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. People are watching how your business is responding to the uncertainty of COVID-19 and 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
- What Does Your CFO Actually Care About?
- How to Present a Branding Investment to Your CFO
Why Marketing and Talent Acquisition Should Work Together
As the world changes due to COVID-19, companies must reposition themselves at breakneck speed to more compassionately 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.
This forced re-positioning has aligned the needs of marketers and talent acquisition professionals more than ever before. The story you need to tell is now the same because everyone, candidates and customers included, has been affected by COVID-19. You need to be on each other’s side during this time 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?
The uncertainty of COVID-19’s effect on the economy has forced CFO’s to rethink their company’s spending. Budgets are being used to address current needs rather than to plan for the future. Devin Reed, the content strategy manager at Gong, a revenue intelligence company, interviewed his CFO to understand what’s top of mind with financial departments in the age of COVID-19. His answer: 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 right now. Keep reading to learn how to position branding to your CFO using these three categories.
How to Present a Branding Investment to Your CFO
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.
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 this unprecedented 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.
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.