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Performance vs. Brand

It’s surprising to see a debate raging around the topic of performance media versus brand media [Click here to read the debate ]. Every ad you place through whatever channel will generate some immediate benefit in terms of performance and ultimately will have some effect on how your brand is perceived. It’s true there are some channel formats that lend themselves better to performance than others; a long copy full page newspaper ad will always generate more immediate sales than a 48-sheet poster. But ultimately, it’s the message that matters. A summer sale with limited time discounts is likely to generate an immediate uplift in sales whatever medium it is advertised in. But at what cost to the value of the brand long term? Maintaining positive brand identity is a challenge faced by many businesses that consistently sell on value, price and discounts – supermarkets, for example. On the other hand, we see luxury brands such as Rolex using a vast array of media channels including print, TV, out of home, digital but with unambiguous, aspirational messaging that consistently reinforces luxury brand values, clearly emphasising long term brand building over short term sales.

The conclusion to the Thinkbox inspired debate seems to be that we should no longer choose between performance and branding but rather consider media channels in terms of their effectiveness in scale, efficiency and time. But surely these metrics are already key considerations in any media plan irrespective of whether the goal is instant performance or long-term branding?

Our conclusion is first and foremost be clear in your objectives and focus on the message that will deliver the objective. Then plan your media according to the scale, efficiency and time of each channel!