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Building brand awareness and driving sales used to be viewed as two different goals with independent KPIs, tactics, and strategies.  Today, we know that in many instances, brand building and demand-generation campaigns can collectively work together to result in more shared learnings, a more accurate view of your true audience, a better return on investment for your working media dollars. 

Brand Awareness Campaigns

A brand awareness campaign is typically designed to increase brand exposure and create a favorable impression (or change an inaccurate impression) of a brand within competitive markets.  Finding new customer segments or increasing the loyalty and lifetime value of existing customers is typically the end-goal, and KPIs will include impressions, engagement, and often involve focus groups and surveys to measure brand perceptions, preferences and so on. 

Lead-Gen Campaigns

The purpose of a lead-generation (aka: lead-gen) campaign is to attract potential new customers and collect the personal information of those who are interested in your product or services. This information collection may be as simple as signing up for email newsletters or entering a contest - or it could be a higher value conversion such as signing up for a free trial or starting an application. These campaigns typically rely on some level of existing brand awareness, and in order to be successful, they require some kind of lead-nurturing as well. The primary KPIs for a lead-gen campaign are typically (and not surprisingly…) the number of leads, and the cost per lead (CPL.) 

Channel Tactics for Brand Awareness and Lead-Gen Campaigns

Brand building campaigns often have more emotional and value-based creative platforms as they’re trying to connect with audiences on a deeper level than trying to simply sell them something. Inversely, lead-gen campaigns tend to be more to-the-point and focus less on the ‘why’, but rather more on the ‘what’ of a product or service. That said, channel strategies between brand building and lead-gen campaigns can vary greatly. In today’s media ecosystem, broadcast channels like TV and radio are mostly used in integrated brand-awareness campaigns, with out of home, print, and display playing an important role in reinforcing brand-building. These channels are effective for brand-awareness campaigns as they have the greatest capacity to reach a wide range of people at once and can be a wise investment for brands with broad target audiences. Additionally, the format of TV/video ads lends themselves to brand-building efforts as they integrate music, imagery, and story-telling to stir up emotion and more clearly communicate some of the more intangible aspects of a brand like their vision, creation story, or purpose.  And while traditional broadcast can be cost-prohibitive, digital tactics such as Connected TV or streaming radio can also be utilized in brand-building campaigns to the same effect with smaller audience segments. Display and content-based digital tactics are widely used in both brand-awareness and lead-gen campaigns. Hyper-targeting, sequential messaging, personalization, A/B testing, discount codes, custom landing pages and more are all table-stakes when it comes to creating and optimizing a lead-gen campaign. They’re highly measurable, testable, and can prove out ROI relatively easily. 

Finding the Balance

In the primary industries serviced by Primacy, the customer journey is far from simple; and it’s in these instances, where the emotional and rational aspects of a customer journey are closely intertwined, that you can successfully marry brand building and lead-gen tactics. Decisions about health and wellness, investing in your future, or exploring where to go to college have a much deeper consideration process compared to deciding on which pair of shoes to buy. That’s why, at the beginning of any campaign, a critical step is to create highly detailed, data-backed personas that dive into the market, pain points, challenges, and media consumption habits of an audience. Not only do we look to define our audience to target them in the marketplace, but we also seek to understand our prospect’s journey from awareness to conversion. By fully understanding this path, we’re able to address each stage and mindset, from first learning about a brand to then piquing their interest and driving them to convert. We believe that a unified lead-gen and brand-building campaign should include a mix of story-building creative for large audiences, and then more targeted (and testable) messages to audience subsets, grouped by demographics, geography, behavior, or otherwise. This way, we are consistently feeding our funnel with newly aware, potential customers through brand awareness tactics and guiding them through consideration and ultimately conversion. Without brand building, we would eventually run out of people to target for lead gen and without lead gen, we may never convert our aware audience. Finding the balance and nurturing both ends of the journey is key. Here’s a fairly straightforward example: suppose you’re advertising a new product in a competitive market - a TV campaign aimed to introduce the brand should focus on the why of your particular product. With all of the other options out there, a viewer should understand why your brand is different from your competitors and why they should care. Then, using a smaller subset of your TV audience, highly targeted display advertising could test two offers: a free trial CTA vs. a discounted membership CTA. Even if a prospect doesn’t click on the ad, that ad impression can still build upon the idea they have in their mind about your brand, be recalled at a later date when they are ultimately ready to convert, or be used to remarket with a different message at a different time. And on the other end, should they click, the landing page should reinforce the brand further while delivering a compelling offer at the same time. Businesses don’t need to look at brand awareness and lead generation efforts as mutually exclusive. A media strategy that leverages the advantages and understands the strengths of the different approaches can use them together, leading to more effective campaigns across the board. Brand awareness lays the groundwork and feeds the funnel for lead-generation campaigns. And inversely, the way you nurture and deliver upon the brand promise for your leads will continue to build or be a detriment, to the brand you’ve built. Ultimately, marketers need to understand that brand awareness and equity in a competitive market is a strategic asset for businesses, but to grow, a business needs to drive leads and revenue. To learn more about how to create an integrated brand-awareness and lead-gen campaign, contact Primacy's marketing team here