brand vs performance

Brand vs. Performance: Balancing Building Rep versus Revenue

Brand vs. Performance

It’s an age-old marketing question.

And they’re often seemingly at odds with each other.

Brand marketing

Brand marketers want to build for the long term and tend to think more higher-level (strong brand = strong company in the long run).

Brand marketing often involves high customer acquisition cost (CAC) but helps build a higher long term customer value (LTV).

Brand marketers often see performance activity as too “short-term.”

Performance marketing

Performance marketers are thinking tactically about how to make the company money right now to ensure the company will survive now and into the future.

Performance marketing often involves low customer acquisition cost (CAC) but a lower long term customer value (LTV).

The performance marketer will see brand marketing as not making enough impact on what matters (making money and having a sustainable business) and will struggle with brand constraints imposed on their campaigns.

So it goes…

So the brand vs. performance dichotomy is an old fight in the marketing world. 

Kinda like Apple vs Android

Or Batman vs Superman.

Yet, it’s a false dichotomy. Both are interlinked.

“The truth is, a brand drives performance and performance marketing informs brand perception.”

Let’s take a look more closely.

How does performance marketing inform brand perception?

The prospect experiences any message as a representation of the brand. They don’t make a difference between performance-oriented ads and organic social media posts designed to build a brand.

Performance marketing is another way of delivering a brand.

Does brand marketing drive sales?


When you pause your performance campaigns, all the sales that keep coming are driven by your brand.

Some potential advice to marketers

For brand builders and performance marketers.

To the brand marketer

You’re building a value-generating asset.

That’s why brand equity is measured in dollars.

To tune your work with the performance team, shift your focus from:

“What’s good for the brand”


“How can I build a brand while enabling performance marketing to do their best work in a brand-enhancing way.”

To the performance marketer

The value of a brand (or the lack of it), will impact your metrics.

A successful brand will lead to high ROI performance campaigns.

The brand constraints on your campaigns are not nonsense.

The end goal is improving a company’s revenue, not seeing beautiful stats on the Facebook Ads dashboard.

To the CMO

Align your teams’ incentives.

If your brand and performance teams work toward different incentives, it may lead them to work against each other.

Make sure that there are no conflicts of interest between the two teams.

Instead, encourage synergies and reward them for delivering on these synergies.

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