Budgeting For Branded Environments: How To Plan For Branding Your Office

How to Plan for Branding Your Office as an Integral Part of Your Sales + Marketing Strategy

At some point in every conversation about a branded environments project we ask, “What’s your budget?” But in the case of branded environments, it’s just as important to ask, “Where is the budget for your branded environments project coming from?”

For the hundreds of branded environments we’ve designed and built, there have been dozens of different ways they were funded. Finding your branded environments budget is definitely not a one-size-fits-all process.

Defining the branded environments project goals and scope

Many times our clients are not able to tell us their budget at our initial meeting. And not because the client is hiding the budget – it’s because the client truly doesn’t know yet how much to spend or what to include in the project.

Defining the project is usually an iterative process. In our first meetings there is a lot of discovery of goals, desired outcomes, and which management areas are driving the project.

In subsequent meetings we discuss design possibilities and best practices. While some clients have a clear understanding of what they want, many clients rely on us to educate them on new workspace design trends.

As our clients gain a firmer understanding of how they can better attract talent, increase productivity and cultural buy-in, and boost innovation with branded environments, they then feel more comfortable setting a budget to invest in achieving these goals.

Which departments pay for branded environments?

Branded environments funding is often, but not always, driven by the department leading the project.

Marketing often takes the lead on their company’s branded environment initiatives, as brand is seen as a responsibility of marketing. And yet, marketing is not always the lead, and even when they are, funding sometimes comes from other departments.

Here are several other common scenarios:

  • Facilities pays for much of the branded environment project, because even though marketing is leading, the work is done on the company’s buildings, which facilities manages.
  • Facilities can also pay the cost of a branded environment when the work is integrated into a planned facility redesign.
  • There is no set budget for a branded environment, yet the executive team wants it, so the funding comes from the general administrative, operations, or administration budget – or even the human resources or manufacturing budget.
  • The branded environment is focused to support only one or two departments, such as sales and marketing (customer experience center, showroom) engineering and product marketing (innovation center) or human resources (recruiting meeting room), so those departments furnish the budget.
  • The branded environment is broken down into its parts, and the budget is split according to the physical elements (facilities pays for graphics and custom millwork as building improvements, departments pay for furniture, and IT pays for technology).
  • The branded environment is seen as a long-term, depreciable investment, so it comes out of the capital budget.
  • The budget comes from multiple department and functional budget buckets, for a blend of reasons listed above.

There is no best way to fund branded environments

What is the conclusion here? That there is no right way to budget for a branded environment, except what works for your company.

You may want to engage a designer upfront, design to where the solution meets your needs, and then seek budget approval to build it. Or, you can set your budget first, then engage a designer to fashion your vision, then build it out all at once or in multiple phases. Each project is so unique, there is no one path that fits everyone.

If your company is considering branded environments to help advance your key business goals, we’re ready to help you bring your story to life (whether you have a budget set already or not). To get started, contact Holt today.