Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you define and grow brand value. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Teresa, a Sales and Marketing VP in Seattle, Washington who has this question about gaining buy-in for marketing budgets and programs.
I work at a sales oriented company where for the most part ‘brand’ is a concept not well received. Essentially, brand building activities are considered an expense. How can I get the rest of my senior leadership team to support my efforts?
Thanks for your question Teresa. Over the years we have been asked this many times and I’m happy to report that I hear about this situation less frequently. Presumably because more marketing oriented leaders have emerged. Whatever the case the following ideas should help.
Make A Business Case For Building Brands
The father of modern business management, Peter Drucker said it best; “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” Peter’s wisdom rings true today as evidence continues to mount that marketing is a key growth driver.
To be successful in making your case you will have to answer the big questions: What is the business impact of strong brands? Why are strong brands so important? Brands deliver the following key benefits to organizations:
- Increased revenues and market share
- Decreased price sensitivity (or the ability to charge price premiums to consumers and the trade)
- Increased customer loyalty
- For manufacturers, additional leverage over retailers
- Increased profitability
- Increased stock price and shareholder value
- Increased clarity of vision
- Increased ability to mobilize an organization’s people and focus its activities
- Ability to attract and retain high quality employees
- Reduce cost of capital – A strong brand facilitates access to financial markets with more favorable conditions (lower perceived risk); also, perception influences the price of the stock
- Extend duration of cash flow – strong brands last longer than weak ones, therefore a strong brand would generate profits for a longer period of time than a weak brand.
- A strong, well-positioned brand extends the life of your organization indefinitely by providing independence from a particular product category, increasing flexibility for future growth (through extension), and therefore, increasing the ability to expand into new product and service categories and alter the product and service mix to keep up with marketplace demands. Without a strong brand, your organization’s life span will be tied to the life span of the products it manufactures or the services it provides.
Make It Their Idea
Making a sound business case for brand building may not be enough. Gaining buy-in for your ideas and efforts sometimes requires a different approach. We shared nine ways to get others to embrace your brand ideas and they are quite relevant for your situation. Here are two of them:
- Make acceptance easy. Solve their problem, not yours. Create a new and better normality that people can start to live with.
- Provide a compelling motive to accept a new idea by making the problem it answers urgent and real. Present the problem in ways that people can actually see or experience rather than imagine or process. Give them a reason for change.
Shift Their Sales Mindset
It may surprise you to know that at one time the concept of building brands was not well received at Nike. There were obstacles preventing Nike from adopting a brand planning process. I think Jerome Conlon’s first person account about their shift from a sales to marketing mindset will also be useful.
I hope you are successful Teresa.
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