There seems to be a lot of confusion out there between brand and lead generation, and the importance of either or both.

When we talk to clients about brand, we sometimes see nervous shuffling of papers, shifty glances around the table and quiet coughs. “What time is lunch?” they ask. No, branding is for the big boys, the banks, automotive and beer companies with huge advertising budgets to play with. Definitely not for a business like ours.

Start the conversation around lead generation and we’re all ears. Ah yes, what should we try? How’s our eDM campaign fairing these days, should we split test headlines or even try a new copywriter? We did try hiring a Sri Lankan telemarketing team, but that didn’t seem to get us anywhere, what can you suggest?

Marketing Director Centre is currently writing an e-Book on brand because I feel – and so do all of our marketing directors, that brand is the most misunderstood term in marketing (or even business); unimportant, expensive and should definitely be delayed until we can afford a new logo (we only redid our website last year after all).

Lead generation on the other hand, is always at the top of the agenda. Send us more clients. Is that it?

Take for example the major Child Care Centre that spent millions on advertising, but were constantly losing enrolments. The centre’s were relatively full most of the time, but stop the advertising for a month and the story quickly changed. When we began to look at their churn, we noticed that up to 50% of parents withdrew their children within 6 months of enrolling. They simple weren’t happy. I know, let’s ask them why they’re unhappy and see if we can address some of the issues. Let’s put in place an online engagement system that continually surveys clients ongoing and gives us a temperature gauge of how each centre is performing against key criteria – and highlights the areas to improve. Let’s look at our brand for a change.

Won’t that all cost money? Well yes, but so does expensive (and unnecessary) advertising.

Like so many, the business was not concerned about brand, they were concerned about getting new leads in through the door. It worked to some extent, but – and this is the crux of brand, it was expensive and spelled disaster when things went wrong.

So often I see it, companies spending large amounts on generating leads without ever considering the essence of their brand. Give consideration to your brand it is a valuable asset.

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