I’ve been hearing a lot about branding lately. Strong branding can make people loyal to you (like Apple), and the more control you have over your branding, the easier it is to make sure your audience sees the message you are trying to send.
Take Disney, for example. Disney owns a multitude of assets, ranging from production studios (Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel, etc.) to retail, games, and apps, to theme parks and hotels, to music, to distribution, to books, to TV networks, and more. Because Disney owns so much, the company can make sure that their branding reaches every aspect of their business. The same message moves through each step in their pipeline, and if they ever need to change or update that message, they can easily do so.
This got me thinking, what other companies own additional assets to help with their branding? Here’s a few I’ve found, in no particular order.
To start, Blizzard Entertainment, a game developer, announced Blizzard Publishing, their book label, late last year. Some titles they’re publishing include coloring books and manga for World of Warcraft, and they’re “also looking to release a series of full-color coffee table art books, starting with Art of Hearthstone and Cinematic Art of StarCraft,” according to Gamespot.
Bloomsbury launched “First Birds,” a bird app for children, according to The Bookseller. The app is based on Bloomsbury’s RSPB First Birds book series, and teaches kids about birds and lets them color, watch videos, and listen to bird songs.
Hachette the book publisher acquired Neon Play, a mobile game company, according to The Bookseller, and they may acquire more companies. The plan is for Neon Play to develop book-related games and standalone games for Hachette.
Wired reported that blogging platform Tumblr has launched Creatrs Network, which will connect advertisers with artists who share their work on Tumblr. Through Creatrs Network, artists can connect with companies who hire them to create content for their marketing campaigns. Additionally, according to Wired, “Tumblr has also launched an internal program, simply known as Creatrs, through which it will select 10 high-performing artists and match them not just with brands, but with other opportunities like book deals, live events, or the chance to teach classes and seminars at universities. For now, creators have to be selected and can’t sign up on their own, but that may soon change as Tumblr continues to test the model and see increased demand from advertisers.”
Last year, TechCrunch reported on Wattpad Studios, which connects Wattpad writers with the entertainment industry.
Book publisher Insight Editions extended its brand with Incredibuilds, according to Publisher’s Weekly. Readers can build and customize Incredibuilds, which are freestanding wooden models. According to PW, when they launched, Insight Editions released “17 titles across two product lines.”
According to The Drum, Forbes Media launched ForbesBooks to generate more revenue and use books as a marketing tool. The idea is that anyone important in business has a book, so the book becomes a personal branding tool.
9. Indie Presses
Lithub names a number of indie presses who have opened up indie bookstores to bring in more readers and earnings. They include Milkweed Editions, Melville House Publishing, and Deep Vellum Publishing.
Barnes & Noble has Nook Press, which allows indie authors to upload and sell their ebooks to readers at Barnes & Noble. But now, according to Digital Book World, Nook Press allows authors to also sell print versions of their books online.
Last, as a bonus, Forbes posted a piece about three brands who use long-form content (like books and online courses) to help attract new customers and users and boost their reputation. This includes Hubspot, which has a library full of online marketing content, Quicksprout, which has ebook-type blog posts, and The Content Marketing Institute, which delivers in-depth industry reports.