How to budget for your brand strategy in 2023
At this time of year, companies begin to kick off their budgeting process for the next year. But before you open those spreadsheets and start shifting the decimals, you’ll need an overview.
In this article, we’ve covered how to budget for a comprehensive branding strategy that aligns with your business strategy so you can go into the next year with a clear vision of your brand’s goals.
Read on to make sure your budget has a purpose and will strengthen your company’s position in the market.
Step 1: measure the past
It’s no surprise that your planning for the coming year begins with a review of the current year’s results. But don’t worry about moving specific numbers up and down just yet: first you need to assess where your budget is. has been attributed and compare them to the resulting metrics.
- What was your return on advertising investment?
- What was the degree of engagement of external communications? How many leads did you generate last year?
- Where do new leads come from?
- Has the audience of the website increased? What caused the biggest increase?
- What were your conversion rates on your campaigns?
- How engaged have your social media posts been?
- What was your spend/return ratio?
- Most importantly, did these communication tactics achieve your overall goals?
It’s budgeting 101: you want to see where your dollars have had the most impact. Take note of which parts of your budget have traveled the most and generated the greatest return on investment. These elements will play a role in later discussions about your overall brand goals.
Keep in mind that there are more ways to measure success than dollars earned directly from a line item. If an ad campaign didn’t generate many sales but increased your brand visibility and increased name awareness, it may still have been successful. It all depends on the campaign goals and overall business goals (which we’ll discuss in detail in a minute).
If you didn’t have measures in place last year, now is the perfect time to implement them. Again, these will depend on your overall goals as a business. But it’s absolutely essential to start measuring the success of your efforts so that you have a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t.
Step 2: Do your research
Now is the time to look outside and inside your business and assess your place in the market. What has changed since last year? Do people have the same perception of your brand as last year? Do you have the same competitors as last year? What is the atmosphere of your employees? Are you experiencing attrition?
Don’t assume you know all the answers to these questions without researching the voice of the customer and the voice of your employee. Your job is not to manage your brand, but to manage its perception through in-depth research that captures what people think of your business.
Sometimes the internal perception of your brand doesn’t match what people think on the outside. Also interview your own team and try to identify any discrepancies between your internal and external branding. Use these questions to find out what people also think of your competition and compare that with your brand. This is how you identify the gaps, so you can then plan your marketing to fill those gaps.
If you don’t have the in-house resources to conduct market research, there are plenty of third-party resources that can help paint the picture. But you can accomplish a lot with your own team. Sometimes it’s enough to talk to your industry peers and ask them how their year has been. You can also search online for published market statistics or interview your employees.
Such information can have major impacts on your overall business strategy. They can help you realize that your brand may have become outdated and in need of a refresh. Or that maybe it’s time for a complete brand overhaul to keep up with competitor and/or market brand perceptions.
Until you have a sense of what people think of your brand, it’s hard to make the case for a brand strategy or budget. When you create a budget, you map out a future path for your brand. Use your research as a compass to guide you on this path and move forward with confidence in your goals.
Step 3: Paint the big picture and implement it
Now that you’ve measured your past performance and assessed your position in the market, it’s time to determine the big goals that will drive your budget priorities.
To succeed in this step, you will need to be aware of the major projects that your company will face in the coming years. Discuss with leaders their vision and priorities for the future. Are there any acquisition projects? Are you growing the business by increasing hiring? Any change in the brand architecture?
The market research you’ve done will also help you develop new goals and navigate old ones. There may be significant shifts in the market that push your strategy in a certain direction, or cultural shifts that might necessitate changes in how you approach brand development.
If your research indicates the need for a rebrand or brand refresh, discuss it with management and start developing purchase for an increased budget towards your brand.
Using your priorities as a model, match them with what you know of your past successes. If certain marketing strategies have generated significant returns in the past, you can use them to achieve your brand goals for the coming year.
Start building a strategy today
Many companies are quick to cut marketing and branding first when a budget needs to be cut. But investing in marketing increases your company’s share of voice, according to harvard business review— which is crucial, especially in times of recession. Tracking key performance indicators for your marketing will keep it on the priority list and bolster its ongoing success.
Whether it’s sales, advertising, or marketing as a whole, these steps will give power and purpose to your budget. Almost every aspect of your budget is tied to your brand and affects it in different ways.
Evaluate your past strategies and align them with your business goals, and you will establish a position in the market.
BrandExtract makes businesses more valuable through innovative approaches to brand strategy and design. Contact an expert strategist today to learn how you can align your budget with your brand goals and chart a course for future success.