Brand Building vs Direct Response

Differences Between Brand-Building and Direct Response

This article has been put together in the context of customer acquisition. We understand the need to use familiar terms so kindly take note of these synonyms that are embedded within the article.

The use of “direct response” as “conversion-focused” should be noted. Also, the term “generating awareness” could be used instead of “brand-building”.

First, you shall answer to a need

To begin with, we need to quickly involve people who are seriously in need of products or services which are the kind you offer. Business owners should have their ‘business eyes’ fixated on the pressing and immediate needs of their audience. This is even more important if you won’t involve the long sales cycle. To access your services or products, as the case may be, you have to make sure of your availability to your audience whenever they need you.

If you’re in an environment where there is high competition, it can never be truer as you and your products need to be ubiquitous. Your brand needs to stand out so you cannot spend all the money you have trying to usurp a reputable and well-established brand. That’s a bad business strategy.

In place of this, just ensure you do your homework well by first being very intelligent and prudent with your budget. Then take advantage of fine margins and seek out opportunities. After you do these, get yourself ruggedly engaged in the competitive market through social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook or the paid search like Google Ads. Investment in digital advertising of your services or products should be meaningful enough by the time you get your returns. After all, there is the need for you to have a regular source of revenue to maintain growth and bring about consistency.

But, do not put brand-building aside too much

Even though folks with amazing products,  can be encouraged to carefully spend the major part of their early budget on acquisition channels and direct response campaigns, as they might not see a need for brand-building.

The truth is conversion-focused activities go hand-in-hand with brand building. To build your brand and be a force to be reckoned with, you need to always engage your audience on social media. Be very active. Help build the profile of those team members that are very instrumental to the growth of your brand.  

While engaging your audience, let your conversation be built around your niche. Readers will always check back for more of your content if you regularly dish out amazing visual and/or written content.
Note that placing very expensive ads at this stage of your business could prove very costly. Maintain your brand building on a low level. Always have it in mind that you can achieve regular partnerships and value-oriented marketing.

Grow with the flow – gradually investing more in brand-building

You might found insightful that building your brand for the long term can greatly affect how effective your direct response ads are. This is as a result of the benefits of familiarity and trust-building that have been established. This doesn’t work the other way around anyway.

In building a unique brand, the significance of your creativity cannot be overemphasized. Beware of the action-packed characteristics of direct response ads that are incapable of adding meaningful contributions to your brand-building process.

At this stage, having focused on your ‘need-based’ audience, you can then target your budget towards other counterparts that come a level lower on the scale of importance. This shift of focus can happen on the same platform like Facebook ads which have features that you can use effortlessly from lead gen campaigns to awareness campaigns.

Interestingly, there are new means where you can get to new people who are not aware of your products and services. You can use the Facebook Algorithms which enable you to create similar audiences.
This perspective adopts the three approaches which are: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.

Leads vs brand — an ever-continuous balancing act

Balancing is very crucial at this stage as you will need not lean too much towards a particular area while the other one suffers. Entirely focusing on brand-building while taking a lot of attention away from acquisition means you are damaging your brand and business altogether. In the end, you won’t get the required engagements and connections needed for the prosperity of the brand.

The same goes for shifting more attention to leads over the expense of your brand. In doing this, you automatically neglect the need-based audience which indicates a lack of drive for possible aspirants to look in the direction of your products or services. 

You will need to ensure balance to avoid the negative effects on your business growth whether in the short or long run.

Your brand is the sum of the customer’s total experience while using your product or service. Branding is not just about positioning yourself for the sale of your product or service to your customer. It is much more than that. Proper branding breeds emotions. You need to set up and strengthen your brand equity early in order not to miss the right connections that will matter in the end.

There is a difference between having likes, shares, and followers on your social media pages and the willingness of these online social media users to bring out money to buy your service or product. Again, balance your leads and brand. You won’t regret it.

Conclusion: Brand-building vs Direct Response Activities

As much as dividing your marketing budget is important, a number of factors still need to be considered. They are: 

  • The amount of money you are willing to invest
  • Your niche
  • Your short and long-term goals
  • Your competitor set
  • Your position

If you are just starting, do remember it is important for you to keep the ATL ads and tube stations for the future. They are fantastic for renowned and popular brands. You will need to first connect with your audience and build a name for yourself. Generally, the more mature your business is, the more the sharing of budget and effort should be aimed for.

In short:

– Even though it is wise to focus on brand-building for early-stage companies, it’s recommended that the direct response need-based audiences should take the higher budget. In the case of surplus, funds even after the earmarked amount has been met, should be directed towards awareness. 

– Meanwhile, for a larger and well-known business, it is suggested that brand-building should take the upper hand in the 60/40 when you seek to maximize your marketing budget. You can find this recommendation in the key report by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA).

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