Branding… What a Concept

What Type of Creative Eye Will See Things Your Way?

Creativity is an elusive thing. It can help you visualize a concept for…let’s say… your business branding “look”, and can convey the type of style you embrace. Style, logos and sales materials, color concepts, tone, consistency and ethical business practices are all part of your branding. Not just one of these will brand your business.

The word “branding” can be just as elusive for new businesses trying to compete with established companies as older companies with track records. But if you have an idea that will tie all your marketing plans and branding styles into one cohesive package, then you are on the way to a successful launch.

Learning the Ropes

Creativity takes center stage when conceptualizing these specific parts. If you don’t have a solid idea or don’t work with a creative person who can understand your ideas, how successful will you be? It takes a bit of time to find a creative writer and designer who sees your vision for your business. Most copywriters have those qualities — some better than others, some as green as a young sapling, but — willing to work with you to learn the ropes.

The toughest part of establishing a working partnership with a creative designer, copywriter, graphic artist, or marketing planner, is the ability for you to get him or her to “see” your vision. That takes your ability to a new level: sharing your passion for your idea to make it into the complete package that will elevate your product or company to the heights you envision.

Sound lofty?

Not so much. A good working relationship with a creative designer/writer can eliminate those awkward moments when you know he can’t “see” what you’re trying to “say.” It may take some searching to find a person of that caliber who can quickly assess your needs, swing right into the fray, and basically clone your ideas into a working concept you will both enjoy creating.

The working relationship is prime to the equation. You need to explain your detailed dreams in a manner that helps the designer/writer conceptualize it. In turn, he needs to share the ideas he believes are what you are looking for, and be willing to be wrong. Being wrong allows him to back-step and take another approach. If after the dance of two-steps-forward-and-one-step-back is finished, you can both move ahead to the framework of your designs. Being wrong can sometimes derail the whole relationship. To get on track the idea he envisions must be viewed from several different angles before you can both agree.

Concept vs. Reality

  • Is the concept workable?
  • Does the idea represent what the company is?
  • Do outside influences mask the branding idea you envisioned?
  • How about the cost?
  • Too much for a start-up idea?
  • Does your designer/writer see other elements you may have missed?
  • Can you streamline your ideas and add more later?
  • Are both of your egos to big to play together?

It happens.

At the crossroads of your creative vision, check off the different elements as you discuss the problems that are popping up. Can you see a compromise? Is the compromise going to undermine everything so for? If not, then you are on to a rich and satisfying journey of discovery with your partner and mentor in your branding development. On the other hand, can he offer ideas you missed or never really considered? And that’s what it is: branding development. It will emerge and change and eventually become that elusive thing you wanted.

These concepts also apply to any small project, let’s say, an author planning to self-publish. Your book has just as much potential to be picked up by a consumer if it has the packaging that attracts attention and branding that helps them return for more.

Rusty LaGrange

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Writing Isn’t Easy For Most People

The Writing Life is solitary at times
The Writing Life is solitary at times

Writing isn’t easy. Not the way writers work to perfect their craft.

How many times have I heard: “I should write a book.” Or after someone read a book that didn’t satisfy them, they blurt out: “Aw, no way. I could write a better story than this.”


“It’s only when it comes to writing that eBook or blog post that it becomes apparent,” says Denise Mooney writing for Copywriters Collective, “that writing to engage, influence, or inspire a group of people is not always an easy thing to do, no matter how great your ideas are.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” she continues. “Writing can be fun, satisfying and rewarding. But easy? Not so much. Remember that the first draft is never that great. Good writing has nothing to do with flowery adjectives. Always rely on verbs to give your writing impact, not adverbs, and certainly not adjectives.”

Did I mention verbs, metaphors, and tight writing? Can’t repeat them enough. Verbs are the motivation tools in your “toolkit sentence,” while metaphors add the insight to help make a point stick — like duct tape in your toolkit. Keeping it tight means reducing the urge to buy every tool imaginable to cram into your toolkit sentence. Those sticky sweet adjectives and clumsy adverbs should only be used sparingly.

A good writer knows that writing tight makes the reader move faster through the story, gives a control of fast and slow pace for an enjoyable read, and marks the author as a name to remember in their future book list.


I’m choosing this example to prove the need for verbs, metaphors, and tight writing: “… a long dark patch of life like a mile of black ice waiting for me up ahead.” Junot Diaz, novel author.

A good writer is a researcher, creator, merciless editor, task-master, as well as the person who hands out compliments to him or herself for a job well done, and meeting a deadline. Then that good writer takes the manuscript to an editor who refines the process by suggesting changes in content, structure, spelling, and grammar.

Sitting down and working the keyboard is only part of writing. Coming up with the story’s structure, the character’s arc, subplots to strengthen the storyline’s climactic ending, and of course, memorable character’s is a long process.

Do you  often wonder why you got yourself into this all-encompassing world of word creation? Was it some early inkling or obsession to write?


Does the writing obsession start early?
Does the writing obsession start early?

You’ve survived the creative process, and now own a manuscript. Once completed, it can go off in several directions — do you self-publish to control all the revenue that may come? Do you pursue an agent who will get your book read and possibly picked up by a publisher in the traditional way? Or will it sit in your computer like the thousands of photos you have yet to print out?


You’re the writer. You have the ultimate control. And even though you thought it would be easy to write your book, in reality, it isn’t over until you hit the Send key.





Is There a Writer in You?

It’s like, everyone who wants to be an actor goes to Hollywood.

But what if you want to be a writer? Well, you can go to Hollywood, too. But that’s usually scriptwriters. There’s probably more scriptwriters hoping for the big break than there are actors.

So where does a writer go to learn the ropes and get noticed?

 Not sure.


Figure Out the Basics First

 Writing opportunities are everywhere and cyberspace is full of them. If you wish to be a writer, it’s currently easier than ever before. However, I do know that you first have to figure out if there is a writer in you.

  • · Did you start early in school being that kid who always had a pen and notebook ready? I started writing poetry at about age 9. Wrote for my high school paper.
  • · Do you visualize your story in video format while you’re sleeping or with your eyes shut? Can you rewind the scene in your mind, at will, and describe what you’re seeing?
  • · Do you have late night conversations with story characters who refuse to let you sleep until you write their tales on paper? There’s a fine line between writing and insanity.
  • · Have you talked yourself out of the idea? Knowing full well that, if you just sat down and started the book, it would all flood out?
  • · Have you “studied” the craft of writing but didn’t think there was a quality book in you? Maybe you’re setting your sights too high?
  • · Is your advancing age making you believe that you better get that book on paper before it’s too late?
  • · Or, are you a “late bloomer” and never even considered writing a book until just lately… for whatever personal reason?

If any of these markers look familiar to you, then I’m pretty sure there is a writer in you.


The hard part is making the Muse respond to you. The Muse is that mystical entity that allows you the freedom to write without restriction. It’s the unbound creativity we all have tucked away somewhere inside. The Muse wakes you up in the middle of the night and demands to be heard.

 I’ve fought the Muse at 2 a.m. and found myself sitting at the computer pounding on the keys like a madman. And creating a pretty dang good story concept. The Muse can run rampant in your brain and make you start a dozen story ideas, then leave you exhausted.

Taming Your Muse

 The hard part is taming your muse to work with you.

 That comes with using writing exercises to help focus your talent on one idea at a time. Getting that rough draft or outline on paper is a partnership with the Muse. Defining that partnership will become the temperament you’ll need to continue a long novel, write a nice piece of poetry, or create that children’s book you’ve caressed in your heart. If the Muse is tamed you’ll become the writer that produces regular, quality work. You’ll let the Muse have some fun and give you new exciting ideas. You’ll also need to be patient when the Muse abandons you in front of a blank computer screen.

Source: via Jolene on Pinterest

  All in all, there is a writer in you clawing its way to the surface. Now draw it out and start with the first four steps:

  • · Say out loud: “I am a writer.”
  • · Make a list of your story’s main characters and their traits. (You can refresh your mind later) I like to use index cards to keep my characters descriptions and goals in mind.
  • · Be consistent with your writing time or you’ll become frustrated.
  • · Begin writing down your story idea in a list of plot ideas, an outline, or just start the first scene from your mind. Don’t worry about how it looks. Don’t be a perfectionist yet.

Your Bonus Step

And, the bonus “step”: share your writing with others who you can trust to give you good feedback. Read some of your excerpts to a friend, join a writing support group like California Writers Club. I’m sure there’s a writing club near you. A writer, who keeps his work in a closet, is a consumer of paper and ink. No more, no less.

 Then when you have your first draft… the hard part begins… editing your work so it’s the best and most readable product you can offer. Only then will you have proven to yourself that you are a writer.


Rusty LaGrange

Bloggers Devote Time to Market, too

I ran into another person interested in blogging who also writes and wants to get more exposure. His name is Ron Lazenby and he creates Western short stories. He has two titles out now. Our families have lived in Lucerne Valley for over 30 years. We know a lot of people but not enough for his book to make great sales. We talked about the value of connecting to others on the Internet but beyond that he was a bit confused.

You see he wants more sales and to share his love of writing Westerns like me but he’s not sure how it all works. We talked about the growing trend in blogging. Sure, he can go to book fairs and events where he’ll get some exposure. It’s what many authors do. After I explained what blogging was, his eyes lit up. I think I have a new convert!

Here’s how it can work for you.

You have a product… let’s say a book… that you hope will sell. No one has heard of your book so it sits in a box. Printing houses, who help self-publishing authors like Ron, don’t really get excited about his book title. He’ll have to do some marketing. Marketing?  That’s all of the steps it takes before you make a sale.

Ron can pay for someone to sell his books or he can promote them on his web site. Once on his web site, he can create a blog to talk about his love of Western subjects, how he created his book, the processes of having it printed, and places he’s planning to be … more events. He loves that part, he says. He can blog anytime, anywhere, and not worry about traveling to his next book fair. Of course, book fairs and book signings are the best way to meet face-to-face buyers. Ron knows that. But they don’t happen every day.

Now he’s learning that blogging is not just writing a quick post. He’s learning that to generate more interest and exposure he needs a broader network of other bloggers who will help him get the word out. His comments and posts go out in an ever-widening circle, and those who contact him through comments and links back to his web site, help strengthen the network.

I bet Ron’s blogging on the network right now. Or, maybe, balancing a bunch of books on the way to a fair.

If you would like to learn more about designing a blog page, using blogging to generate more sale, or the best practices to keep the network growing go to then go to the top of the page and click on “High Desert Blogging Network.”

Rusty LaGrange