By Andrew Wilkins
“We’re about to embark on a time when brand is going to become extremely important,” predicted Will Atkinson, Sales and Marketing Director Faber & Faber. “In times of uncertainty, brands do very well.”
Atkinson was speaking about Faber’s own approach to branding with Mark Dressler on the Hall 8 SPARKS stage yesterday.
With its new business divisions such as Faber Academy, Faber Social and Faber Factory, the company now sees itself as “a business about reading and writing” rather than a book publisher per se.
That said, Atkinson was keen to emphasize the importance of key brand values that apply equally across all its businesses: namely quality, longevity and pedigree. These values were not only the reason why a new Faber poet is marketed in the same livery as T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden, but also why, Atkinson said, 100 independent publishers were comfortable working with the Faber Factory e-book service, and also why Faber books continue to receive the critical broadsheet reviews that are still the main drivers of its UK sales.
That said, Faber’s branding isn’t fixed in stone. It’s being re-tweeked ahead of next year’s London Book Fair, and is placed on books based on likely impact: “Where we think brand will carry a book we’ll use it, whereas in genres which have their own rules, such as crime fiction, we don’t.”