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DBF Trade Day 2017: Interview with Niamh Murray, Marketing Director of Profile Books and Serpent’s Tail, Part 2

In preparation for her keynote appearance at the Dublin Book Festival’s Trade Day, Niamh Murray offers some information regarding marketing strategy and branding. Stay tuned for more insights leading up to Trade Day!

How does your marketing strategy help Serpent’s Tail and Profile compete with larger companies?

We know what we’re good at and concentrate on our strengths. We accept that we don’t have the huge reach that for example the Penguin brand does – but we have our own niche and identity – we’re known for taking risks, discovering talent and publishing brilliant writers from at home and in translation with Serpent’s Tail, and on the Profile side for being a smart, eclectic list of interesting and witty non-fiction that is never the same from one season to the next. Our marketing is known for being visually interesting and when we love something we tend to throw as much energy and time behind it as we can manage. We are one of the smaller kids in the playground – but we’re not sitting in the corner with our hands in our pockets. I think having a distinct voice for each brand is a really important part of our strategy – it helps readers figure out if your books are likely to be to their taste, and also helps attract authors to the fold.


What advice can you give for small publishers looking to create and sustain a brand identity?

Build it alongside everything you do and at the risk of sounding like the ‘put a bird on it’ sketch from the sketch show Portlandia, do try to remember to use your house brand on collateral you produce, whether for print or web. Also – work really hard on the design and look of what you produce. Marketers nowadays need to have visual skills and it’s important to invest in training in this area. Small publishers tend to do a good job on brand identity and voice – social media has meant that brands now extend across different platforms and so suddenly we have really strong visual platforms to help promote our brands. It may be slow and steady as a means of brand-building – but it all helps. This is a great blogpost by Julia Kingsford on improving your brand’s visual identity online:

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