How to Secure a Branding Investment During Turbulent Times

Including tips and tactics for convincing your CFO.

Written by Shelby Bolinger
Published on May. 05, 2020
How to Secure a Branding Investment During Turbulent Times

As a stakeholder in your company’s brand, you understand how important it is to invest in branding right now. 75 percent of candidates evaluate an employer’s brand before applying to an open role — so it’s up to you to share your story in the right light. To do so, you must convince your chief financial officer (CFO) of its importance, which is hard to do when budgets are tight and resources are dwindling. However, it’s not impossible. You just need to know who to have on your side and how to appropriately present the case to your finance department. 



Table of Contents


Why Marketing and Talent Acquisition Should Work Together

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As evidenced by the pace of innovation, market flucations, a one-in-a-generation health crisis and other unexpected events, companies must always be ready to adjust their recruitment and branding efforts at breakneck speed to capture the world’s attention. Marketers need to pivot their story to customers and recruiters must do the same for candidates. Both groups are responsible for sharing their company’s response to the pandemic, whether through recruitment marketing or traditional marketing. 

Today, the needs of marketers and talent acquisition professionals are more aligned than ever before. And they need to be on each other’s side during times of uncertainty, especially when it comes to securing your CFO's buy-in. 

Think about it in terms of a prisoner’s dilemma paradox. If both departments go to the CFO requesting a budget for their own branding needs, the likelihood of either getting budget is slim. However, if marketing and talent acquisition team up to ask for resources that would serve a majority of what they both want to achieve, they are much more likely to get approval. Presenting a united front and working together will put you one step closer to getting the resources for branding that you need. 


What Does Your CFO Actually Care About?

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During times of uncertainty, CFO’s are often forced to rethink their company’s spending when budgets are reallocated to address current needs rather than to plan for the future. Gong's CFO Tim Riitters experienced this first-hand during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. He outlined what's top of mind for financial departments during unpredictable moments for a business: how to save money, improve productivity and mitigate risk. 

If the investment you’re asking for doesn’t directly correlate with at least one of these three topics, you can assume your finance department will deny the request. However, if you articulate a clear tie between your financial team's investment with your branding efforts, you’re in a much better position to get the resources and budget you need. 

Luckily, branding is an investment that directly relates to all three of the topics that are top of mind with CFO’s during challenging times. Keep reading to learn how to position branding to your CFO using these three categories. 


How to Present a Branding Investment to Your CFO

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Saving Money 

Branding is a cost-effective strategy in more ways than one. It can save your company money right now and in the future. Take into consideration each of these reasons to determine which is the best to share with your CFO. 


Reason 1: Combined Budgets 

To present branding as a cost-saving investment to your CFO, combine your marketing and talent acquisition budgets. Allocating both department’s dollars toward branding efforts is a surefire way to save your company money. This demonstrates empathy for the financial situation your company is facing and for your CFO who is responsible for managing it. Offering up both budgets will get you more bang for your buck in terms of the resources needed to successfully share your story during this time. 




Reason 2: Consistent Branding = More Revenue 

While pulling back on branding may seem like a way to save money right now, it actually has the opposite effect. A lack of branding has been shown to hinder the amount of revenue your company brings in. Businesses who are constantly putting their brand out there see a 33 percent increase in revenue on average. If you pull back on branding investments during uncertain times, this consistency is lost and sacrifices a boost in revenue, something that’s likely needed right now. 


Reason 3: Lower Salary Offers 

Whether or not you’re actively hiring right now, how you respond to the pandemic will impact your employer brand. This perception of your company directly influences the salary expectations candidates have. It’s been proven that 40 percent of passive candidates would accept a new position without an increase in pay if the company had a good employer brand. And when you break that down by candidates between the ages of 18-34, 23 percent of them would actually take a pay cut to work for a company with a good employer brand. Securing funding for your brand right now can pay off in savings for months to come. 


Improving Productivity 

Getting the branding resources you need can also help your company improve productivity at a time when it needs it the most. With many employees working remotely, CFO’s are looking for ways to improve the output of each employee and help the business thrive during this time. Here are a few reasons you can use to show how enhanced branding helps meet this need. 


Reason 1: Shared Resources  

Having marketing and talent teams work on branding efforts together will automatically boost productivity. You'll be putting everyone’s energy into one branding strategy rather than working on two efforts simultaneously. This means faster content production, smarter promotional strategies and stronger messaging. More skill sets will come together from two branding perspectives and will not only put your brand in a better position but also allow you to do it at a faster pace. 


Reason 2: Assisting Sales Teams  

The brand you present to the world can be used by sales to capture the attention of prospects and customers who’ve likely been ignoring your sales reps during an unpredictable time. Branding has been proven to influence sales more than you might think — leaders report 18 percent of purchases are because of their brand while 17 percent are directly related to sales tactics. Having your branding efforts not only showcase your company in a positive light but also help out your sales team will boost the productivity of all teams involved. 


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Mitigating Risk 

Reducing risk is always top of mind with CFO’s, but the stakes become much higher in a time of uncertainty. How you position your company can actually have a big effect on major aspects of the business that are poised for risk. See how you can position financial backing for branding efforts as the solution to overcoming these risks. 


Reason 1: Voluntary Employee Turnover 

Branding is typically thought of as an investment in shaping external perceptions of your company, but it actually influences perceptions internally as well. Focusing on your brand can improve employee retention, which is something every company should be thinking about right now. Research shows that companies who have a good employer brand are 40 percent less likely to have employees leave within the first six months. The last thing you need in turbulent times is to lose a great employee. Simply investing in your brand can help mitigate this risk.  


Reason 2: Additional Costs  

During turbulent times, appropriately positioning your brand is vital to ensuring your customers continue to do business with you and candidates continue to think of you as a top employer. One wrong move can cost your business a lot of money; a negative perception online has been proven to cost businesses 80 percent of its revenue and force them to increase salaries by 20 percent. Making an investment in your brand can mitigate the risk of losing the money you very much need right now. 


Asking for additional budget and resources during turbulent times isn’t easy. You must lean on data and get scrappy in your efforts. Teaming up with those who have the same goal as you will bode well in a time like this. Remember to be empathetic and put in the effort upfront before asking your CFO for dollars to put behind your brand. Doing so will not only help your team succeed but the company as well. 








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