Jun 2, 2021 | Marketing Strategy, News

Branding vs. Lead Generation: What’s the difference?


Both brand awareness and lead generation are essential elements to any marketing approach. Brand awareness, the extent to which consumers are familiar with the distinctive qualities or image of a particular brand, is key to turning strangers into visitors – either virtually or physically. Lead generation takes those visitors, either virtual or physical, and converts them into leads.

Branding – Awareness and Equity

Branding is often used as a broad term, but it’s important to understand the depths of branding and to master each level.

Brand awareness plays vital role in the consumer decision-making process. It sounds obvious, but consumers are more likely to do business with a company they’re familiar with.  Brand awareness speaks to being one of the first companies that comes to mind when the consumer is in the market to make a purchase. When building brand awareness, you want to reach as many people as possible, with consistent messaging and imagery.  The more people you reach, with an appropriate amount of frequency, the more likely you are to leave a lasting impression. Brand awareness is just one component and an integral part of a strong marketing approach.

Brand equity is just as important. While brand awareness is how aware consumers are of a brand, brand equity refers to consumers’ perceived worth of the brand.  While often used interchangeably, it’s important to understand the difference and their relation with each other.  Brand equity relies on brand awareness, as you need to create brand awareness before you start to build brand equity.

Brand equity is all about the consumer’s perception of the brand. It’s the value that consumers associate with the brand name of a particular product or service, rather than from the product or service itself. When your local cell phone store is set to release the newest Apple iPhone, the reason there is a line out the door is because Apple has built the brand equity in their products – not because the individual parts of the phone are worth significant value.

To simplify, you may get a first time visitor due to brand awareness.  You’re more likely to have visitors lined up at the door with strong brand equity.

Lead Generation

While branding focuses on visitors, lead generation is the process of converting a visitor into a lead. It’s a way of nurturing potential customers and getting them on the pathway to eventually make a purchase with your business.

A lead, or potential customer, to a certain extent is already interested in what your company has to offer. They may have found you because of your branding efforts. Targeting leads with highly personalized messages, engaging with them to building a relationship and encouraging them to return to your store, or web site, are all ways to convert leads into customers. Different approaches to lead generation depend on whether you’re dealing with physical or virtual visitors.

When your local winery offers free tastings, this is all about lead generation – converting a visitor into a potential customer.  While it’s a nice gesture to have you try their different flavors of wine, it’s the start of converting you into a paying customer.

This process is quite different for virtual (online) visitors.  The combination of blogs, social media marketing, email marketing and online advertising are all used to attract the visitor’s attention, generate interest in your web site and eventually inquire about making a purchase.

Determining the best approach

Brand awareness and lead generation work the best when concentrated on instantaneously. When using them together, in the right way and at the right time, will evoke consumer attention and expand your audience. While it can be challenging, it is necessary to invest in both at the same time.

At River Valley Media Group, our team are experts at developing marketing campaigns and can include brand awareness and lead generation as part of your comprehensive marketing program. Every day we develop effective programs for our clients and can do likewise for you. Complete the form below or drop us a note to learn more.

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