Lead Generation VS Brand Identity – Is Patience A Virtue?
Speak to most business owners or sales managers and they’ll simply state ‘we want more leads’. However, there’s a right way and wrong way of generating leads and if it comes at the expense of being able to build a sustainable and reputable brand, then some techniques should be avoided at all costs.
So, what exactly is the difference between lead generation and brand building? And are these two marketing techniques exclusive or can one complement the other? Read on to find out…
Lead Generation Defined
Lead generation is how a business attracts customer attention. Lead generation is achieved through advertising and marketing. In essence, you are boosting a potential customer’s interest in your products or service with the aim of prompting them to make a purchase or seek further information. Methods of lead generation are varied and we explain more below.
Imagine you have logged on to Facebook and you see an advert and an offer for a new restaurant that’s opened in your city – it seems interesting so you click on it to read the menu and redeem the discount. That advert is a form of lead generation – it has led you to enquire about the restaurant.
Marketers can get leads from all manner of sources, with a variety of techniques. Common lead generation marketing tactics include:
- Blogging Regularly
- Email Marketing
- Posting / Advertising On Social Media
- Instructional Videos
- Podcasts and Audiobooks
- Downloadable Ebooks & Other Content
- Outbound Connections (LinkedIn, For Example)
Why is lead generation important?
Without lead generation, a business would struggle to gain custom. Whilst customers may stumble upon your business and services by chance; taking a proactive approach and actively boosting lead generation will ensure that you can appeal to a wider audience and generate more sales in a shorter period of time. Leads can be cold (barely interested in the product or service) to very warm or even hot leads (take my money).
Brand Identity Defined
If you see a large yellow M you know it’s a McDonalds and expect fast food. If you buy a product from Amazon you know the delivery will be quick. If you purchase a car from Aston Martin, you know that it will be impeccably built and your sex appeal will go through the roof (male or female).
This is brand identity – the means a business uses to create an association with their customer base and to build their reputation. Brand identity can cover a wide range of areas; from a company logo or colour scheme, to business operation and product ranges.
Why is brand identity important?
Brand identity creates familiarity. Brand identity also builds trust and creates a bond between customer and business. This, in turn, means that customers are more likely to make a purchase or use the services being promoted. When a business has a strong brand identity, their reputation will increase and they will gradually become a household name that thousands of people recognise.
Brand recognition is also integral to successful SEO. In fact, it could be argued that brand building is the most important overall aspect to search engine optimisation. It helps search engines (Google) trust your brand if it is recognised. Users will click on search results of a brand they recognise first.
Both Strategies Work Together
In reality, both lead generation and brand identity are extremely important to a modern business – they are not exclusive and can complement each other to provide your business with a strong long-term outlook. Instead of concentrating solely on brand identity or lead generation, a business should consider a marketing strategy that includes both.
Brand identity can, in fact, improve lead generation and lead generation can improve brand identity. The two are complementary and mutually beneficial. Creating a strong brand identity for example that customers can trust will help generate additional business leads. On the flip side, a strong marketing campaign that generates leads will, in turn, boost a business’s brand identity further. Consider the example below:
1. Company A has a well-known product that is reliable and effective.
2. Company A releases a social media campaign that advertises said product and promotes its reliability.
3. Customers see the campaign and make a purchase because they know the product is reliable.
4. Customers then give positive feedback that further reinforces the company’s reputation and brand image.
5. Rinse and repeat!
As you can see both lead generation and brand identity play an important role in this scenario. The company’s reputation for quality means that the product is trusted. The marketing campaign reinforces the quality of the product and prompts customers to make a purchase. Once they have made a purchase and seen that the product is indeed high quality, they may give it a good review. This is easily done due to the company’s prominence online. This improves the company and products brand identity and prompts future sales. This cycle continues and each time (if executed effectively) the companie’s lead generation and brand identity should improve.
Look to the future – don’t become short-sighted
From the above, you can see how important lead generation and brand identity are, especially for long-term progression. Many businesses, however, concentrate on short-term goals and only consider each event as it arises. Whilst this approach may work for several months and short periods of time, it does nothing to help a business attain sustainability for the future.
Plan ahead and aim to create a long-lasting brand
Digital marketing should be an ongoing process and something that you continually develop – this is where lead generation and brand identity become hugely important. If a company creates a strong brand identity, the general public will trust them and will be more likely to purchase goods or services from them. Furthermore, if a brand creates a series of perfectly executed marketing campaigns and a strong social media presence they should attain consistent lead generation for years to come.
Working example – Apple Inc.
If we look at Apple, for example, this business is at the forefront of mobile and touch screen technology. From their humble beginnings in the 1970’s, this company has worked hard to build a strong brand identity and a reputation for quality and innovation – this, in turn, has resulted in fantastic lead generation and multi-billion dollar revenue on an annual basis.
Everything about their marketing campaigns is crafted to reinforce their brand identity and to create product familiarity. If you see the iconic fruit logo, for example, you know it is an apple product. Alternatively, you only have to see the start of an Apple advert to recognise the company. This level of brand identity has not been achieved overnight – this has been a careful and considered approach that has taken many years to perfect.
Most modern businesses should aim for brand recognition – this in turn will help with lead generation and conversions. Commit to long-term development and work on crafting a strong brand identity. In doing so, you will ensure the longevity of your business whilst generating an increasing amount of leads and conversions.