About Branding

In response to my comment yesterday about writers “building a platform,” my wife, Mary, sent me a gem that had popped up on her Facebook page.

Washington Post columnist, Gene Weingarten wrote a hilarious and scathing article called, “How ‘branding’ is ruining journalism:”  http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/2011/06/07/AGBegthH_story.html

A journalism student had written to Weingarten, as part of her thesis research, asking how he built his brand.  His reply was short and to the point:  The best way to build a brand is to take a three-foot length of malleable iron and get one end red-hot. Then, apply it vigorously to the buttocks of the instructor who gave you this question. You want a nice, meaty sizzle.

The conditions that Weingarten describes in journalism – a financially-driven battle for “eyeballs” – affects traditional publishing as well, where writers are urged to “market themselves like Cheez Doodles.”  He cites Snooki as an example of publicity run amok.

Read it and weep.  Or better yet, read it and laugh.  Sometimes the two responses are not so far apart!