Here is yet another new idea that many are sick of hearing about. I first heard about Branding as a marketing term a couple years ago.
Here's how I understand it: It's how you want to be seen by the buying public, what you have to offer, and the style in which you're offering it.
It's not phoney, but more of a catered portrayal. One Podcast I listened to likened a writer's online Brand to how we would present ourselves at a cocktail party. We would be putting our best foot forward, and not whine about our bosses and hemorrhoids.
A few years ago, I was reading a book on Yoga philosophy. (stay with me here, there's a point to this)Coming from a Hindu perspective, it spoke of transmigration, or the soul's journey from one life to another. The point was something that all spiritual traditions agree on; that we are Spiritual Beings having a human experience. The person that we think we are is merely a vessel that we use to interact with this time-space reality. It's like we're playing a character for a lifetime. That's what Branding reminds me of, playing a character for our public interactions.
A less esoteric example would be a rock star. Off-stage, Alice Cooper likes to play golf, and just be normal, but when performing, he's sincerely expressing and aspect of himself. How about a less extreme example would be no less appropriate. I'm not sure what The Edge from U2 does with his time, but it probably isn't typical Rock Star behavior. And Marilyn Manson? Well, he's a bit of a question...
How do you understand Branding? If a writer wants to write in different genres, should they adopt another pen-name like Nora Roberts/JD Robb?