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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Interview with Branding Authors James Thomson & Whitney Gibson


The rise of Amazon and other online marketplaces has left many brands struggling to survive the consequences of uncontrolled online sales.  Unauthorized sellers are selling poor-quality products without customer service and other benefits that accompany authorized sales.  Product descriptions and listings are inconsistent and incorrect.  And brick-and-mortar sellers are growing increasingly frustrated. Brands of all sizes are failing to control their marketplace sales and consequently are struggling to preserve and protect their brand equity in the Amazon era.

Whitney Gibson, partner and chair of Vorys eControl, and James Thomson, partner of Buy Box Experts, have co-authored a first-of-its-kind book to help brands control and grow their online marketplace sales. Controlling Your Brand in the Age of Amazon: The Brand Executive’s Playbook for Winning Online helps brands understand what they can do to navigate this evolving eCommerce environment. From managing unauthorized sellers to achieving internal alignment, the book highlights both legal and business strategies that brands can employ when faced with threats posed by online marketplaces. For more info, see: controllingyourbrand.com.

Here is an interview with them:

1. What motivated you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and turning it into a book? In working with brands every day that are struggling to build their brands online with the same level of control that they are used to in offline channels, we saw the opportunity to document the best practices that we have developed and watched brands successfully implement. We have combined our legal and business approaches to solve the two-headed problem that brands have when they lose control over who will represent them online, and when the messaging used to show off their products online is not consistent with their offline messaging. With online marketplaces accounting for more than half of global web sales, the need for brands to take proactive steps and protect their equity online is imperative.  Our book is the guidebook for brand executives who are serious about solving these problems, and ready to evolve their brands into marketplace-ready brands. 

2. What is it about and who is it for? The book covers the specific root causes of how brands get themselves into the situation where they have lost control over who retails their brands online, what branding is used to communicate specifics on the brands, and what retail pricing is used to make the products available for sale. The book is for senior and C-suite brand executives who want to learn how to fix and prepare their brands for a world that includes online marketplaces.  

3. What do you hope the reader will be left with after reading it? We want our readers to be left with a clear roadmap of how to fix these issues, but also with the understanding that fixing such issues requires most brand organizations to make fundamental changes around how they work with suppliers and distributors, how they manage marketing and branding, and how they create incentives internally and externally to create a consistently branded and priced product line.    

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? If crafting a book that provides advice and guidance, then don't hold back on details that highlight shortcomings in the readers' current way of thinking. Our book shows brand executives where their organizations may have been failing, and provides a clear but steep path to solving these challenges.   

5. What trends in the book world do you see -- and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? The most important trend affecting us today is the ability to self-publish and self-promote one's book. We needed to get our message out to readers quickly, and found the self-publishing route most effective to ensuring that the most up-to-date and relevant information was available for our readers.  

6. What challenges did you overcome to write this book? We chuckle at this question, as one can always worry that there are more details we can squeeze into the book. We decided on a finite scope of work, and recognized that future editions with content updates will likely be needed no matter how long we held on to keep content current.  

7. If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours? Our book is not for everyone - but if you are an executive managing a brand that is struggling with how to handle its online marketplace presence, our book will open your eyes to business and legal approaches for evolving into a best-in-class brand that can grow faster and more profitably than your competitor brands that choose to ignore these pricing, branding and representation issues. 

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Brian Feinblum, the founder of BookMarketingBuzzBlog, can be reached at  brianfeinblum@gmail.com.  You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum. 


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