Which Should You Focus More On: Brand or Demand?



The most successful marketing strategy can be a lot like Voltron. I know … I just took some of you back to your childhood.

Some fans of the popular ’80s cartoon will remember Voltron as the super robot composed of five robot lions — or 15 space vehicles, depending on your flavor of television series — fighting the mighty Robeasts of Planet Doom. The robot lions seemed to be the favorite option over the vehicles, and while one lion was fun to watch, there was nothing better than a fan watching the five lions form Voltron to conquer the enemy and save the world.

Marketing can be similar to Voltron in that a successful strategy is based off several individual pieces — lions, if you will. Two of those individual pieces — two of the most important pieces — include a strong brand and demand generation. Some marketers may even say that those two pieces collectively can fuel the overall goal of a B2B.

So of the two, which is more important? Figuring out whether to focus the majority of time and energy spent between brand equity and demand generation can be a challenge. It’s a tough question, and there’s a legitimate argument for both.

Together, they make magic. And magic results in victories. Just like Voltron.

Identifying demand generation

Garnering a major demand for your product. That’s the basic definition of demand generation. Using marketing and sales initiatives, a strong demand generation strategy involves what a brand does, how a brand gets attention and why consumers will want to engage in it.

In an article published by Element Three, author Tim Kopp said it’s “a warning sign if an early stage startup isn’t obsessive about demand generation.” Kopp called the early stages “survival mode,” as demand generation is the time to focus on key metrics, identifying exactly how to acquire paying customers and how to make a product and overall market click longterm.

“As a startup scales and builds traction in the market, branding becomes more important,” Kopp wrote. “The tipping point isn’t necessarily a specific point in time, but a natural progression that happens in lockstep with your demand gen efforts.”

Identifying brand equity

Shopify gives a pretty basic — yet effective — definition: Brand equity is “a marketing term that describes a brand’s value.” The value is “determined by consumer perception of and experiences with the brand.”

Simply put, if a consumer thinks highly of your brand, that brand has high equity. Companies can develop brand equity but recognizing how customers familiarize themselves with a brand, personally support the brand and then recommend it to others.

In a story published in Forbes, Dipanjan Chatterjee, the vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, spoke about how brand equity should be the elite focal point in that it can ultimate define a relationship with customers.

“With the right essence tailored in the right way to create the right experiences, it can sustain and nurture long-term relationships which then pay off in more tangible forms,” Chatterjee said. “Am I driving customers down the funnel? Am I sustaining a price premium? Am I converting leads into customers? Am I extending customers into loyal users? Those are all the manifestations and tangible financial outcomes of this idea of brand equity.”

Getting back to the original question: Which should be focused on more? The professional answer is … “yes.” Both brand development and demand generation deserve equal focus. In the goal of creating marketing bliss, capitalizing on both is key. There needs to be a balance with the two, but when trying to top one over the other, consider it a priority that can change daily.

Treat them both like the robot lions in the popular cartoon. Individually, they’re strong. Collectively, they have the opportunity to be near-invincible. Your marketing approach will benefit.

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