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13 min read

How brand drives revenue

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This article originates from a presentation at the Revenue Marketing Summit in London, 2022. Catch up on this presentation, and others, using our OnDemand service. For more exclusive content, visit your membership dashboard.


Hello! I'm Katherine Lamb, Global Head of B2B Marketing Strategy at HSBC. At HSBC, our focus is on marketing business banking services, catering to small businesses as well as large corporations.

In this article, we’re going to look at:

  • Branding and performance marketing for revenue growth
  • The power of data and linking branding to revenue growth
  • Implementing branding and performance marketing strategies
  • Measuring the impact of branding on financial metrics
  • How NPS connects customer advocacy to revenue growth
  • Bridging the gap between branding, performance marketing, and sales
  • Demonstrating the value of brand-building

Branding and performance marketing for revenue growth

Let's start with the basics, with the role of brand and performance marketing within the context of the marketing funnel. This will help you effectively communicate the importance of branding to your finance director or any other stakeholders.

Source: Katherine Lamb, HSBC

The marketing funnel illustrates the customer journey, and it comprises different stages.

At the top of the funnel, we have the brand. Its purpose is to reach the entire market, encompassing both existing and potential customers. Essentially, brand messaging should resonate with anyone who may consider purchasing your product or service.

Therefore, at this stage, the messaging is broad and high-level. The goal is to establish a strong memory structure so that when customers are ready to make a purchase, your brand is at the forefront of their minds.

On the other hand, performance marketing or demand generation, situated lower down in the funnel, is tightly linked to sales. This type of marketing is highly targeted and data-driven, often operating within digital channels.

It provides specific calls to action (CTAs) and aims for efficient conversion. As a result, there is an abundance of data available at the bottom of the funnel, which makes it easier to measure and prove its impact.

This focus on the bottom of the funnel has gained popularity because of its measurability. However, we mustn't overlook the vital role of branding in expanding the market size. Branding helps you reach a much broader audience, thereby broadening the overall market for your products or services.

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While performance marketing targets customers who are actively searching and ready to buy, it does not contribute to growing the market. By solely concentrating on the bottom of the funnel, you limit yourself to a small pool of potential customers, all while competing with your rivals for their attention.

It's the power of branding that opens up the market and creates a larger market share and more extensive opportunities for your business.

Understanding this interplay between brand and performance marketing is crucial for driving revenue. It allows you to adopt a holistic approach and leverage both aspects effectively.

By combining broad brand strategies with targeted performance marketing tactics, you can maximize your reach and capitalize on the full potential of the market.

The power of data: Linking branding to revenue growth

Source: Katherine Lamb, HSBC

So aside from theory, what about concrete data? If you want to convince your finance director, board, or anyone else, the good news is that there’s plenty of data available on this topic. One notable study is "The Long and the Short of It", by Binet and Field.

They analyzed marketing data across various sectors over many years and successfully established a connection between short-term sales activation (represented by the fluctuating orange line) and long-term sales growth driven by brand development.

It's essential to remember that building a brand is a long-term investment that yields growth over time. By consistently investing in brand building, you steadily increase the size of the overall market and the potential customer base you can convert.

On the other hand, sales activation or demand generation efforts, coupled with effective conversion through sales teams, may experience spikes during campaign periods. However, they do not contribute to expanding the market size or the overall opportunity. Branding is what truly opens up the market and creates a larger market share and overall opportunity for growth.

Brand building and performance marketing go hand in hand. One is not more important than the other. However, if you neglect brand building, the size of the market you can convert will remain limited.

Bennett and Field conducted their research across multiple sectors and found that the ratio of investment between brand building and demand generation varies depending on the sector's purchase cycle length.

Consider the food industry, for instance. We all buy food regularly, with frequent purchase cycles. When you visit a supermarket, you are reminded of food brands each time, so the need for brand recall is relatively lower. In this case, the proportion of investment needed for brand building is not as high.

Written by:

Katherine Lamb

Katherine Lamb

Katherine was the Global Head of B2B Marketing Strategy at HSBC.

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How brand drives revenue