What is the Difference Between a Branding and Call-to-Action Campaign?

Meredith Portland About The Author

Feb 24, 2021 10:15:00 AM

What is the Difference Between a Branding and Call-to-Action Campaign

It's vital for company leaders who want to grow their brand to identify key business goals as they develop new marketing initiatives. After all, if your marketing team is uncertain as to which demographics they're trying to reach or what messaging will be most effective, then you can only expect limited results at best. Simultaneously, a lack of clearly defined goals will make it all but impossible to measure the success (or lack thereof) of a specific campaign. 

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For these and many other reasons, it's essential to understand the difference between two common campaign types: branding and call-to-action (CTA). In the following information, we'll drill down into the nature, goals, and benefits of each of these categories.

What is a Branding Campaign?

The main goal of a branding campaign is, as the name suggests, to raise awareness around a particular brand. Even if no specific products or services are featured in the campaign's ads, your efforts around promoting "brand awareness" can yield a significant ROI down the road. Research indicates that presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by as much as 23%!

Branding campaigns work exceptionally well for new businesses and startups that want to penetrate specific sectors of the market. Since these campaigns are not linked to one-time promotions or particular products, the ad creative they contain can be recycled repeatedly, if needed. Thus, costs are reduced.

Branding campaigns are also excellent ways to keep your brand "top of mind" among the consumer base in-between sales and promotional events. Moreover, as you present your brand consistently across all available marketing channels, you'll be able to build relationships with customers gradually. In time, your company will become a trusted source for all of their needs in your industry.

What is a Call-to-Action Campaign?

In contrast to a branding campaign, CTA campaigns encourage the reader/viewer to take a specific action. For example, many calls to action prompt consumers to purchase, contact a company, or visit a website. 

A CTA campaign’s primary goal is not to raise brand awareness in general but to drive tangible, measurable results. As a simple example, imagine that an HVAC company wants to increase service revenue by 10%. One way to accomplish that goal would be to deploy a CTA campaign that encourages consumers to contact the company for their HVAC maintenance needs.

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Despite the importance of strong CTAs in driving results, up to 70% of small business B2B websites lack a clear call to action, according to one study. This illustrates the importance of differentiating your brand from the competition when you have specific business objectives in mind. Your CTA should be clear, compelling, and ultimately "move the needle" in terms of consumer behavior.

So, What's Right for My Business?

The answer, as with most things in life, is: It depends. You need to examine your current business needs and circumstances to decide which type of campaign will be most beneficial to your overall strategy. Some questions you can ask yourself include:

  • What is my main goal at the moment? Is it to drive sales around a specific product or service, or is it to help my brand stay top-of-mind in-between sales cycles?
  • Do I need to boost brand recognition, or is my company already familiar to my target audience?
  • Are my products already top-sellers, or could they use a boost from marketing to pick up the pace?
  • Where is my target audience currently located in their "buyer's journey?"

Answering these and related questions will help you to determine which type of campaign you should invest in under the current circumstances.

In summary, both branding and call to action campaigns are valuable for furthering business objectives and growing your brand. The key takeaway from this information should be that "timing is everything." Knowing when to deploy a branding campaign versus a CTA campaign is critical to developing a sustainable business model that will last for years to come.

Of course, making that call may not be one of your core competencies. If it's not, there's no need to feel bad. Many successful, expanding companies have sought out the help of an experienced media partner before "diving into the deep end" and making such decisions independently. The results of such a partnership are generally quite positive. Not only can a media partner help you to determine which campaign will work best for your business at the moment, they can also guide you through the entire campaign development process, one step at a time.

Whether you team up with a media partner or not, make sure that you clearly understand the differences in nature and objectives between branding and call-to-action campaigns before allocating your precious resources. If you do have that firm grasp of their differences, you'll be able to continue growing your brand for the foreseeable future.

Brand Strategy 101