Brand marketing deserves 50 per cent of your budget

Why Brand Building Deserves 50% of Your Marketing Budget

How did Pals become the drink of the summer? And why is everyone talking about Archies right now?

It's brand marketing, baby!

Without realising it, you're probably already doing brand marketing. And we'd be willing to guess that all the marketing you love is brand marketing too - might explain why Barbie is still imprinted in your psyche.

All the brand experts are saying the same thing right now: 50% of your marketing budget needs to go towards brand marketing in order to create future demand and business growth.*

You can't ignore it, and by the end of this article you'll understand why.

Performance marketing (aka marketing focused on short-term sales) secures your low-hanging fruit, but when those people are gone, what are you left with? If you haven't brought new people into your orbit, you've got nothing. We've all read devastating stories of early success start-ups who experience fast growth, then plateau and eventually go broke. This is directly linked to their lack of investment in long-term brand marketing.

Brand marketing is a concept that has marketers across the globe excited, in part because it finally provides validation to something we've been doing for years but never had global backing for.

Here's why you should be paying attention to it.

Why 50% of your budget needs to go towards brand

Brand marketing refers to all your marketing efforts that aren't directly connected with performance marketing. To understand one, you must understand the other.

Brand marketing is upper-funnel, long-term, and emotional, brand-based marketing - it encapsulates all the work you do to build brand preference and love.

Performance marketing is short-term and product focused - its core purpose is to sell.

If you want both sales in the short term and growth in the long-term, you must split your marketing and budget evenly across both. Yep, that's right - 50% of your marketing budget MUST go towards marketing that isn't directly linked to sales in the short term (I can hear your CFO gasp from here).

Not enough businesses do this because of two key things:

  • Brand marketing is hard to measure - it's tricky to connect brand marketing with sales in the short term
  • The senior leadership don't understand it so they don't approve the budget their marketers request.

We've witnessed this first hand with a LOT of our own clients - campaigns cut short because they haven't been given the time to thrive, budgets not approved because CEOs want sales tomorrow, and marketers not trusted to implement their expertise. It grinds our gears.

So, we thought it was about time we addressed this massive business misstep.

As the legend Mark Ritson captures so well: "If you look for returns from your marketing on a 12 month or shorter time scale, you will inevitably undervalue long-term brand building and move too much of your marketing investment into shorter-term tactical fare."

And while that is absolutely important for the short term, if you want to achieve your lofty business goals, you need to start thinking with a future-focused mindset.

That all starts with BRAND MARKETING which requires both bravery and belief.


Hawt tip: If you're a marketer who understands brand marketing and is in the pits of despair because your boss won't approve your brand budget, you need to read THIS article: https://www.marketingweek.com/mark-ritson-answer-question-marketers/


Examples of top tier brand marketing at work

It's no surprise that global brands are good at brand marketing - partly because they have massive budgets and partly because everyone already knows about them anyway.

So, we'll ignore the Apples and McDonalds of the world for now; although, they both do excellent brand marketing that will undoubtedly inspire you.

But I'm going to share some local examples of brands who we think are doing a phenomenal job of brand marketing and community engagement.


PALS

Everyone remembers the 'summer of Pals'. You could find those cute pastel cans eeeeeeverywhere. The cleverness began in the brand name itself: "Fancy sharing a Pals with your pal?" I mean, c'mon!

They ran competitions and had everyone tagging them on Instagram (who doesn't want to win free alcohol?). And they also became known for hosting an epic rave every summer with limited tickets and Pals flowing.

From a brand perspective, they had people eating out of the palm of their hands (almost reminiscent of the iconic Lewis Road Creamery chocolate milk shortage of 2014). Were they the most delicious RTD brand out there? Probably not. But were they the most talked about RTD brand in the country? Without a freakin doubt!

Brand marketing is all about brand experience and community engagement, and Pals is outstanding on both accounts.


ARCHIES FOOTWEAR

Ok yes, Archies is our video client, but they're also doing a phenomenal job of brand marketing. They came to us at the start of the year to film their first brand marketing video, a hilarious piece-to-camera with a character we co-created - 6x foot masseuse winner Yanderas Janderas (watch below).

With over 11 million views on TikTok, the video has made waves across USA, Canada, Europe, UK, New Zealand, and Australia. As a company that traditionally used performance marketing to successfully grow their business (e.g. user-generated content), Archies quickly saw the impact the first video had on their brand and consequently came back to scheme and film their next two brand videos with us.

Their genius move was making the decision to centre their brand around a single charismatic character who will now appear across all their brand videos, creating a familiar thread that ties their brand marketing together.

You should see the comments on their ads - it's pure marketing heaven.


PRETTY LITTLE MARKETER

Sophie, the whizz behind Pretty Little Marketer (PLM), is a very clever brand marketer. Her whole business is centred around providing coaching and advice to other marketers who want to build their personal brand and elevate their content strategy.

Every single post she publishes on LinkedIn is ridiculously useful and never sales-focused. She banks on the fact that people will find her resources so helpful that when the time comes to hire a consultant, she's the first person that comes to mind.

It works - in just three years, she's grown from an entry-level marketer to a global authority on personal branding. She's hired as a speaker, coaches big brands in the UK, and gets incredible engagement rates on all of her content. Seriously, follow her if you haven't already.


WONKY BOX

Heard of Wonky Box? Bet you have! This epic company rescues surplus fruit and veges that are deemed 'too ugly' or 'too irregular' from going to waste, packaging them into a weekly subscription box that is sent out to customers across Aotearoa.

They have absolutely nailed their brand messaging and share a lot of epic 'vege rescue' stories that generate plenty of love on their socials. The message is strong and the brand awareness is huge - mention Wonky Box to your group of friends and chances are someone has heard of them.

They created a video with us back in 2022 to support their epic launch into Tāmaki Makaurau and not only did the video engagement speed up their expansion into Auckland, it also helped establish brand trust and memorability.

They've recently upgraded their warehouse to keep up with demand (we love a success story!) and have come back for more video content. But the real key to their success is their strong brand positioning - they know who they are and what their message is. And boy does it resonate!

How to measure the success of brand marketing

We aren't gonna sugar coat it - it's difficult to measure the success of brand marketing.

If you're a B2C company, there are some fantastic tracking tools out there (like Tracksuit) that measure uplift in brand awareness and consideration.

But in our experience, the most powerful indicators of success are the conversations you will have with your potential customers.

For example, after ODV was in business for a couple of years, we started hearing from people who had been following us since our inception (this is brand marketing working its magic). We also know brand is working when people approach us because of our vibe/energy/style (aka they weren't just bulk enquiring with every video production company to find the cheapest price).

We've learnt that you need about 2+years before you start seeing a tonne of tangible results. That's why brand marketing should only take up 50% of your budget.

Brand marketing is also the best kind of marketing to implement during a recession because while your audience might not have budget now, they will at some point, and if you can put yourself forward as the best option for their problem/need, they'll file that away for future decision-making.

And if you're a big brand fighting to keep your market share, spending more on brand marketing will help keep your business afloat (esp. when your pesky competitors are also kinda nailing their marketing ugh).

Other success metrics to look out for:

  • Long-term business growth (aka year-on-year revenue increases)
  • Social media led conversation (e.g. being tagged on LinkedIn, being used as an example in a blog article *ahem*, or being upheld as an industry expert in your field).


The best types of video to achieve brand marketing greatness

Word on the street is that 'creative' (aka the image or video accompanying your ad) is the most important element of your paid marketing to get right, even more than targeting and ad copy writing.

So, while you might say we're being predictable with this next sentence, we'll say it anyway.

Video is THE best way to implement brand marketing through your digital channels. That's why we included two epic examples of video-led brand marketing above (Archies & Wonky Box).

Done well, video can be funny, interesting, engaging, character-led, and memorable - with the right team, a video can really set your brand apart. After all, the best brand marketing has personality!


Here's how we like to categorise your video options.


Brand Marketing Videos:

  • Hero brand video - highly memorable, shows strong brand identify, doesn't do a lot of explaining but does a lot of inspiring, perfect for someone who's never heard of you, used to generate future demand, often short (45-60 seconds). Put spend behind this.
  • Low-fi/fun video - filmed on a phone with the purpose of showing your brand personality, think office tours, behind-the-scenes, team challenges etc. This is perfect for TikTok and Reels and will build trust and loyalty like nothing else. Best used as organic content without spend.


Performance Marketing Videos:

  • Explainer video - sitting at around 90 seconds, this is designed to show how you work, why you're different, and what you've got to offer, good for cold audiences, watch that it doesn't become an "explain everything video".
  • How to video - much more detailed and tactical, can include step-by-steps and shows how something works (perfect for tech or product companies).
  • Testimonial/case study video - customer-focused, these videos are ideal for retargeting ads and landing pages, best kept to 90 seconds and ideally very human-centric and impact-focused.
  • UGC video - user-generated-content is a powerful selling tool, great for ecommerce brands who need to build credibility with their product by showing a real human using it and recommending it. Archies and other product-based businesses have great sales success with UGC video.


For big brands with multiple offerings, we recommend first creating a brand video to promote the whole business and then individual explainer videos to promote each unique service/product.

For smaller businesses who have never dabbled in video, we usually suggest starting with an explainer video and then investing in a brand video once they've accumulated the budget.

Either way, videos are important for both performance and brand marketing.


Ready to apply this to your own marketing? Start here:

Ok, this was a bit of an information dump. And if brand marketing is a new concept to you, you might need time to ponder. But if it's a familiar and beloved concept to you, take this as your cue to start scrutinising your spend!

First, figure out where your marketing budget and resources are going. Create a doc with a 'brand marketing' column and a 'performance marketing' column and list everything you do beneath those two headers. Is it 50/50? If not, time to make some changes!

If you care about securing present demand and creating future demand, you need to care about long-term brand marketing as much as you care about short-term performance marketing and sales.

You must back yourself and be in it for the long run because brand marketing requires bravery and belief. You've got this.

*Multiple sources recommend a marketing budget split of 50/50; however, this particular reference was pulled from Mark Ritson's article referenced above: https://www.marketingweek.com/mark-ritson-answer-question-marketers/