It’s common for mission-driven leaders to have a solid budget for their organization overall … but too often, brand work becomes a “nice to have” without its own budget, strategy, and goals.
At Flourish, we believe leveraging your brand unlocks the mission growth and community impact you’re seeking.
People are at the heart of your brand. If you aren’t nurturing your relationships with your brand connectors, then you’re missing out on key opportunities, losing momentum, or even worse, leaving a bad impression on your community.
Credibility is everything to your movement.
If you’re looking to grow your revenue and mission, you must invest in your brand.
When you’re ready to invest in your brand, you’ll need a budget.
To help you get started, here is some advice on how to approach the idea of a brand budget, as well as some suggestions on what to include in it.
Why create a brand budget?
First things first, why have a brand budget at all? Well much like any other type of budgeting, having a plan means that you’ll be able to account for your spending and therefore have more control over where your money is going. It also means that you’ll be able to focus on the most effective ways of communicating with your clients and the community (and we hope that’s something that’s important to you!) We are big fans of tracking #ROI here!
The trick is to create one that’s dynamic enough to respond to the changing needs of your organization. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some tips for building a better comms budget.
Review your current spending
Start with a review of what you’ve already spent. Review your current subscriptions, tools, and other expenses, and ask yourself which ones aren’t pulling their weight. It’s possible that some of the things you’ve been paying may be better handled by one of the many free alternatives available on the market today; whether it’s a free analytics tool or an open-source social media dashboard, there are plenty of ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality.
Tie into strategic goals and projects
Rooting your brand work in strategy is key.
Rather than just a blanket “10%” of overall organization budget for marketing*, we recommend tying in brand dollars into specific goals derived from your strategic/business plan. If your strategic plan includes “raise brand awareness” or “expand our community footprint” –you need to be budgeting dollars for specific campaigns with goals attached.
(Hint: We also recommend more direct goals than ‘raise brand awareness’ which can be very vague .. instead think about increasing visibility on your platforms, creating new partnerships, etc.)
Think about how much money you want to set aside for each goal/project in the upcoming year.
- What kind of projects do you want to tackle?
- How much time will they take?
- What resources–human and other–will we need to achieve our goal?
- What are the outcomes we expect from these projects?
*Note: While we don’t like blanket amounts, we do generally recommend organizations invest at least 5-15% of their annual budget for their brand (which depends on the org size, structure, and goals.)
Invest in outsourcing and training
Depending on your organization’s size and resources, invest in outsourcing and/or professional development.
Sometimes we see mission-driven brands stuck in scarcity mode where they want their team (or themselves) to take on *all* the things. While this might seem like you’re saving resources — you’re actually losing your most precious one … time.
Outsourcing your brand talent allows you to pay only for the work that you need done. You don’t have to train them or explain how things work—they know what they’re doing and can get started immediately! They also will be much more efficient with a better end product due to their expertise.
Professional development is important if you have internal staff owning goals. Equip your team to take on new challenges professionally, especially if this is a new area of interest for them. Everyone can absolutely learn the skills to grow your brand and movement, but quality training is a must. We at Flourish believe in taking things back to basics — starting with strategy.
Sample line items to include in a brand budget:
- Brand strategy and research
- Brand positioning (identity/messaging)
- Brand channel development (web/social/email)
- Brand campaigns and engagement
- Training + outsourcing
Why Flourish? Purpose-driven leaders seek an experienced partner to help them grow their movement. We believe in authenticity, equity, and relational trust. We’re committed to helping our clients activate their mission through inclusive brand strategy and design.