In today's world, ad formats are supporting multiple objectives, and as the purchase funnel effectively 'collapses,' brands are choosing to merge brand ethos and performance-marketing tactics to reduce friction for the consumer. Creating consistency from a brand’s marketing purpose to marketing tactics elicits trust from consumers, creating deeper relationships and ultimately driving businesses to be more relevant and powerful.
When combining purpose and performance, marketers have an opportunity to identify ways for brand purpose to shine across each of these interactions in order to drive a seamless, enriched, and satisfying consumer experience.
Brandformance is a term that references the blending of brand and performance marketing to optimize initiatives that are both branding- and performance-oriented.
This does not mean that communicating a brand’s purpose is less important. Instead, it means that brands and marketers are challenged to distil a brand essence across multiple formats, channels, and consumer experiences. Creative visuals, tone, and copy are some of the components that become challenged in effectively communicating a brand’s promise.
When considering the blending of brand purpose and performance, and channelling Brandformance, we see how a brand’s purpose can be defined through performance. Brands know how to use performance media and tailored messages to convert a brand desire into product interaction and purchase. However, by focusing on multiple audience segments, brands and products can also use performance media to communicate specific RTBs of a brand and product, more effectively engaging with their audience.
As consumers move through the buying cycle, they feel as if they’re part of a movement - which reinforces their positive emotional connection with the brand, deepening brand trust, while they increase in knowledge about the product itself. Leveraging a brand’s purpose and performance combines the unique strengths of branding and performance marketing and allows for the two once-opposite disciplines to craft big-picture strategies that drive both long-term brand recall and measurable conversion results.
Identify your purpose
Defy conventional notions of brand purpose and promise to get to the why of your business. Think about what is your brand’s ethos, what makes you different and why it matters. In other words, what is a brand's reason for being beyond making money. A strong brand purpose allows your voice to be heard in the marketplace and serves as a guidepost for all brand decisions.
That said, the brand is in service of the product; people don’t fall in love with a brand solely based on its purpose. When the purpose supports the product authentically and the brand and product come from the same place of intention, they connect the rational with the emotional.
Say how you feel
When building a purposeful brand, it is important to say what you mean and mean what you say. If we zoom out and reflect on the scale of technological acceleration, climate change, geopolitical frictions, and throw in a global pandemic and more fake news than we ever could have imagined, we can conclude that in our chaotic world, the importance of authenticity, truth, and trust is paramount.
In coming years, Gen-Z (consumers born between 1997 and 2012) will have the biggest influx of purchasing power. Gen-Z is a generation of purpose-driven individuals, who continue to showcase that today’s consumers want to know that the brands they support align with their core values. This next generation can be a brand’s biggest cheerleader or its most critical critic. If a brand can’t match their expectations by walking the walk, you’ll likely lose the interest of your Gen-Z audience.
What brands can do
- Transparency builds trust. Brands should stand behind their values with fearlessness. In doing so, they foster the opportunity for true connection.
- Context is everything. In integrating brand and performance objectives, it is important to remember that when and where messaging is placed matters. Brand messaging that is driven by the brand’s north star (i.e., the brand purpose) should be aligned across all channels for it to feel authentic but can vary based on context and the target audience. For example, a brand might have one set of messaging for its social media accounts but another for its TV campaign. Yet both are still consistent with each other and with their brand purpose and business objectives.
Your brand purpose is what differentiates a brand in the marketplace, it communicates the why behind brand decisions. Blending a brand’s purpose and performance is an approach that allows companies to review their brand DNA, create a platform for purpose and promise, and factor it into every aspect of their business. In times of uncertainty, this will be the signal to adjust sails and move forward with confidence in the most authentic direction for your brand.
When done right, a brand will have a better chance at driving business growth and delivering a customer experience, ultimately building brand value.
As a society, we find ourselves in a moment of transition with a heightened need for experiences that defy convention to foster more meaningful connections. Ahead 2022: The Return to Why explores the motivational shifts leading the most impactful changes across media today. To learn more, download the report here.