By Dan Balow
When Al Ries and Jack Trout published their classic marketing book Positioning in 1981, the concept of the book and the single-word title became a white-hot marketing buzzword, much in the same way as “platform” is today.
I am not going to dig into that classic business title today or come up with a complicated analysis of positioning, but I can say this, if you want to do a brilliant piece of strategic personal branding or positioning, do the following:
Take a position.
If you want to be known for something and have a solid book-hook for your author platform, stand for something.
Talk show hosts who only ask questions are not as popular as those who take a stand on an issue. Of course, you can stand for something meaningless and downright stupid, but at least you will be known as the person who stands for something.
As Christian communicators we have an opportunity to take important stands and God desires we do so.
Christians love John 3:16, but it is another 3:16, this one in Revelation that is not-so-lovable towards those believers who take no stand or position.
“So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (NIV)
That doesn’t sound like a good thing coming from the creator of the universe who holds everything together by the strength of his hands.
Traditional Christian publishers each stand for something. Most have corporate theology-statements. Some use the US National Association of Evangelicals statement of faith as their own, found here.
An author desiring to write a book to convince readers to re-think the canon of Scripture, the deity of Jesus Christ or the existence of the trinity, are going to be very disappointed by a publisher’s response. There are issues where publishers will not be moved.
Agents take stands as well. The four at this agency talk about meaningful issues every now and then and we are generally of one mind as we see the world. Every decision we make is filtered through that position.
In general, only academic publishers might be interested in a work that “explores” all sides of an issue without taking a stand. When you are writing for the consumer-reader, you need to be strong and opinionated, pointing them in a specific direction you feel deeply about.
If you have published something and didn’t receive either strong praise or criticism from reviewers, you probably missed the mark on taking a stand. I’ve heard from a number of Christian leaders that if they are not experiencing strong opposition, they are probably not doing something right. The Enemy does not like truth and will fight back.
I hear some people didn’t like what Jesus stood for either.
Image above courtesy Renjith Krishnan, Freedigitalphotos