Performance branding is a modern mashup of traditional digital marketing strategies that mixes deep data and brand value into a potent singular focus that’s ideal for startups and new brands.
This strategy gives companies the best of both worlds by coming up with the key performance indicators (KPIs) that increase brand equity and drive sales so vital for early-stage companies to achieve profitability.
In this article, we’ll cover the elements of this mixed marketing concept, the benefits and challenges involved, and the simple steps you need to set it up and measure your success.
Performance Branding Explained
Performance branding combines the best parts of brand marketing and performance marketing (hence the name). Brand marketing is all about long-term goals, authenticity, and creative work. The point is to create people-focused value that builds a connection between the consumer and the brand. The KPIs here are brand awareness, brand identity, and a great customer experience.
Apple is one of the most valuable brands in the world. Their branding campaigns create an emotional connection with individual users. This strategy helps make Apple a strong brand, but ad spend on brand marketing won't drive immediate sales. These tactics build long-term relationships that result in sales when the time is right for the consumer.
By contrast, performance marketing is real-time and profit-driven. The short-term goal of sales, conversions, or sign-ups is the focus of this strategy. Analyzing data is key here.
You need to track attribution, or where the sales come from, to optimize the channels you use. That may include trying to get attention on social media, generating content on owned media (your own site, newsletters, etc.), or buying paid media ads on platforms like LinkedIn to drive these metrics. Analysis of the data produced by these efforts guides your efforts to plan for future sales.
Meta (you know, Facebook) has struggled to create a strong brand identity. They have instead focused on using consumer behavior to create sales for companies that advertise on their network. Optimizing for sales will show direct gains, but it does not help you build a strong brand. You have to keep spending more money to get those short-term sales.
By combining goals through performance branding, you increase both brand value and sales. This focus also ensures that your marketing campaigns are aligned with your business strategy. Since the KPIs for this strategy are revised to reflect both sets of goals, they can be created by a smaller (or part-time) marketing team who is willing to get these separate concerns out of their marketing silos.
The Benefits of Performance Branding
Performance branding is perfectly suited for modern consumers and changes in today's marketing. Consider the following advantages of this strategy:
- Personal connection: Millennial and Gen-Z audiences are now the largest cohort to target and they demand more from brands than their parents did. These consumers want a personal connection with brands and to know they share goals and values, like concern for the planet or diversity.
- Factoring in privacy concerns: Privacy is becoming more important to consumers, too, and with changes in iOS settings, it can be harder to track consumer behavior to optimize sales. Marketing needs more touchpoints than ever before, so a focus on both increasing interactions and making them more meaningful is important.
- Authenticity and trust: Building a brand with authentic messaging is key for long-interval campaigns common for B2B companies, too. Over time, you build credibility with these buyers by showing they can rely on your product and company to help them achieve their goals.
- Consistent analysis: Performance branding also allows you to track long-term and short-term gains in one report while also keeping your communications consistent throughout your marketing funnel. While you may change tactics in different phases, better alignment throughout both reduces your workload and unifies your messaging.
Focusing on both brand awareness and performance with a single strategy provides many benefits. You gain conversions, but you also learn more about consumer behavior and build customer loyalty. These benefits lead to improved marketing effectiveness, increased customer lifetime value, and the ability to evolve as the market does.
The Challenges of Performance Branding
Along with the many benefits, there are some challenges when using this strategy:
- Determining the right KPIs: First, figuring out the right KPIs that are important to your brand and conversions alike takes research and effort. There are a number of factors that can influence brand performance, and it can be hard to identify which of these factors is most important the first time you launch a campaign. Teams should experiment to get the right mix.
- Heavy resource commitments: Performance branding also requires an investment of time and resources. In order to track brand performance, a company must collect data and analyze it on a regular basis. This data analysis will be more complex than just tracking sales, but the value of this data is much greater.
- Managing sustained success: Finally, it can be difficult to maintain consistent brand performance over time. Even if a company is able to improve its performance on one or more KPIs, it may prove difficult to sustain over time.
If your team struggles in finding the right KPIs for this strategy, consider hiring a performance branding agency to help. Agencies have the expertise necessary for data analysis and optimizing your funnel marketing. By bringing an agency in, high-energy startups can focus on their core business goals and let the agency develop their performance branding strategy. Internal teams can take over after the performance branding plan is set.
4 Steps to Implement Performance Branding
When you are ready to level up your marketing with performance branding, there are four steps to get you on the right track.
- Identify the KPIs that portray your brand well but also drive sales. This can be done through analysis and combining insights across your advertising efforts.
- If you cannot meld the two together, set up to capture data about multiple KPIs that you bring together into one report.
- Develop a plan to improve your KPIs. Keep the same plan across all of your channels, including social media, articles/blogs, and any white papers or research you publish.
- Make adjustments based on the data you capture to optimize your efforts with each campaign. Keep learning from your campaigns on your list of goals.
Depending on the status of your company, you may need to adjust your overall marketing strategy to implement this new strategy. Others will get by with tweaks to existing campaigns or more effective tracking of metrics. In either case, it is important to keep in mind that performance branding is all about improving your company's success on key metrics over time.
As such, you should make sure that your marketing campaigns are designed to help you achieve your desired results, which should be a mix of long-term brand strength and short-term closed sales.
Measuring the Success of Performance Branding
Once you have launched performance branding, it’s important to track your progress and make adjustments as necessary. This helps ensure that your campaigns are having the desired effect and that your company is making progress toward its goals. By tracking your progress and optimizing as you go, you can guarantee that your efforts are paying off.
Asking questions is a big part of confirming that your marketing is working. How does your performance compare to your competitors? There is plenty of public data to compare, including the domain authority of your site, social media interactions and mentions, and some sales data. There are a variety of tools that can help report on this information to tell this part of the story.
Reviewing your website metrics is important, but don’t forget about customer surveys. They are an ideal way to get direct feedback on how your brand is performing from people who bought your product. You can ask customers about their overall happiness with your company. Even better, ask if they would recommend your company to friends and family, as this is a key indicator of true satisfaction.
By tracking these metrics over time, you can get a good sense of how effective your performance branding efforts are and how you can keep optimizing to improve the positive impact this strategy has on your business.
Evolve with Performance Branding
Performance branding is a powerful blend of marketing strategies that can provide brands with a number of benefits, including increased brand awareness, conversions, and growth. By keeping your marketing consistent and focused on key performance indicators, you can maximize the impact of their marketing efforts and focus more time on driving the success of your business.
If you are ready to accelerate your marketing efforts with performance branding, Delverise can enable you to find the unique blend of strategies that works for you. Talk to a growth strategist to get started