Quit Branding. Start Bonding.


Ask a businessperson or a marketing professional, “What is branding?”

Go ahead. Go do it. I’ll wait…

Did they mention the importance of a having a logo? Did they talk about the consistent use of a chosen group of “brand” colors and a particular font and layout and look and feel? Have you done what they told you? Congratulations! You now have a visual style guide.

And so does every other business on earth.

The reason I avoid using the word “branding” is because most people think they’re already doing it.

Here’s a far more important question: What are you doing to create an emotional bond with customers you’ve not yet met? This is the real goal of branding. But since too many people think they’re “branding” when all they’re doing is following a visual style guide, let’s you and I call this process “customer bonding,” okay?

If your visual style guide is successful, people will recognize you when they see you.

If your customer bonding program is successful, people will think of you and feel good about you when they finally need what you sell.

Now let’s take this discussion to the street:

  1. You sell a product or service that people buy less often than once a year.
  2. There’s no way to know exactly who is going to need you, or when.
  3. This is why you’re investing in Search Engine Optimization and all those keywords. Am I right?

So far, so good: now when the prospective customer finally needs what you sell, you’re going to show up…

along with everyone else in your category.

Let’s see what happens next:

Your customer is scanning the results of their search.

Do you want to know which company is going to get the click, the call and the sale?

Surprise! It’s the company that’s been bonding with customers through mass media.

One of the first signs your customer bonding program is working is that your online cost for lead generation will sharply decline and your conversion rate will rise.

The SEO weasels will try to take credit for this, of course, by claiming they made some refinements to your keywords or found some efficient new way to target or blah, blah, blah. This is one of my favorite moments.

Because I told the business owner this would happen.

So when it does, they always laugh.

I want you to laugh, too.

It’s never too late to start bonding.

Lower costs, higher conversion rates, and laughter.

These are just the byproducts and side effects.

Roy H. Williams