Explaining ‘brandformance’: the new term in town

“The marketing and media industry needs a new term," said no-one ever. Yet the term ‘brandformance’ is starting to emerge as a new buzzword that we will hear more of as we move through the decade. Ayaan Mohamud, regional vice president of marketing at impact.com, explains what it's all about.

As you may assume, ‘brandformance’ refers to the merging of brand and performance marketing; two disciplines which have traditionally been managed separately.

With brand marketing all about creating long-term value (via creativity) and performance marketing all about paying for immediate results (via leads, clicks and sales), the key challenge for brands has been to figure out how to ‘balance’ the two.

However, there’s a new school of marketing thought which believes today’s brands would benefit from merging brand and performance marketing given changing marketing channels, technology and consumer behaviour.

Let’s dig into what is driving the convergence:

Full funnel performance partnerships

First up in the last few years, partnerships – whether that is brand-to-brand, content creators, influencers, affiliates or content commerce – are driving the new era of performance marketing.

There’s a number of reasons for this, including escalating acquisition costs which are causing brands to rethink the overall effectiveness of placing all their spend on Meta and Google. However, the principal reason is that for consumers in 2023, partnerships simply better align with their natural behaviour. Instead of interrupting their journey (like some disruptive digital ads do), partnerships play a role across the entire flow of the consumer journey from discovery through to purchase.

Content like authentic product reviews and comparisons help people process the overwhelming amount of information and provide trusted recommendations that instill confidence in purchase decisions. For example, at a recent event of ours Jye Beckett, Chief Marketing Officer at Elite Supplements talked to the fact that when the company launched in the U.S they did so with partnerships before any other marketing activity. Why? Before launching a brand campaign, they wanted to seed creator content to demonstrate evidence-based and authentic product reviews.

Not only that, but partnerships, particularly with content creators, can create powerful emotional connections that build brand advocacy and awareness. This is why we’re seeing brands evolve their creator content into a long term strategy that pays retainers, amending KPIs to include more nuanced and holistic metrics. It’s this type of evolution that is bringing brand and performance marketing closer together as they no longer drive binary outcomes.

At this year’s Cannes Lions, Sofia Hernandez, TikTok’s global head of business marketing succinctly described the shift when she noted, “The TikTok community is disrupting the purchase cycle, from linear to an infinity loop.”


There’s a brilliant long-form article in a recent edition of the Harvard Business Review: How Brand Building and Performance Marketing Can Work Together co-written by former Procter & Gamble CMO Jim Stengel, Cait Lamberton and Ken Favaro which explores the way some brands are creating and connecting brand-positioning and activation metrics. I’d recommend an in-depth read but the highly simplistic takeaway is that it’s possible to connect brand and performance metrics and that both disciplines can share a KPI.

It’s certainly something that we’ll begin to see more of. Here in Australia we work with one larger retailer which has introduced a universal KPI for all of its marketing activities. In fact it’s a key reason that they selected our technology, because it gave them almost unlimited flexibility in how to incentivise and reward the full spectrum of their performance partners so it could align with the universal metric.

The Big Red Group (BRG) is another company that has started to see brand and performance as one and the same, so much so that their partnership strategy sits within their consumer marketing team. Michael Mironowicz, Group Affiliates Lead at BRG speaks to the importance of this on Add To Cart. Crucially it means that both brand and performance marketing activation can occupy the same seat at the strategic budget table.


Marketing technology is enabling the marriage of brand and performance because it enables brands to create a singular dashboard to record and manage disparate and combined metrics. This gives marketing teams across the organisation shared insights. For example, impact.com recently launched the world’s first full-funnel partnerships platform which allows both brand and performance marketers to leverage the same platform to have full funnel visibility. As it becomes easier for marketers to shift out of workflow and measurement silos, it will become easier to merge the two marketing disciplines.

One of the most sobering statistics to come out of Cannes this year was data shared by PwC which stated that only 40 percent of CEO’s think that their businesses will be economically viable in the next 10 years.

This goes a long way to explaining why there is reasonable urgency in trial and testing new models for creativity when it comes to attracting and retaining customers; not least during this current moment of economic and geopolitical uncertainty. I’d expect the alignment of brand and performance to drive some of this innovation and experimentation over the next few years with the term ‘brandformance’ (or at least the concept) becoming increasingly ubiquitous.


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