"This is my new song...you can sing along..."
"We can ooh with ooh...we can aah with aah..."
"Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog..."
You might not recognize these phrases, but any child under 6 and their parents definitely do. These are the tunes one hears when watching Playhouse Disney--Mickey Mouse, monkey hosts, and Little Einsteins highlighted here.
They're the kind of ditties that stick in your head all day. You find yourself humming them later and mentally smack yourself upside the head. They are a parents worst nightmare because they prove to other parents that yes, you do let your children watch television (the whipping boy of childhood problems and the activity we have been taught to keep secret).
They are also great advertisements.
Every time your child sings one of these refrains in public and shouts "I love Little Einsteins!" the word is spread. Every time you share the frustrating tune repeating in your brain, the word is spread.
Selling a book can follow a similar path. Many authors pick a catchy theme for their titles. Sue Grafton has the alphabet series--U is for Undertow, G is for Gumshoe. Catchy, isn't it? Others give their MC a catch-phrase. Or a unique look (think Lisbeth Salander in the Dragon Tattoo series). Or a memorable sidekick.
It's important to remember that these tricks can turn off as many people as they attract. Personally, the cutesy naming of a book or series is a big turn-off for me. I like my murder mysteries serious and dark. (Though I'll admit: the exceptions I've made for books like Elizabeth Spann Craig's recent Memphis BBQ release have been worth it!) Others might not see Salander as someone with whom they can even remotely identify or empathize. So pick your tricks according to your audience.
What do you do, if anything, to brand yourself and your writing? Do you think about this and research it, or shun the practice? What do you think of authors/books who use these techniques?