up at night. Not to have believed that you should work that way, but when it's not work, it's different.

[00:08:09.000] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, definitely. I think I'm very lucky in that I found something that I enjoy doing but that I'm also good at doing. And that's kind of the sweet spot when you're working towards your career.

[00:08:22.290] - Stephanie Feger
Absolutely. So you have to tell us, how did you get into branding? How did you figure out that graphic design and branding were kind of your favorite?

[00:08:30.620] - Madelyn Copperwaite
So I've always been, like, a creative person ever since I was really little. I've just always been, like, super crafty and creative.

[00:08:38.960] - Stephanie Feger
We would have been friends. Why didn't we meet younger?

[00:08:42.470] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Going from the finger painting to doing little crafts to kind of messing around and just, like, a word document and throwing, like, a poster or a birthday card together. I think design really works well for my interest, because not only am I creative and artistic, I like to work with technology. So I think that's like a really good kind of marriage of those two traits that I have that makes me love design so much and also be good at it.

[00:09:15.490] - Stephanie Feger
I like how what you said, because you're right. I mean, you could love to craft all day, but now you've found something where you love to do that in a way that allows you to help other people in ways that they need it. And technology isn't going away. It's just getting stronger by the moment.

[00:09:32.600] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah. To me, it's kind of like a marriage of your right brain and left brain because it's that creative, artistic side, but it's also the logic, the strategy, the analytics that they just work together, and it just works.

[00:09:45.660] - Stephanie Feger
That's awesome. Thank goodness for people like you. And see, this is why one of my favorite entrepreneurial coaches, she actually happens to be mine as well. She talks a lot. Natalie Eckdahl talks a lot about how just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. And I think a lot of people, when they think about branding, think, oh, well, I could just go create a brand. No, just because you can doesn't mean you should, because people like Madelyn are trained in this and understand it to a level that the average person won't. And quite frankly, that's what a brand is supposed to do. You're not supposed to think about it at that level. A brand is supposed to make you feel something you didn't know you needed to feel. It's like taking the conscience conscience into the subconscious. Right. Like yeah, it's that blend.

[00:10:40.500] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah. It's kind of just making people look at something the way that you want them to look at it and the way that's going to make them want to interact with it and do kind of what you want them to do.

[00:10:51.620] - Stephanie Feger
So as an author, we know that we want to sell books, and we know that we want to build businesses and create meaningful messages, but I can't imagine so my book Color Today Pretty, I have a copy sitting right here, Madelyn and I didn't do that on purpose you all if you're taking a peek into my office, you see it might look a little chaotic. Welcome to the life of an author. But, you know, when my when my graphic designer this came out before you, Madelyn, or I'd be having you do it, but when my previous graphic designer helped me with this, she came up with a couple of different colors, and it was weird because I thought all of the colors were really beautiful. And I remember my husband and I looking at just that and the book cover, and how it was my brand that didn't be related to it, and how the colors each elicited a different feeling. And I would have walked away with a very different message even if the words were the same, all because of how something is branded. And I think that that speaks volumes to what you bring to the table and how, how you can help authors, especially those who are focusing on author branding. So the next six episodes, this episode and five more, we will be diving into all things author branding. And those two words together for the person listening might be questioning author branding. Well, I know branding, but author branding, but I have a book. Is that author branding? Great question. We'll get to that. Episode six is all about that. But we're really talking about your book is its own identity. And as an author, you're bigger than your book. Your book is important, but you're bigger than your book. So we are as we sit down and talk about author branding, we're really trying to help authors think bigger. Take your step out, take a step back, think bigger and realize their brand is pivotal and their book plays into that. We're going to start not with the book. Tune in on episode six when we'll get to the book branding. Madelyn and I really believe that author branding is so important because you're not your book. Your book is an extension of you. And what this means is that you just happen to have a book that explains your message. You just happen to have something that allows you to connect with people in ways you don't know. But you are bigger than that. There are a lot of authors that don't realize the difference here. So while it might feel like it's not interconnected, it's interconnected but also independent. So we are going to start at the foundation and we're just going to start at the high level and work our way through and really discuss kind of how a brand lays the foundation. There is a book, it's called Brand Story. Have you read it yet?

[00:13:39.240] - Madelyn Copperwaite
I haven't.

[00:13:39.890] - Stephanie Feger
Oh, it's on my reading list. I can't wait to read it. But I hear beautiful things about that book because it all really boils down to your brand tells a story. And you mentioned it earlier. What is that story that you want to tell people? And I think that that goes back to, so you know your story, but do you know who you want to tell your story to? I can imagine from your perspective, when you're creating a brand identity for somebody, it's important to know the target audience.

[00:14:10.470] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, absolutely. There's always going to be things in a brand that are tailored to that audience. So you really need to have kind of a direction of who you're trying to reach and the best kind of values and goals for your brands that are going to reach that audience and be relative to them. Because they're not going to want to engage with something that they can't relate to, that they think, that's not for me, that's for someone else. So you definitely want to target them and tell your story to them in a way that's going to be both meaningful to them and that's going to be able to reach them.

[00:14:48.040] - Stephanie Feger
If you talk to anybody in the marketing field, the very first thing they're going to ask you is who's your target audience? So if you don't know your target audience, whether you're talking to someone in the marketing field or a potential publisher or a graphic designer, anywhere in between, you want to know who are you trying to reach, what do they need and want, what motivates them and inspires them, what holds them back? And how does your message become a solution to a problem that they have? All of that stuff is very important to help shape the story. And our third podcast guest for the day, Oreo, just showed up again. But how does that all interconnect? And that's why target audience is really important because the reality is a brand is something that people see in a split second. So you don't have much time to tell the story.

[00:15:35.870] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, it really has to pack a punch and it has to have a lot of thought and strategy behind it.

[00:15:42.110] - Stephanie Feger
Absolutely. And again, that's where your genius mind comes in because you told me at one point you're like, I am paid to be what did you say to overthink?

[00:15:51.720] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, that's my job. I think about the subconscious and about the little things that people instinctively recognize and it just kind of like filters into their brain when they don't even know it. That's kind of my job is to overthink the subconscious.

[00:16:08.750] - Stephanie Feger
I love that. I love that I can let you overthink that and I don't have to stress in that way.

[00:16:13.500] - Madelyn Copperwaite

[00:16:14.470] - Stephanie Feger
And I think the other thing to note too is especially authors who write stories about or write books about stories, that the story you want to tell and the story you are telling could be different. That whole mentality. Don't judge a book by its cover. Well, the reality is we all do. So any brand is like the face of the person or the organization and it tells a story. Now if that story is not congruent with the messages that you're trying to get out, you might never get that message out. So that's why, as you guys know who are listening, I'm not a believer in movement without strategies. So we always start by discussing the strategy. And I think that that is critical when we're talking about building an author brand too. So creating a brand, do you do that based on your gut, based on your intuition, based on a merge of the two, based on your personal thoughts? I really don't think so. You have to do it based on strategy. And strategy, yes, it's important to know who your target audience is. But I think as an author, it's also important to know what is your goal?What are your goals as an author? Because if you only build a brand that's connected to your book, what happens when you decide that you want to do workshops or be a life coach or anything else under the sun? You might not have thought through that in that instance. So I want to ask you a couple of questions for those who are listening, and I want you to reflect on these questions a bit and consider your answers to them. So as an author, do you know what your overarching goals are and who you're trying to reach? That's important. Where do you want to go? How do you hope that your book and its messages will impact other people? Do you hope to build a business beyond your book? And let me tell you a little insider secret. Most authors would say, no, no, I'm not trying to build a business. But the moment your book comes out, you've become an entrepreneur. You have created a business based around messages that you felt inspired to write a book about. Do you want to build a business that's built from your books messages or is it the other way around? Do you have a business that is built you up upon as a thought leader or both? So what I mean by that is, is your book leading you or are you leading your book? Either way, it could be both intersecting, but either way, that will make a difference about what your author brand could look like. Do you want to be a speaker, a coach, a consultant? Do you want to have a brick and mortar store? Have you thought through any of these things? I really think you should sit down and ask yourself that question and then ask yourself, where do you want to go and how is your brand going to help you get there? Go ahead, Madelyn.

[00:18:58.190] - Madelyn Copperwaite
So every single one of those questions is something that I always try to ask a client before we start coming about with their brand, because it's all important. It's all the strategy that goes into those brand decisions and how your brand is going to look and how it's going to reach people and how it's going to act because your brand is really something that is going to work for you, so you want to have strategy behind the work that the brand is going to do for you.

[00:19:25.860] - Stephanie Feger
Oh, I like how you said that, that your brand is going to work for you. So entrepreneur entrepreneurs out there running a business is exhausting, and it is exciting, but it can be exhausting. Why not have your business work for you and when you've done, created an author brand that is strong and built upon where you want to go it can do some of the life work, right. It can help you find the right people.

[00:19:51.470] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, absolutely.

[00:19:52.750] - Stephanie Feger
Very cool. So once you know that, once you've kind of thought through that, I think the next phase is really understanding that target audience. And I want you to go deeper. It's not so much who your target audience is. I mean, that is but start asking yourself really who it is. So my favorite always have like, an internal giggle when I ask a potential or current client, who do you want your books message and who do you want to reach? And they go, everyone and inside I'm like, oh, we got to work through that because you might have a message, you might have both that has the power to impact everyone, but if you go about it that way, you will reach no one. So it's really important to know who your target audience is. What are their demographics? Now, when I say demographics, Madelyn, what do you think from your perspective? What are the things that you would ask them to know about?

[00:20:43.300] - Madelyn Copperwaite
So kind of the key demographics is age, gender, like economic status, how much money someone has to invest in you or in your book; some of their maybe like other brands that they are loyal to or attracted to; kind of like where they live, if they live in a big city, if they live out in the country, maybe some of their beliefs, some values that are really important to them.

[00:21:11.750] - Stephanie Feger
Oh, yes. Well, I actually, in preparing for the season, did some research around that, and there was somebody that acknowledged I thought was very interesting. Do you write a message that is focused on an eco friendly approach? Well, that type of a brand, you want to speak to that without having to say that you're eco friendly or environmentally safe. But if that's your target audience, you want to make sure that your brand is going to be something they're going to go yeah before I even look at it I know.

[00:21:39.820] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah. And if you're trying to target that type of person specifically, you want to be careful not to do anything that's going to turn them away from you. You don't want to come off as someone who doesn't care about the environment or the ecosystem. We're going to come off as very friendly and welcoming and green.

[00:22:00.680] - Stephanie Feger
Yes, yes. You have to have green for that brand. But that right there is proof that it's really important to know that target audience and know what their belief systems are and their habits and what they're purchasing. Those types of questions will help you figure that out. You also want to make sure that you know how you want them to feel when they connect you. Oh, feelings... Brand to me is like all about feelings.

[00:22:25.780] - Madelyn Copperwaite
It really is. Yeah. It's all how people perceive you and not only like how they look at you, but how they feel inside when they look at you.

[00:22:34.900] - Stephanie Feger
So a little secret Easter egg. One of my favorite brands out there is Lush. Do you know Lush?

[00:22:39.790] - Madelyn Copperwaite
I do.

[00:22:41.330] - Stephanie Feger
And I just think of that chalkboard vibe that they have with their brand, and I get excited.

[00:22:47.490] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, it feels very, like, home style. Right?

[00:22:51.000] - Stephanie Feger
Like, it's the farmy, but very modern. I feel like I'm going to get stuff that's, like, clean and safe, but, like, cutting edge. I don't know. I just feel like that brand, when I talk about branding, I always talk about Lush because it's also environmentally safe, it's anti-animal cruelty, all that stuff. And that speaks in their brand. And I know that that's the other thing that's cool about that brand or other brands is I didn't realize that some of the mission that they have actually aligns with my mission. I've never thought about some of those things. That's what a brand can also do. Like, you don't realize that you feel certain ways about things until a brand almost can speak that for you.

[00:23:36.420] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Right. Yeah. It's kind of funny sometimes how affected I find myself being by a person's brand. Even though I know how it works, I know that, okay, this brand is trying to target this type of person. But then when I am that person, I kind of, like, fall into the same trap that we're trying to get everyone to fall into. Wow, that really speaks to me. And I have to kind of think, oh, yeah, because they targeted.

[00:24:04.290] - Stephanie Feger
Because they did it.

[00:24:05.200] - Madelyn Copperwaite

[00:24:05.730] - Stephanie Feger
I always giggled the same thing because I know too much about marketing and when I see an effective marketing campaign and I found that I actually purchased from it, like, oh, I know how that works. But it worked the right way because if you can get a graphic designer and a marketer to convert and we know the strategy that might we.

[00:24:25.860] - Madelyn Copperwaite
We know all the tricks that they're using.

[00:24:27.320] - Stephanie Feger
We do.

[00:24:28.630] - Madelyn Copperwaite
We still fall for it.

[00:24:30.550] - Stephanie Feger
But it's also proof that it's what I call authentic marketing. It's not a trap when it's a solution that's really what your target audience needs.

[00:24:40.160] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, absolutely. Because everyone wins. They're getting our business. They're getting us to think about their brand, but we're also getting a service or a product that we need and want.

[00:24:51.630] - Stephanie Feger
Absolutely. And that speaks to another part of target audience that I think people need to reflect on, too, is what are the problems that your target audience is suffering from or dealing with, and how are you a solution to them? Your brand needs to speak that too.

[00:25:06.160] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, I like to call that the brand promise. That's something that we promise to give you. And you say, well, you're going to give me that. I need that.

[00:25:15.050] - Stephanie Feger
Absolutely. And sometimes your target audience doesn't even realize that they have a problem until you help them realize that that was a problem.

[00:25:23.930] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah. I never thought about how my life could be so much better if I just did this instead of doing it the same old way.

[00:25:33.080] - Stephanie Feger
So I'll go back and use Lush as an example. I found Lush after my oldest was born, and I decided since I was nursing, I wanted to make sure that I became more conscious of the chemicals in my environment. And it's very weird when you become a mom, the types of things that you think about. But I remember telling my husband, I would just like to find a skincare line that isn't used to clean off battery acid issues in your car. Some of them can, let's just say that. So I'm like, I want something that feels like good. And when I found Lush, I'm like, I didn't know that I was looking for things that were as little to none in regards to unnecessary chemicals and things. I didn't know that I was looking for that. But that was a problem, that was what I was doing and they became a solution for me for those products. So it's just proof that when you know your target audience, you can start speaking to them and help them realize, oh my, yes, that is why I'm looking for this. And that increases brand loyalty.

[00:26:34.340] - Madelyn Copperwaite
That's the problem I didn't know that I had.

[00:26:36.450] - Stephanie Feger
Yeah, absolutely. So when you think about your business and how the brand aligns to your business, you also need to think the specifics of your business. So we mentioned that a little bit earlier, but I also want you to think about that at this point. So you've given some thought to just your overall business strategy. Then you thought about your target audience, but now I want you to think about the outcomes of your business, right? So what are you going to do with your business? Are you going to offer products? Well, if you're an author, you have a book that's a product. Are you going to offer workshops or speaking engagements or whatever? I bring that up because as you're building your brand, you might not even realize your logo might need different layouts, might need sub tags or what do you call those little extras? They might want something with an icon that allows you to have mix the icon up based on what you're doing. That is just important to also be aware. Where do you want your business to go? Because your brand should be interconnected.

[00:27:35.420] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, it's kind of like I think of it as you want to grab people's attention, but you also want to have somewhere to send them something that you want them to do. If you have all those specific things laid out that I want them to buy this, I want them to visit this place, I want them to come to somewhere that I'm speaking. That really helps in developing the brand because, you know, kind of your end goal and where you want people to end up.

[00:28:01.180] - Stephanie Feger
Absolutely. So I think of the emPower PR Group brand. When I designed that brand, I knew that there would be extensions, so I wanted to create it in a way where I could. And so the Empowered Author has that brand. There are other kind of subsets of my brand and that all was methodical. And that's what you should do in the beginning. So you make sure that you're creating something that's going to work for you. Oh, I loved when you said that. Please let something work for me and not against me. But before we go too deep, and we'll go deep in the next five episodes of this season of The emPowered Author Podcast. But before we go even deeper in branding, I want to really acknowledge and touch on the essence of your brand. So a brand is larger than a logo. When we're talking about a brand, we're really not talking about the logo. The logo just happens to be an outcome of the brand, a deliverable, one of the end results, a tagline, a business card, a website, all of those things that people can touch, that is a part of the brand identity. But your brand is bigger than that.

[00:29:02.990] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, your brand is the intangible part, the part that's the strategy that has all of your goals and everything that makes up kind of who you are and who you are as a brand.

[00:29:14.630] - Stephanie Feger
And as an entrepreneur, who you are as a person too, because you might not realize that you are a brand. You are a brand. We all are a brand. And how do you want people to feel when they engage with you and the types of work that you're doing? So, according to Wikipedia, a brand in essence is a promise to its customers of what they can expect from products and may include emotional as well as functional benefits. So we're going to dissect that for a minute because who knows what that means. But I love what you just said earlier, too, that it's a promise. It is a promise. And the thing that you also want to do, and that's why we kind of walked you through the foundation, is how do you deliver on that promise? I'm a big believer in under promising and over delivering, just in general, in life, in business and as a brand. I think that that's a smart strategy, too. How can you promise something that you can absolutely always deliver on? When you do that, I think you're building a loyalty, you're increasing your awareness, and then word of mouth marketing happens and people fall in love with your brand. But I want to take apart a little bit different aspects of a brand. So we talk about, and this is important in the process of creating one, we talk about attributes. These are a set of labels in which the company, the organization wishes to be associated with. What do you think, like when we're talking about attributes, what are some things that come to your mind about that?

[00:30:39.000] - Madelyn Copperwaite
A lot of it is kind of I use something called word brainstorming, where I think of words that relate to the brand and words that describe the brand. So that could be if your brand is going to be more trustworthy and stable, or if it's going to be more high energy adventurous, or if it's going to be something that is more home based or if it's like big city type thing. It's kind of like words that describe your brand and the feel of your brand and how your brand wants to be seen.

[00:31:15.580] - Stephanie Feger
I like that because when you think about until you dive in and do this more and more, you might not even know that there are these attributes. Just last week I was recording a video for the emPower PR Group and I didn't realize specific attributes with my own brand. I said I want it to be bright because I feel like that's an energy that I bring to the table. And I didn't even think about that until I started saying, oh yes, please have one a lot of natural light and the music that we select. I want the music to have energy and excitement, but be forward, like moving forward. And that's, again, very much in essence of a brand. Those are all attributes, all attributes. So the more that you learn about your target audience and your business goals, the more you can start kind of articulating what that looks like. Now, let's talk benefits for a minute. Brands have benefits and these are the attributes that must be communicated through the benefits. So this is really that emotional kind of translation. Anything come to your mind about the benefits of a brand?

[00:32:17.390] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Empower PR? Definitely. Because people feel empowered. So that's a benefit.

[00:32:24.710] - Stephanie Feger
Absolutely, yes. I think this kind of goes to how are you a solution to someone's problem? How can they benefit from what you bring to the table?

[00:32:35.190] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah. How are you going to add to their life? How are you going to make their life better or solve a problem that they're dealing with?

[00:32:42.120] - Stephanie Feger
I had someone recently talk about the importance of a transformational experience that you give people. So most people want to invest in companies or people or organizations that give them a transformative experience. It's not so much about the product, the product is great, but what is the benefit that they're going to walk away from? So for some people, like authors I've worked with that focus on, I've got one that focuses on change management. Love this particular author. Shout out to Michelle Wyatt and her book is Buckle Up Buttercup. But I love her book because it focuses on the importance of change management in life. She went through her own personal changes in regards to her career and some shifts in life there, but what she's done is she's giving people what they need to be able to navigate the next change that come around. That's a benefit. That's something that people would love. And when she thinks about her author brand, that's something that she wants to embrace. And you want them to walk away from that brand feeling like, oh, I feel now kind of empowered again, I can move forward.

[00:33:48.350] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah. The way I think about benefits is often I kind of combine elements of the physical benefits. So maybe you have a product, maybe like, for example, like a bar of soap. It's kind of a bar of soap. It's going to make you clean, it's going to make you smell good. But what are like the emotional benefits? So the clean smell good, those are physical benefits. But then what's the emotional benefit of this? Is it going to make you feel fresh, like you're running through a flower field. So that's kind of the emotional benefit versus a more tangible benefit.

[00:34:24.010] - Stephanie Feger
I appreciate you walking through that. And now I want to go take a shower with a bar of soap that makes me want to run through flower fields. But really, I mean, you're right, that type of a benefit is something, again, that your individual out there listening to the podcast, even myself, I'm not thinking through that. And that is why it's so important to collaborate with someone who understands and knows and breathes this to help you on that journey. Also, when you break down a brand, we're also talking about brand values. So a brand's identity may also include branding to focus on representing its core set of values and that really will attract people who will align accordingly. So I think back to like Lush what we were talking about or the eco-friendly kind of stuff that speaks to the brand's mission, but also to the person's personal mission. Would you agree?

[00:35:13.190] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, I think targeted people who have similar values, maybe they value being eco-friendly, maybe they value confidence, maybe they value success. There's always different sets of values that people can kind of hold close to them. And if your values align with theirs, they're going to be a lot more open to working with you. They're going to feel like they align with what you're trying to do and what your values are.

[00:35:45.820] - Stephanie Feger
People want to interact with people that are in agreement and congruent with how they see life. They might be open to a little bit of push in different ways, but really you want to align missions. And if you can create your brand to speak to your target audience's mission, it's easier to get them to make the decision to collaborate with you. It's not a hard sell because they already want to. They're already in alignment. So the last part of a brand that I want to touch on is the brand's personality. This one's fun to me. This is probably where when you think of the crafting side of your brain, you probably get really excited because you get to bring to life that personality, the thing that really differentiates one brand from another. Like two brands might have the same goal, but it's the personality that's going to keep them, that's going to differentiate and make them unique. Like, I'm thinking even we'll get to fonts and colors and all that stuff, but that almost is what to me brings the personality.

[00:36:44.490] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, it really does. The difference between something that looks more calm and more soothing and something that looks more high energy. It's more like going. So I think that's the difference for me. And personality often comes from the visual.

[00:37:04.630] - Stephanie Feger
Yes. I actually have a friend who's rebranding right now and she shared a couple of different brands or a couple of different logos for a group that I'm a part of to weigh in on. And I love the mix of script font with block font for her particular brand. And she then had her graphic designer create like 20 other options. You all sometimes too many ideas and too many options are overkill, right. And it overwhelms you. But I loved this perfect blend because I felt like it brought her energy and personality to life. So it's nice that people who know you and also know where you're wanting to go. It's also nice when you're kind of working on bringing your brand to life to include them, to be part of the journey because they might know things about you or connect with you in ways that you haven't even thought of.

[00:37:53.110] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah. And it kind of helps you to go beyond kind of what you're stuck in and have some outside perspectives. Okay, well, this might be how you see your brand, but this is kind of how I see your brand too, and maybe a little different. Gives you that outside perspective.

[00:38:06.640] - Stephanie Feger
There's power in collaboration, and I think branding is a prime example of that. Absolutely. So when we talk about the elements of brand, we also want to discuss brand awareness. And I think that's where when you talked about a good brand will work for you. So as we're chatting about brand right now, think about a couple of brands that are just look around your house or look around your car or wherever you are, you're going to see some brands that are going to pop to your mind and it's going to make you think of other things, right. That is this brand recall and this brand awareness that you have and that will allow the brand to work for you. So think about like a pair of shoes. If you might be a brand loyalist, you don't care what another shoe is, but if you know it's the type of shoe that you're used to, well, you know you're going to get comfort and it's going to help you walk the way you want. And maybe it has arch support like you're interested in and maybe you know that the colors always look well with everything. That awareness makes you actually more up to purchase quicker because you know what that brand's emission is and how it aligns with your values and your needs without you having to spend a lot of time researching it.

[00:39:18.580] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Right? Yeah, and I think that to me, I can relate to that. With skin care, with certain brands that I've used a couple of their products before and maybe they'll have a different type of product, I think, okay, well, these products from this brand were really good. I really liked them. So maybe I'll try this type of product that maybe I haven't used before, but I believe that it's going to have that same promise that these other products did because it's the same brand. I trust this brand, so I'm going to trust them on this new product that I haven't tried before.

[00:39:50.520] - Stephanie Feger
I love that, and I actually agree with that in the author space, too. So I have a couple of authors from a fiction side that I follow. Like, I don't really care what they write about. I know that it is going to be exactly what I need. Right. So two of my favorites are Mitch Albom and Jodi Picoult. Those are just like, two of my most favorite authors ever. And one of them speaks to kind of like the spiritual side of my life that when I need a tissue, when I need to cry and I just need tissues around me, like, I know he's going to give me that cathartic release. Mitch Albom is amazing. Have you ever read any of this stuff?

[00:40:24.630] - Madelyn Copperwaite

[00:40:25.320] - Stephanie Feger
Madelyn, we will convert you. And then Jodi Picoult, I love her books, and she's written a gazillion of them because she really talks about issues that have some controversy in our community, but sheds light on so many perspectives of it that I always walk away feeling like I'm a better, more informed person. So, interestingly enough, each of them have written multiple books, and in their line of work, being as an entrepreneur, they're in the business of creating lots of books. But their brand promise and their brand awareness is at a point where I just looked the other day and Mitch Albom has another book coming out. I don't even care what it's about, I'm going to buy it. Right. That's what we want. We want people to say, I don't even care what Stephanie is over here selling or what Stephanie's new book is. I know what she's going to provide and I want it.

[00:41:16.660] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, I find that a lot with musical artists. If I follow an artist and I've liked all their previous stuff, and they come out with a new song, instantly add it to my playlist, and then I'll listen to it afterwards. But I just know that it's going to be the type of music I like. It's going to be that kind of same energy that I enjoy listening to.

[00:41:37.020] - Stephanie Feger
Yeah. And that's what you want. That's when your brand is working for you, and that's where brand integrity comes in. Right. Many of those people don't recreate the wheel every time something comes out. Instead, they're consistent in their messaging, in their visual look and appeal, and that's brand integrity.

[00:41:57.910] - Madelyn Copperwaite
If you know what works for you and you know what's good, you know what people respond to and people keep coming back to you for, then you need to stick with that and let your brand work for you. Like you said, don't try to keep reinventing the wheel. Kind of stick with what is good, what works for you.

[00:42:17.630] - Stephanie Feger
Yeah. And that actually will save you money so you don't have to go out and you have something new coming up and, oh, I need to create something. No. If you've done your author brand right, then it will be ready. It is ready to work for you, and it will be a cost savings if you get it right the first time. Now, rest assured, if you have multiple books out there and you're just now realizing, oh, my gosh, I need an author brand, that's okay, because we can still create that for you. If you feel like you've missed the mark, it's okay. We can go back and we can help you evolve your story. Because let's be real, many times we don't know where we want to go until we get there, and then we realize, oh, my gosh, it's okay, you can start there and then package everything into it.

[00:43:03.850] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah. It's never too late to have a good brand story.

[00:43:06.600] - Stephanie Feger
No, it is not. Absolutely. So when we talk about the brand and the big picture, the next couple of episodes, we'll start breaking it apart, specifically. But how a brand is articulated and made tangible is through what's your company name or your author brand name, your logo. I think most people think a brand is a logo.

[00:43:26.970] - Madelyn Copperwaite
It's not. A logo is part of the brand. It's kind of the most common element that you're going to see visually from the brand. But that's not just what your brand is. Your brand is it's bigger. It's much bigger than your logo.

[00:43:42.000] - Stephanie Feger
It's like the Internet. We can't touch the Internet. Right. But we just use Google Chrome as a way to get to it. Right. So the same thing, it's something that is so big and hard to put into words, but it creates a feeling and experience. It just so happens that your company name, your logo, your tagline, any graphics or icons, shapes, colors, sound, sense, what you taste, the movement, all of these things are how the brand is brought to life.

[00:44:09.630] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yeah, so the brand elements make the intangible brand tangible. So it's the visual elements of your intangible brand.

[00:44:19.490] - Stephanie Feger
Fantastic. Oh, my gosh. We have talked through a lot of stuff. I want those authors out there who are listening, I want you to take a moment and pause, and I've got a couple more questions that I want to leave you with. So I want you to consider this. What are your goals as an author, and how does your book and your business vision align? If they don't, let's schedule a free 15 minutes chat, and I can guarantee you that they do. You just might not know it yet. Who is your target audience? What problems are they facing, and how can you help? Being a solution to someone's problem is the best way to get them to take action. How do you want people to feel when they interact with you? Like, truly, how do you want them to feel? I actually think that's more important than what do you want them to buy? Because if you can connect with someone on the level of depth of a feeling, they're going to want to take action and work with you anyways. Is your current brand pulling out the types of people that you want to be collaborating with or connecting with? I love that question, because if you look around and you know where you want to go, but you just so happen to see the people that you are collaborating with right now. And if that doesn't align, I would rest assured that your brand probably isn't speaking to the people you want to be speaking to. And then my last question is, does your current brand speak to who you are and who you help? And I say who you are and who you help. It's important to know who you are, but don't think that that's more important than who you help. I actually think they're interconnected and one and the same because they're almost equal to ensure that you reach the right person. All right, Madelyn, many people think that a brand is a tangible thing, but just like what you said, it is so intangible. And I think many authors also think that a brand is their book, and that just isn't the case. The truth is that brands are anything but tangible. The brands are what creates these emotional feelings, this connection, this drive to purpose or to engage with you in those first few seconds. Remember what you said you were in the business of overthinking. Let somebody else do the overthinking, because you only have a couple of seconds. Our world is chaotic and noisy in the brand world, so use that opportunity to really leave a punch and to do it in the right way. Your brand is bigger than your book. Let me say that again, your brand is bigger than your book. It's even bigger than you, quite frankly, and it's definitely bigger than a logo. So when Madelyn and I started to collaborate together, she said what I've been telling you along the way, that it is her job to overthink things. And, Madelyn, I am so thankful that you have fun overthinking it, because you really help people bring to life something that they don't even know that they need or how they need it. Seriously, you are passionate about thinking through things that most people would never consider. You're a genius. And working in this space that is the subconscious, and for many, that's where a brand is meant to do its heavy lifting. So I feel like I have to just say thank you, and I'm so honored that Jamie connected us, because it has opened even my eyes to what a brand can really do. Thank you for joining today on this episode.

[00:47:40.350] - Madelyn Copperwaite
Yes, thank you so much for having me. I've really enjoyed discussing all this and looking forward to all the next episodes.

[00:47:46.110] - Stephanie Feger
Are you ready? Because we are going to go deep. We are going to go deep over the next five episodes. In this season, we're going to dive into the subconscious a bit, and we're going to really dissect all that goes into developing an amazing brand. And we're talking author brands.

[00:48:05.530] - Stephanie Feger
Who knew that there was so much that went into developing a brand? We all experience brands daily. It's a part of why we choose to eat what we do, and where we opt to shop. It's the determining factor on what we deem as quality or if we feel like a business is in alignment with our value systems. Brands are critically important, and yet I see time and time again that authors don't realize that their brands matter too. This episode of season two of The emPowered Author Podcast is meant to lay the groundwork for our deep dive discussion on author brands and everything that goes into building a meaningful one. Personally, for you. Over the course of the next few episodes, Madelyn and I will be focusing on how to bring a brand to life. No, we aren't like the scientists that built Frankenstein, but we do pull together insights from various places with various purposes to make something that is special, unique, differentiated, and that's a perfect blend of who you are, where you want to go, and who you want to engage with along the way.

[00:49:15.890] - Stephanie Feger
Think you are ready for an author brand now? Or maybe you already have one that you are realizing may not help you accomplish the goals you seek or inspire the people that you want to engage with. Branding is strategic, it's methodical, and it is full of purpose. It can be what helps you get from here to there, from your vision to your deliverables, from seeing a problem to becoming a solution. If you are a nonfiction author who is interested in creating an author brand or refreshing your current one, the emPower PR Group can help. I invite you to visit for more information on how Madelyn and myself can help you bring your brand to life. We have various package offerings that can support you where you are and how you need us. And we have a freebie just for you download our Branding Brainstorm Guide which will help you be able to articulate your vision for your brand, your book and your business so that you are ready to work with a team to bring it to life. And if we can be that team for you, we'd love to. We are ready to empower you in the creation of your author brand. Are you ready? Remember empowered people empower people. I have empowered you. Now with your brand in hand, it's your turn to empower others.

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