Why Is Branding So Effing Hard?
How I've been thinking about the future of this newsletter — and how you can help.
I still remember the day I settled on the name for this newsletter. I was texting with my good friendabout my desire to start a Substack to support my book launch. I had no idea what to call it, and seemingly out of the blue, Virginia said: “How about ‘Is My Kid the Asshole?’”
I guffawed and immediately wrote back something like, “OMFG THAT’S IT!” The name tied in with the title of my book — How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes — and I loved that it was a play on the popular Subreddit, Am I the Asshole?. I also felt that it was funny, irreverent, and captured the goal of my newsletter at that point in time: To discuss and normalize challenging kid behavior. It was perfect.
It’s been more than two years since then, and I still love the name of this newsletter. I do!! But:
1) Not everyone gets the Subreddit reference.
2) The word “asshole” turns some people off. (I know, I know; they are probably not my target readers anyway.)
3) I am in the very early days of writing a second book, and although the new book is a parenting book, it’s not about not raising assholes.
4) I now regularly write about things other than challenging kid behavior. Usually what I write ties into life as a parent, but it’s not always about raising kids. Much of what I write challenges parenting norms and expectations, pushes back on bad parenting advice, or offers scripts and frameworks for talking to kids about difficult things. None of those quite fit into the framework of kid assholery.
Put another way, I feel like “Is My Kid the Asshole?” no longer reflects what I do here — or at least, not fully.
So a few months ago, I started brainstorming possible new names. And oh my god, can I just say: it’s really frigging hard! I’m a writer, not a marketing professional, people! What do you want from me!
But, okay. Even though it’s still kind of a dumpster fire, I thought it might be helpful to share a bit about the ongoing process — and also to ask for YOUR help and input.
First, I started thinking about what I want the newsletter name to accomplish. Ideally, I want the name to be short and punchy, and to communicate these three things:
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