Back to The Feed
brand marketing agency

The Art of Connection: Why Brand Marketing is Your Untapped Goldmine

March 11, 2024
by Mary Cornette

In a world where every click, view, and engagement is meticulously measured, it’s easy to forget the power of a story well told. Yet, the stories we tell transform products into beloved brands, connecting on a level far beyond the transactional. This is the essence of brand marketing, a world where emotions, values, and identities intertwine to create lasting bonds between businesses and their customers. In the hustle to optimize conversion rates and ROI, the art of brand marketing often takes a backseat to its more quantifiable cousin, performance marketing. However, a shift is on the horizon. A growing number of brands are discovering that true growth lies in balancing the science of performance with the art of branding.

Defining the Players: Brand Marketing vs. Performance Marketing

Before diving deeper, let’s clarify what brand and performance marketing mean. Brand marketing is like a marathon race that focuses on building brand equity, and sharing the story of who you are, what you stand for, and why you exist. It’s about creating emotional connections and brand loyalty that last a lifetime. On the other hand, performance marketing is like a sprint race; the data-driven sidekick that focuses on immediate results…clicks, conversions, and sales, measured to the last penny.The magic happens when these two work together. But the scales have tipped too far toward performance marketing in recent years. It’s time to rebalance and rediscover the value that brand marketing brings to the table.

Unveiling the Value of Brand Marketing

Creating Emotional Connections: People don’t just buy products; they buy into emotionally rich stories and communities of shared values. Brand marketing taps into these deeper human needs, creating loyal customers who return time and again, not just because they need something, but because they believe in what you stand for. Good storytelling is the key to creating these connections.

Building Long-term Equity: While performance marketing can drive immediate sales, brand marketing invests in the future. It builds brand equity, which can protect prices, ensure customer loyalty, and create a moat around your business.

Enhancing Performance Marketing: A strong brand can actually make your performance marketing efforts more effective. Customers who recognize and trust your brand are more likely to click through and convert, lowering acquisition costs and increasing lifetime value.

Real-World Success Stories

Several brands you MAY have heard of focus on brand marketing:

  • Apple: Apple’s secret sauce isn’t just about sleek gadgets; it’s their mastery in telling compelling stories that resonate with millions around the globe. They don’t just sell you a phone or a laptop; they invite you into an ecosystem where innovation, simplicity, and elegance meet. Apple creates an experience, a lifestyle that consumers want to be a part of — it’s about being part of the “Apple community.” This approach has made their brand iconic, transforming customers into loyal fans and advocates. By focusing on people’s emotional connection with their products and the values the brand stands for, Apple has built a brand that’s recognized worldwide and deeply loved. This emotional bond is the cornerstone of their success, proving that when it comes to long-term impact, brand marketing can create lasting relationships with consumers.
  • Nike: Nike has sprinted to the forefront of success by doing something brilliant: they sell inspiration, not just sneakers. Their iconic “Just Do It” slogan isn’t about athletic wear; it’s an invitation to push your limits, dream big, and conquer the impossible, whether you’re an athlete or just someone trying to get through the day. Nike crafts stories of perseverance, diversity, and empowerment, connecting deeply with people’s aspirations and emotions. They spotlight real stories from the sports world and beyond, making their brand synonymous with the inner strength and determination that lives in everyone. This approach has turned customers into passionate fans, who don’t just wear Nike gear but embrace its ethos. By prioritizing these emotional connections over direct sales pitches, Nike has created a globally recognized brand and cultivated a loyal community that sees Nike as a symbol of their potential.
  • Tesla: Tesla’s electrifying journey to the top is fueled by more than just its revolutionary electric vehicles; it’s powered by a vision of a sustainable future. Tesla doesn’t just sell cars; they sell a dream of a world free from fossil fuels, where innovation and technology lead the charge toward a cleaner planet. Their marketing genius lies in their ability to connect with people on a cause that matters deeply — sustainability. By focusing on their cars’ impact on the environment and each driver’s role in contributing to a greener earth, Tesla has created a brand that’s not merely about luxury or speed but about being part of a global movement. This powerful narrative has set them apart in the automotive industry and built a passionate fan base that believes in Tesla’s mission. Tesla’s success story showcases how aligning your product with a larger purpose can ignite a shared passion, turning customers into advocates for your brand and its vision.

There is a reason why these best-in-class brands are successful and why agencies reference them time and time again: they share a deep belief and understanding of the importance of investing in both brand strategy and powerful storytelling.

Nielsen reports suggest that brand-building efforts contribute significantly to long-term customer loyalty, with strong brand equity linked to a potential sales increase of up to 20%. Investing in brand marketing is like planting a tree. You might not chill in its shade tomorrow, but give it time, and you’ll have a lush oasis. 

Brand Building: Not Just for the Big Dogs

You might be thinking, “Sure, that’s great for Apple or Nike, but what about my business?” Brand marketing isn’t just for the big leagues. Small and medium-sized businesses have the most to gain from telling their unique stories. Why? Because you have the agility to be authentic and connect with your audience on a personal level and with a considerably smaller investment.

How to Kickstart Your Brand Marketing

  1. Find Your Why: What is your brand’s disruptive idea that benefits the world and, ultimately, the business? WHY your business exists. WHAT the business is working towards? Fill in the blanks in your brand strategy… Do you have a strong positioning? A brand promise? Brand principles? If not, start with a Brand Blaze™. You can’t expect to succeed in your marketing if you haven’t done your homework to develop your brand.
  2. Create a Plan: Do you have a current marketing strategy that builds off of the goals, insights, and personas from your brand strategy? If not, your plan may not support your brand or connect with your target audience. Connect these dots before moving forward.
  3. Concept a Big Idea: Uncover a consumer insight to generate a big idea and then harness creativity, good storytelling, and high-quality execution to bring it to life. Sound hard? Sounds like fun to us!

Why a Brand-Building Agency Could Be Your Best Move

Not all agencies, particularly digital marketing agencies, understand the benefits of brand marketing. HubSpot’s research indicates a growing trend in digital fatigue. As of March 2023, 31% of US adult consumers said they used an ad blocker to protect their privacy, according to Tinuiti. This trend suggests a decrease in the effectiveness of performance marketing efforts and underscores the need for brands to engage consumers through more organic, brand-focused strategies.

This is where a brand-building agency comes into play. Such agencies start with a strong foundation in brand strategy and then craft marketing strategies that reinforce that brand story, value, and promise. The benefits include:

  • Distinctive Positioning: In a saturated market, unique positioning can help you stand out, not just for what you sell, but for who you are.
  • Expert Storytelling: Agencies specialize in distilling your brand’s essence into compelling narratives that capture your audience’s imagination.
  • Creativity: Creative thinkers, artists, classically trained designers, and writers are your secret weapon when it comes to differentiation. Original thinking and unique creative IDEAS are going to help your brand’s marketing stand out in a world where everyone is claiming to be a creative by leveraging tools like Canva, ChatGPT, and Midjourney. Trust an agency that has true expertise and creativity to break-through. 

Marketing Expert Call to Action

For marketing leaders, your role is not just to drive sales, but to steward your brand into the hearts and minds of your customers. Brand marketing isn’t just another strategy; it’s the heart and soul of your business. It’s what makes people choose you, stick with you, and rave about you to their friends. So, while those performance marketing metrics are important, don’t forget to invest in the essence of your brand. After all, in a world where everyone’s selling something, the real question is, what are you giving? By partnering with a brand-building agency, you can unlock the full power of your brand, creating not just customers, but believers. Contact FUEL and start your journey towards meaningful, lasting connections with your customers.

In Conclusion

I’m not saying dump all your performance marketing strategies and go all-in on brand marketing. It’s about balance.

Marketing gurus Les Binet and Peter Field (The Long and the Short of It: Balancing Short and Long-Term Marketing Strategies) have found that the optimal balance for marketing spend to maximize overall efficiency is 60% in brand building and 40% in performance marketing. Their research across numerous case studies and sectors shows that brand building plays a critical role in long-term growth and profitability.

Every brand differs depending on its strategy, goals, budget, industry, market, etc. Just consider an approach that honors both the data-driven precision of performance marketing AND the emotive power of brand marketing. By championing your brand’s story, you pave the way for transient success and a legacy that lasts. Your story may be your most powerful asset.

Think beyond the click and create a story that connects. Make your brand not just seen, but felt. Ignite your brand’s full potential with FUEL.

Contact / Work With FUEL
Let’s ignite your brand’s full potential. Reach out to learn more using the form below.
All fields are required

Can’t wait to chat!

Courtney Beasley, Executive Director, Marketing and Growth Strategy
Contact / Press Inquiries
Our experts are on tap to talk all things marketing strategy and building a brand that ignites demand. Reach out using this form to contact our team for press inquiries.
All fields are required

Can’t wait to chat!

Meredith Kinsey, President and COO
Contact / General Inquiries
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Use this form to reach out to our team for help.
All fields are required

Can’t wait to chat!

Meredith Kinsey, President and COO