Stop Branding. Start Bonding.

3 minutes to read

This post was written by our friends over at PaperbackExpert.

Answer me this: “What is branding?”

Ask your marketing director or ad agency or fellow attorney or anyone in business. Listen to their answer.

Did they explain how to develop an outstanding logo? Did they talk about carefully selecting a set of “brand” colors and employing them consistently throughout all your marketing? Did they endorse a particular font? Did they suggest a layout, a look, and a feel?

Have you followed their advice? Congratulations! You now have a visual style guide.

And so does every other business.

Branding is about how you appear to the outside world. It’s why ranchers mark their cattle with their logo—so everyone will recognize them.


Cattle farmers

“It’s why ranchers mark their cattle with their logo—so everyone will recognize them.”

The reason I don’t like using the word “branding” is that 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?

Since bonding is the real goal of what we call branding, let’s stop with the mental gymnastics and call it what it is: bonding.

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

If your bonding program is successful, people will think of you and feel good about you when they have need of your service and when they are talking to others who need your service (this is where great referrals come from).

How this works in real life:

  1. You have a service that people need a few times in their life.
  2. You have no way of knowing exactly who will need your service, nor when they will need it.
  3. So you invest in a bunch of SEO keywords in hope of finding the right person at the right time.

When a prospective customer finally needs your services, they’ll search for you online and you’ll show up… along with all of your competitors who are following the same “branding” advice and who are doing exactly what you are doing.

What happens next?

Your customer scans the results on the page. Want to guess which company gets the click, the call, the conversion, and the sale?

Surprise! It’s the company that’s been bonding. (The one they feel best about).

How will you know your bonding program is working? Your SEO lead generation cost will decrease, and your conversion rate will increase. 

The SEO folks will claim their efforts made the difference. You and I laugh because we know the truth. It’s your bonding efforts that make your branding efforts work better.

You must win the heart long before they need you.

It’s never too late to start bonding. You’ll enjoy lower costs, higher conversion rates, and more laughter.

Please don’t misunderstand: this is not an either/or proposition. You should do branding AND bonding.

HOW should you go about bonding with your future clients? There are many methods that are effective. I’m a fan of a few, and a strong advocate for one.

Take a look at your marketing. Are you bonding, or just branding?

This article was inspired by marketing expert Roy Williams in his MondayMorningMemo from April 10, 2017. You can sign up for this at

Michael DeLon is a legal marketing expert, Amazon bestselling author, and President of Paperback Expert. He can help you bond with clients powerfully by delivering your message through your own book.  The goal: Convert more callers to clients and generate greater profits. 

How to reach Michael:

[email protected]

(501) 539-0038