by Jay Kent-Hume, Co-founder at The Sociable Society

Traditionally, branding and performance marketing have remained disparate — sometimes with conflicting agendas and outcomes. 

In its first mainstream iteration (think the first breakout YouTubers or Instagrammers crossing the 1M follower threshold), influencer marketing was treated more akin to celebrity endorsements serving to align or enhance the sponsoring brand with the influencer’s aesthetic. 

Then came the rise of micro/tiered or more niche-based influencers. These influencers proved that influencer marketing could also be powerfully effective when it came to more traditional performance-based marketing. 

As marketing has evolved to its present iteration (largely a byproduct of post-pandemic behaviors/tastes and each brand and social media platform’s attempt to cater to such), we’re increasingly finding influencer marketing to not only being adept at bridging the gap between brand marketing and performance marketing — but one of the few viable marketing strategies that can do so. 

This article delves into the nuances of both marketing types and illustrates how influencer marketing can be harnessed to achieve success in both domains.

Understanding Brand Marketing

Definition: Brand marketing focuses on building a brand’s reputation and identity over time. It involves creating a lasting impression on the target audience, fostering loyalty, and enhancing brand equity.

Importance: Brand marketing is crucial for establishing a brand’s presence in the market. It differentiates a brand from its competitors, builds customer loyalty, and supports long-term business growth.

Long-term Goals: The primary goals of brand marketing include increasing brand awareness, creating a strong brand identity, and fostering emotional connections with customers.

Examples: Iconic campaigns like Nike’s “Just Do It” or Apple’s “Think Different” showcase the power of brand marketing in creating a lasting brand legacy.

Understanding Performance Marketing

Definition: Performance marketing focuses on driving specific actions or conversions, such as clicks, sales, or leads. It is highly measurable and based on achieving predefined performance metrics.

Importance: Performance marketing is essential for achieving immediate business objectives. It provides measurable results, allowing marketers to optimize campaigns for better ROI.

Short-term Goals: The primary goals of performance marketing include increasing sales, generating leads, and driving website traffic.

Examples: Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, affiliate marketing, and retargeting ads are typical/traditional examples of performance marketing strategies.

Brand vs Performance Marketing: Key Differences To Know

Metrics: Brand marketing metrics include brand awareness, customer loyalty, and brand sentiment. Performance marketing metrics focus on conversions, click-through rates, and return on ad spend (ROAS).

Strategies: Brand marketing strategies often involve storytelling, emotional engagement, and long-term brand building. Performance marketing strategies prioritize direct response, targeting, and measurable actions.

Goals: Brand marketing aims to build a lasting brand presence, while performance marketing focuses on achieving immediate, tangible results.

Budget Allocation: Brand marketing typically requires a significant upfront investment for long-term benefits, whereas performance marketing budgets are often tied to short-term performance and ROI.

Introduction to Influencer Marketing

Definition: Influencer marketing involves partnering with individuals who have a significant online following and can influence their audience’s purchasing decisions.

Types of Influencers: Influencers can be categorized based on their follower count and influence level, including mega-influencers, macro-influencers, micro-influencers, and nano-influencers.

Additionally, influencers can also be categorized by their interests or niches (e.g. DIY, outdoors, beauty, health, etc.). 

Benefits: Influencer marketing offers several advantages — including enhanced brand credibility, access to niche audiences, and authentic content creation.

How Influencer Marketing Integrates with Brand Marketing

Building Brand Awareness: Influencers can help brands reach a broader audience and increase visibility through their established follower base.

Enhancing Brand Loyalty: By partnering with trusted influencers, brands can foster stronger emotional connections and loyalty among their audience.

Authentic Content Creation: Influencers regularly create content that resonates with their followers, ensuring the brand message is delivered authentically and seamlessly (think more of a trusted friend recommendation and conversation vs. being served a static ad).

How Influencer Marketing Integrates with Performance Marketing

Tracking Performance Metrics: Influencer marketing allows brands to track specific performance metrics, such as engagement rates, click-through rates, and conversions.

Additionally, working with influencers offers metrics and valuable assets typically not available through traditional performance marketing tactics (e.g. social sentiment analysis, reviews) 

Driving Conversions: Influencers can drive direct actions, such as product purchases or sign-ups, through call-to-actions and affiliate links.

ROI Measurement: By analyzing the performance data, brands can measure the ROI of influencer campaigns and optimize future strategies accordingly.

Strategies To Achieve Brand and Performance Marketing With Influencers

Content Strategy: Develop an influencer marketing content strategy that aligns with both brand and performance goals, ensuring a cohesive approach to marketing.

Campaign Planning: Plan influencer marketing campaigns that integrate brand-building activities with performance-driven tactics to achieve a balanced marketing approach.

Budget Management: Allocate budgets strategically between both the brand and performance aspects of your influencer marketing campaigns/programs to maximize overall marketing effectiveness.

How To Choose the Right Influencers

Identifying Relevant Influencers: Look for influencers whose audience aligns with your target market and brand values.

Evaluating Influencer Metrics: Assess influencers based on their engagement rates, follower demographics, and past campaign performance.

Building Relationships: Establish and foster strong relationships with influencers to ensure long-term collaboration and mutual success. If you truly want to achieve synergistic success from both the brand and performance marketing sides of your influencer campaign, aim to find, build, and strategize long term with creators (vs. pitching one-offs). 

How To Craft Effective Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Campaign Objectives: Define clear objectives for your influencer campaigns, whether it’s to increase brand awareness or drive specific actions.

Content Guidelines: Provide influencers with content guidelines that reflect your brand’s voice and messaging, while allowing creative freedom.

Collaboration Tools: While there are a host of collaboration tools, platforms and/or marketplaces to streamline communication and manage influencer campaigns efficiently, these tools often come with a steep learning curve and/or require upfront and prohibitive monthly fees.

If you’re already an influencer marketing expert, then these tools could be the route for you, otherwise, consider working with an experienced and proven influencer marketing agency.

Measuring the Success of Influencer Campaigns

KPIs for Brand Marketing: Track metrics such as brand sentiment, reach, and engagement to measure the impact of influencer campaigns on brand marketing.

KPIs for Performance Marketing: Monitor metrics like conversion rates, sales, and website traffic to assess the effectiveness of influencer campaigns in achieving performance goals.

Analytical Tools: Use analytical tools to gather data, analyze results, and optimize influencer campaigns for better outcomes.

Case Studies: Successful Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Examples from Various Industries: Explore case studies from different industries to understand how brands have successfully leveraged influencer marketing for both brand and performance marketing (noting items like number of influencers engaged, time period, pieces of content created, social media platforms leveraged, etc.).

Case Studies From The Sociable Society:

Lessons Learned: Identify key takeaways and best practices from successful influencer campaigns.

Best Practices: Implement best practices to enhance the effectiveness of your influencer marketing strategy.

The Challenges in Influencer Marketing

In the rapidly evolving landscape of influencer marketing, brands face numerous challenges that can hinder the success of their campaigns. From the threat of fake followers and the need for content authenticity to the prevalence of influencer fraud, navigating these pitfalls requires expertise and strategic planning. 

Moreover, the complexity of regulatory compliance adds another layer of difficulty.

Common Pitfalls: Be aware of common challenges, such as fake followers, content authenticity, and influencer fraud.

Risk Management: Develop strategies to mitigate risks and ensure the success of your influencer marketing campaigns.

Regulatory Compliance: Ensure compliance with relevant regulations and guidelines to avoid legal issues.

Working with an experienced influencer marketing agency can not only help you navigate these challenges with confidence (allowing you to maximize the impact of your campaigns and achieve your marketing goals) but also provide the expert guidance and resources needed to execute effective and legally sound campaigns.

Future Trends & Considerations in Influencer Marketing

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for brands aiming to maintain a competitive edge. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through influencer marketing. 

By collaborating with influencers and creators, brands can leverage the latest trends and technologies to reach their target audience more effectively. This approach not only keeps brands relevant on emerging platforms but also ensures they are in tune with the ever-changing preferences of consumers.

Emerging Platforms: Stay updated with new and emerging social media platforms that can enhance your influencer marketing efforts. 

Influencers are often early adopters of new and emerging social media platforms. By partnering with these trailblazers, brands can gain early access to burgeoning audiences and capitalize on innovative marketing opportunities. This proactive approach allows brands to establish a presence on platforms like TikTok, Clubhouse, or the next big app before their competitors. 

Evolving Consumer Preferences: Adapt your influencer marketing strategies to align with changing consumer preferences and behaviors.

Consumer behavior is constantly shifting, influenced by cultural trends, technological advancements, and social movements. Influencers, with their close connection to their followers, have a unique insight into these evolving preferences. 

Brands that work with influencers can adapt their marketing strategies quickly and effectively, aligning with the latest consumer desires and expectations.

In short, influencer marketing is a powerful strategy for brands to stay at the forefront of emerging platforms and evolving consumer preferences — and ultimately by working with creators, brands can predictably drive growth and success in today’s fast-paced market.

Conclusion: Brand vs Performance Marketing? Hit Both Effectively With Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a potent strategy for achieving both brand and performance marketing goals. 

By recognizing how strategic partnerships with influencers can bridge the gap between these previously divergent objectives, brands can significantly enhance their visibility, build strong customer loyalty, and drive conversions. 

This dual approach not only amplifies brand presence but also ensures measurable performance outcomes — making influencer marketing an indispensable strategy for today’s savvy brands. 

Want to do all the above but don’t know where to start? Give us a shout. We wrote the book on achieving both brand and performance marketing objectives with influencers and we’d be happy to share 15+ years of insight, experience and results with you.