Branding – as it is taught today – will at best cause people to remember you and have a mild opinion.
But unlike yesterday’s branding, today’s bonding is the beginning of relationship, the essence of loyalty and the foundation of community among human beings.
Bonding, when done properly, makes people feel connected to you. It is the little-known secret of marketing to millennials* and their parents.
Bonding creates community – surrogate family – connectedness – relationship – belonging.
When we talk about “community” in marketing, always remember: We buy what we buy to remind ourselves – and tell the world around us – who we are.
The personality you craft for your brand is essential to the bonding process.
The public will give you their time if you offer them entertainment.
They will give you their money if they feel connected to you.
In the days of the Old West, branding made a cow yours.
In today’s hyper-communicated society, bonding makes a customer yours.
Remember, it’s all about identity, a reflection of self.
Bill Bernbach obviously understood bonding, as did my hero, John Steinbeck.
Lest you think Steinbeck wasn’t speaking of marketing, here’s another line from that same 1941 travelogue.
Millennials would have loved John Steinbeck.** He had perception, perspective and a piercing wit. With authenticity, clarity of vision and complete transparency, he spoke the bonding-language of millennials 60 years before they were born.
Ed Sheehan wrote Steinbeck’s obituary for The San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle:
(Of course he did, because we can. – Indiana Beagle)
I’ll be teaching bite-sized morsels of the 12 detailed steps of bonding over the next few months in a series of videos for the American Small Business Institute. Or you can come to the 2-day Wizard Academy workshop in February if you’re willing to stay in a hotel, (when the alumni got a heads-up email from Vice Chancellor Whittington a few days ago, all 18 rooms on campus filled up within 4 hours,) or you can be one of the first 18 to snag a room for the June 1-2 session.
Either way, this is stuff you need to know if you want your business to grow.
Roy H. Williams
* note from Indy – When the wizard speaks of millennials, he’s not speaking of birth cohorts (people born within a narrow window of years,) but of life cohorts (that group of people alive in a society in a specified window of time.) This might seem to be merely a semantic distinction to some, but the wizard sharply disagrees that birth cohorts will carry a single worldview throughout their lives. Instead, he believes a new perspective is introduced every 40 years by the youth of a generation and this new perspective quickly migrates upwards through the age-ranks until all of society is colored by it. The worldview of Baby Boomers marked the beginning of a “Me” generation in 1963. By 1969, most of society had adopted that outlook. Likewise, the Millennial worldview marked the beginning of a “We” generation in 2003. Today, most of us – to one degree or another – are “millennial” in our perspective.
**John Steinbeck was just 20 years old in 1923, the year that marked the beginning of the previous “We” generation that lasted from 1923 to 1963. This explains why he speaks the language of “We” so eloquently.