5 questions your CFO will ask before approving your rebranding implementation budget

5 questions your CFO will ask before approving your rebranding implementation budget


Vladimir Kacar, Eli Greenspan

Securing adequate funding for your rebrand can be one of the most intimidating parts of the planning process. After all, you’re competing for finite organizational resources and it’s your CFO’s job to look holistically at those resources to ensure dollars are spent in the best ways possible. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely your CFO will rubber stamp your budget request and issue you a carte blanche approval easily.

This is true even if the C-suite and Board of Directors have already approved your implementation plan. You should expect your CFO to dig into the details and ask for rationale on why you’ve budgeted the way you have. To that end, you’ll need to make a strong case for your budgetary requests and prepare to answer some difficult questions.

Over the years, BrandActive has helped many clients build realistic, comprehensive rebrand implementation budget. Along the way, we’ve discovered that most CFOs tend to ask the same types of questions, regardless of the industry or size of the organization.

So, to help you win over your CFO and secure the resources you need to bring your rebrand to life, be prepared to answer these 5 questions.

1. How much will your rebrand cost — and how did you arrive at that number?

CFOs always want to know how much a rebrand is expected to cost. That’s a given. But they also want to understand the process that led to that calculation. An experienced implementation partner like BrandActive can help you conduct your due diligence and apply considerable rigor to the planning process.

To craft a solid financial analysis, we recommend conducting interviews with key organizational partners, gathering salient data and holding scenario planning workshops to understand options and the investment for each one.

Once that preliminary work is complete, consolidate it into a report that includes:

  • An overview of the rebrand’s scope, strategy, and timeline
  • Results of scenario planning exercises, including trade-offs and alternative options, that informed your choices about where and how to spend budget dollars
  • Metrics you’ll be tracking to measure ROI over time
  • Insight into how your rebrand aligns with your organization’s strategic objectives
  • A complete inventory of branded assets that will be converted — and a timeline for conversion
  • Information about your interdependencies and how your rebrand will impact various functional areas
  • A summary of how you’ve involved key stakeholders in the planning process
  • Opportunities for optimization, including vendor rationalization research illustrating how your rebrand can streamline or reduce vendor expenses

When you meet with your CFO to present your budgetary requests, you can reference any support you’ve received from other departments about how a rebrand will benefit your business on a holistic level. Bringing evidence of cross-functional support to the table demonstrates that there is buy-in and excitement for the rebrand across divisions, not just within the marketing department.

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2. How much funding do you need upfront — and how much can be budgeted in future fiscal years?

Once your CFO understands the overall dollar amount for the rebrand, they’ll want to understand the time period over which the money will be spent. Even if your overall rebrand budget is relatively small, if you want 50% of the funding immediately, you might run into some resistance from your CFO if budgets are locked in for the year.

The way you launch your rebrand will affect how much of your budget you can spread over a few years. For example, if you’re set on planning a big bang launch in which you convert most of your branded assets in one fell swoop, you’ll need a significant upfront investment.

However, if you’re willing to scale back your launch plans and replace branded assets over time, you may be more likely to win your CFO’s approval. By replacing branded assets during normally scheduled operational timeframes, you can greatly reduce your yearly expenditures.

3. Can any of your rebrand expenditures be classified as capital expenses?

Most organizations divide expenses into two categories: operational and capital. Operational budgets span the course of a single year and cover day-to-day operating costs. By contrast, capital budgets amortize large-scale purchases over a long period of time.

If you make use of your organization's capitalization policy when building your budget, you might make the overall spend more digestible.

In accounting, capital expenses are more favorable to a company’s financial performance than operational expenses. Therefore, if you make wise use of your organization’s capitalization policy when building your budget, you might make the overall spend more digestible.

Many companies benefit from the expertise of external rebrand implementation specialists that have experience working on scenarios like this before. At BrandActive, we help companies determine and decide how rebrand activities and their related spend will affect financial analysis and planning for years to come.

4. Will your rebrand provide any cost savings or operational efficiencies to offset the overall price tag?

Your rebrand is an opportunity to clean house and streamline every dollar your organization spends. By auditing branded assets, examining vendor relationships, and working with procurement on asset conversion plans, you’ll likely find significant areas to reduce wasteful spending.

Outline potential savings in the following areas:

  • Procurement. Have you evaluated your vendor mix recently? Can you reduce the number of vendor partnerships to maximize buying power? Are all your contracts up to date and competitive?
  • Supply chain. How are you sourcing materials and supplies? Are there less expensive alternatives that offer similar quality? Can you order certain supplies in bulk rather than on an ad hoc basis to reduce unit costs?
  • Agency partnerships. How many external agencies do you partner with? Are you receiving the value and ROI you expect? Is there an opportunity to streamline?
  • Branded assets. Can you retire some of your branded asset portfolio to reduce the replacement cost associated with certain items?
  • Brand and marketing operations. Are there ways to optimize your processes and procedures to achieve greater efficiency?

Rebranding is expensive. But your CFO will appreciate weighing the cost against the short and long-term savings you can achieve along the way.

5. Have you explored minimally viable options to reduce the overall cost of your rebrand?

As a marketing leader, you likely want to introduce your new brand to the world in a way that will make a grand impact. After all, you know your rebrand is a unique opportunity to generate momentum that will drive your brand forward for years to come. But your CFO is more likely to focus on the bottom line. So, be prepared to explain the rationale behind larger expenses that might seem unnecessary at first glance.

For example, say you are budgeting $2 million for a grand-scale, global media event to launch your new brand to the world. You know the multi-faceted event will garner widespread attention from stakeholders, analysts, and consumers that will ensure your rebrand’s ultimate success. Your CFO might simply see an easy way to cut the budget and ask you to replace the event with a minimally viable alternative.

You should try to preserve your vision if you’re able to justify the plan with market research and projections on ROI. But if your CFO won’t budge, be willing to explore other options to achieve the best result possible within the budget you’re able to secure.

Build your rebrand’s financial analysis for an audience of one

You’ve spent your entire career perfecting the art of tailoring messages to appeal to your audience and drive the response you’re after. To win over your CFO, you’ll need to lean into that skill set and deliver a message that’s crafted for an audience of one.

BrandActive can help you develop a comprehensive budget that factors in every element your CFO will want to see. So if you’re ready to get started, just reach out. We’d love to help you make the case for the funding that will make your rebranding vision a reality.