What do you think of when you hear “peanut butter”? Does jelly come to mind? Peanut butter is so often paired with jelly for PB&J sandwiches, that the thought of peanut butter triggers the thought of jelly.
This power of association is frequently used by savvy marketers to promote products. By pairing a product with a common everyday item or activity, marketers hope to create an association in people’s minds. Then the everyday activity or item will trigger the thought of their product in consumers’ minds.
What comes to mind when you think about movie theaters? Of course, movies come to mind, but popcorn probably also popped into your head. After all, popcorn is the most commonly purchased snack at a movie theater. People associate eating popcorn with watching movies. What a coup for popcorn sales.
Can authors and publishers use this power of association to pair their books with common items or activities to trigger people to think about their books? I think it is possible, although not easy. After all, that is what the Chicken Soup for the Soul series books tried to do. They paired their book with chicken soup. Now when people consume chicken soup for lunch, they might be triggered to remember the books.
You can use associations in three ways to capitalize on this idea of triggering people to remember your book. Three good ways to establish associations are through your book’s title, your book’s cover image, or by using pairing in your marketing efforts.
1. The title
Choosing a book title that includes an everyday activity or item can help create an association for our potential readers and readers. For example, a title like Thirsty for God can build an association between thirst and your book. Once people have been exposed to your book, you want them to remember it every time they are thirsty—an everyday occurrence.
2. The cover image
A good cover image for Thirsty for God would include a picture of a person drinking a big glass of water. This helps cement the association between thirsty and your book. Again the idea is that the image in your book’s cover will be brought to mind when someone is thirsty and gets a big glass of water to drink.
An image of dry, cracked land on the cover of a Thirsty for God title, while visually appealing, would not create as powerful an association since people only sometimes see land that dry, but they experience thirst and drink water every day.
3. Pairing in your marketing efforts
To make the association even stronger, you would want to continue the theme in all your marketing efforts. For example, if you put together a book trailer for Thirsty for God, you would want to include a number of images of people drinking water in the video. Again, you would be pairing your book with thirst, helping people make an association so that when they feel thirsty, they remember your book and think about being thirsty not just for water, but also for God.
Creating associations is not easy. It takes careful thought and creativity. With a little ingenuity, you can use your book’s title, subject, or theme to identify potential associations that you can capitalize on to trigger people to remember your book.
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