A Branding Lesson

We live in an ever-changing world. New people are born, others die. Businesses come and go. Technology continually grows, changing the way we interact with others and do business. New products are invented. And new books are written daily.

A Branding Lesson

One Christian book company has had to make the move to change their branding after developments in the United States outside the book industry began to impact the book company’s business.

For twenty years, Christianbook.com has operated under three distinct brands: Christian Book Distributors, CBD, and Christianbook.com. The company recently announced that they are moving all their brands to one brand: Christianbook.

The company made the following statement about their branding move:

Over the last 12 months, there has been a rise in popularity of a medicinally used product derived from the cannabis plant—cannabidiol, commonly referred to as “CBD.” Across the country, people see signs for “CBD sold here,” which creates brand confusion. In the past, a Google search for “CBD” would place our company at the top of the results page. Now “our CBD” is nowhere to be found in the search results, only sites for the cannabis product are listed, and paid ads are no longer allowed. As this wave of popularity over the “other CBD” is not likely to subside, we will stop referring to ourselves as “CBD” and will also drop the word “Distributors” from our company name. Going forward, we will operate under the name of “Christianbook.”

Christianbook is not alone. Any company that has been in business for a number of years has the potential to run into branding confusion. As our world grows—now 7.7 billion people, a growth of 54% in the past 30 years—so do the number of businesses, brands, and acronyms.

The lesson for small publishers and authors is not to hold too tightly to your brand.

As CBD became more widely known for the product derived from the cannabis plant than a Christian book company, changing their brand was the wise choice for Christianbook.  Wise authors and publishers will monitor their brand and be willing to make changes should a more popular similar name or acronym become more of an impediment to their brand than an asset.

Changing a brand does not destroy a business. In fact, sometimes it can help a business by bringing more attention to it. When a business changes their branding, it creates an opportunity for both media exposure and messaging to their audience.

Related Posts:
Branding: It’s More Important than You Think
A Branding Lesson from a Radio Station
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Christian eBooks Step Up to the Plate

Back in June, I lamented in my post “Where are the Christian eBook Stores?” that there were no online Christian stores dedicated to selling Christian ebooks. While many ebook stores exist, not one was dedicated solely Christian ebooks. Yet, many online bookstores exist that are dedicated solely to Christian print books.

Since that post, a few small Internet sites selling Christian ebooks have emerged. Although, not one of them appears small publisher friendly. One of these sites, Novo Ink, is keeping a larger percentage of the book price for each book they sell than most brick-and-mortar stores get, and is charging publishers a hefty fee to upload an ebook to their site.

Interestingly, Christian Book Distributors, the largest Christian book catalog found online at ChristianBook.com, began selling ebooks this fall. Not only did they launch an ebook store on their website, they introduced their own CBD Reader based on HTML 5 technology (the same technology Google Editions will be using).

The CBD Reader is a free reading platform that operates within the Internet browser of a computer, smartphone, or iPad. Hence, readers can access the ebooks they purchase immediately “in the cloud.” Those who have a reading device, such as a Kindle, can save a purchased ebook to their computer and from there place it on their e-reader.

I applaud Christian Book Distributors for coming up with this innovative way to sell ebooks. With the CBD Reader, ChristianBook.com only deals with one format and doesn’t have to worry about selling ebooks in all the different formats needed for the various reading devices.

This video describes the new CBD ebook store and free reader.

You can check out CBD’s new ebook store and try their e-reader reading platform by reading one of the free ebooks they are offering. Just click here and then click on “Try FREE eBooks” on the CBD website.

On the downside, Christian Book Distributors is not friendly to small publishers. Therefore, an online Christian ebook store that accommodates small publishers is still needed. Sigh.

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