Breaking the branding vs sales dilemma

The benefits of performance branding are significant says Vodafone’s Ahmed Khaled

In the new age of AI and the hype around it, everyone is trying to capitalise on its maximum potential thinking it’s the silver bullet for all the marketing problems.

But AI is an enabler, not a strategy. Hence, I believe it is crucial to take a step back and revisit our approach. We need to thoroughly analyse our decision-making process and strategic thinking, which cannot be replicated by AI but can definitely be complemented by it. It is time to revisit the fundamentals of marketing, going back to Marketing 101.

With the emergence of AI, we are still exploring the best use cases and determining how to effectively incorporate such a tool into our day-to-day marketing plans. AI can only produce good outputs if we provide it with the proper input. Therefore, it’s crucial to establish a solid foundation in order to have a stable platform to build upon.

In the world of marketing, two main types of strategies hold significant importance: branding strategies and sales/performance strategies. Each strategy offers a range of benefits along with a few minor drawbacks. Let’s consider taking the branding route.

You have successfully established a strong presence and generated top-of-mind awareness. You have effectively driven consideration and encouraged trials. However, when it comes to the bottom of the sales funnel, you may be experiencing a shortfall in actual sales and numbers.

On the other hand, if you choose the performance marketing route, you can potentially earn a substantial amount of money and have a strong lower funnel. However, you may face challenges when it comes to scaling up and building brand loyalty and likeability.

Performance branding

This is a relatively new marketing strategy that more brands are embracing. With further technological advancements, we can expect this strategy to continue dominating the scene until the next major breakthrough emerges.

The benefits of performance branding are significant, combining the key elements of each strategy and amplifying their impact. By integrating the brand story, emotional connection and interactions with main performance elements like measurements, sales and conversions, it creates a powerful synergy.

For example, Spotify has built a strong brand reputation by leveraging data and analytics to deliver personalised recommendations and playlists to its users. It delivers personalised messages with a clear call to action, aiming to generate immediate sales through targeted messaging and promotions.

But how does the performance branding strategy work exactly? Let’s take a closer look at its five main pillars.

Identifying your audience. Break down your audience into smaller clusters, and then further break it down. Move beyond basic demographics and behavioural segmentation and delve deeper into the mindset of each cluster.

Brand messaging. It’s crucial to have a fixed and clear message, but the key lies in how you deliver it to each audience. By leveraging creative freedom and utilising tools that offer dynamic creative optimisation, you can break through the clutter and leave a lasting impression in the minds of your audience.

Marketing channels and placements. It is crucial to be as efficient as possible. Each channel has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it is important to carefully consider the trade-offs in order to create a well-balanced strategy.

Measurements. Once you have set them up correctly, you will have access to all the data and insights necessary to guide you. The key is to establish a fixed set of KPIs that can be used for reference and comparison.

Optimisation. Each day, you will receive numerous signals, and it is up to you to utilise them effectively in order to enhance your overall performance.

The world of marketing has always required a delicate balance between brand building and driving immediate sales. While each approach has its own benefits and drawbacks, the newest addition to the marketing world, performance branding offers a solution that combines the best of both worlds.

By Ahmed Khaled, Media Team Leader CBU at Vodafone Egypt