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How to budget for branding.

As you plan next year’s budget, you’ll want to consider whether your marketing can be effective using your current branding. If your company and product level messages don’t provide clear, compelling differentiation from your competition, you could be wasting marketing funds by advertising something that customers simply don’t want or understand. Or if the brand’s overall look and feel is dated, it doesn’t matter how many campaigns you run, you won’t get the response you’re looking for.

A strong message platform and an engaging branded look and feel can take months to develop. It’s a foundational necessity if you are going to drive maximum results from your marketing campaigns.

However, many CEOs are reluctant to spend on brand. When you’re presenting the idea of branding to a leadership team that wants to know the ROI on everything, branding can be hard to justify. After all, if you can run a campaign that will predictably generate new customers and revenue, it’s hard to convince a frugal team to spend that money on branding instead.

In cases like this, I use an approach I’ve named “Results Overnight, Brand Over Time.” This combines lead generation to move the needle today with a steady gradual rebranding process. Basically, the lead generation pays for the branding. The branding is broken down into smaller efforts that can be executed in phases and incorporated into the marketing as they are completed.

This approach is easier to sell to a board because it shows you understand the importance of growing revenue and measuring success, while also caring for the future success of the organization.