And just like that…brand and performance marketing settled their differences and were happily ever after. And the baby’s name? Meet Brandformance.
First of all, forgive us the pop culture reference (it’s been the talk of the town — most specifically Peloton’s HQ — recently). But the ongoing stratification of brand and performance marketing deserves a grand analogy. After all, for many years now, it’s been a commonplace idea among marketers that you should focus on one or the other. But is this the right way? With more and more traditional companies entering the digital area — and digital companies going offline too — the competition for eyeballs across all channels is higher than ever. Getting your performance and brand strategy right is paramount and maybe keeping things siloed isn’t always the most effective way.
Here at DCMN we truly believe the right strategy is brandformance, which combines branding and performance marketing in one strategy to more effectively reach your marketing goals. By tying it to your other company KPIs, marketers are optimising their brand spend. Goodbye siloing. Hello integration.
Why is this crucial for digital companies?
Let’s look first at the distinction between the two. First up, branding campaigns. These are campaigns that play on emotions (and create a whole lotta buzz too!). They’re much more powerful for long-term objectives than a performance campaign. Performance campaigns, often more rational and straight-laced in their messaging, are more potent for driving short-term sales. They aim to persuade by utilising messaging based on price or other similar characteristics. No wonder startups at the beginning of their journey — and hungry for rapid growth — go for the short-term approach. But you can do both from the beginning — together and more effectively.
Often, digital companies will hit a plateau with their pure performance campaigns – and this is the point at which brandformance can come into play. “For digital companies, brandformance is especially important,” says our COO Hillevi Lausten. “It’s these companies that hit the ‘performance plateau’ at some point because they tend to start with a pure performance approach.” With only limited funding at the beginning and a pressure to hit sales targets, it’s no surprise that digital startups focus first on performance.
But a performance-only approach can have a negative impact down the road. “Once a brand realises they’ve hit this wall, it takes a while to find solutions in the form of brand projects,” she continues. “And by the time that they do find those solutions, they’ve lost traction and branding suddenly feels very expensive”. Hillevi continues to point out that if digital brands started with brand and performance marketing together from the beginning there would not be such a hard differentiation between the KPIs. “And therefore the growth trajectory accelerates — with much higher efficiency too,” she concludes.
What makes up a brandformance strategy?
In a holistic strategy, objectives like increasing brand awareness sit neatly aside the likes of CPC (cost per click) and CPV (cost per visit). And for this, you can include a huge array of different channels and benefit from the improved tracking and attribution possibilities of today. Performance-centric digital channels should definitely sit alongside the likes of linear TV and OOH, often seen as more branding plays. But that’s not where it ends: there’s a whole host of other channels to consider as part of your brandformance strategy.
First up, we’d advise SEO and paid search for any terms associated with your business. This ensures that any customer who sees your ad and then looks it up on Google ends up in the right place — and not in the arms of your rivals. This serves both branding as well as performance objectives, as the use of a brand term implies some sort of brand awareness. And it looks like brands are also on the branding train: our annual Growth Guide based on the opinion of 600 marketers globally has shown that 65.5% of marketers are more focused on long-term branding efforts versus 31.3% for performance-oriented goals. Don’t forget too about complementing the traditional channels with newer ones: one of the main findings from our guide was that the likes of CTV and podcast advertising are hotly tipped to be the stars of 2022 and are essential parts to a brandformance strategy.
That’s just the quick guide. If you have many questions about the concept, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can give you the full lowdown on the marketing equivalent of Brangelina (but with more staying power).