It’s a sort of truth universally acknowledged that, with a few exceptions (Penguin, for example), consumers (which is shorthand for bookbuyers, readers and the parents of readers when we’re talking about children’s books), don’t recognise trade publisher brands (as opposed to academic or educational publisher brands, whose consumers do have more publisher brand loyalty). Instead, consumers care about authors and illustrators and their names and visual identities are what matter.
But this way of thinking was particularly relevant to an environment where books were sold in real bricks-and-mortar shops. Today, when increasing numbers of print books are sold digitally, and when, increasingly, publishers’ products themselves are digital (ebooks and apps, for example) the question of the publisher’s brand comes under new scrutiny. It seems to me that it is increasingly important that a publisher’s brand does need to have meaning now. As the route to self-publishing becomes ever easier, part of what a publisher must be able to offer authors and illustrators is an association with clearly articulated brand values, and the ability to communicate those brand values to consumers, to build communities of readers, and to find and foster advocates for the list.
Jeff Norton mentions this in this guest blog post for Achuka today.
So, one year into our publishing journey, I was interested to find this tweet from @anne_jackson:
“Glad I did come home. Orla told me she’d been waiting for me. We read Pip & Posy: The Scary Monster. She recognised @NosyCrow. Sleeping now.”
Anne, who I don’t know, describes herself on Twitter as the “mum of one funny little girl” who “loves bread, science and football”. She lives in Scotland.
Via Twitter, I asked for the story behind the tweet, and she emailed me and gave me permission to use this in a blog post:
“We recently bought Nosy Crow’s Three Little Pigs app for our daughter, Orla, aged three-and-a-half. Three Little Pigs is her favourite story and she absolutely loves the app, especially touches like the Big Bad Wolf lurking outside the Little Pigs’ living room window! Even a technologically-adept child like Orla still loves books though, and we make regular trips to the library. She’s very insistent on choosing her own books. On our last trip she chose Pip and Posy: The Scary Monster. Being a huge Gruffalo fan, she was probably first drawn to it by Axel Scheffler’s illustrations; however when she picked it up and opened it she saw the Nosy Crow logo on the first page. “Look Mum, the Three Little Pigs”, she said. With that, she handed me the book and continued her search, satisfied that Nosy Crow was guaranteeing her a good story. Thanks Nosy Crow!”
The picture at the top of this blog post is of Orla with iPad and with a book.
It’s exciting to think that after only a year of publishing we are starting to have a brand that is recognised by the people who matter – children and their parents.