The annual marketing budgeting process for IHG’s large portfolio of brands and markets had become highly politicized, inconsistent year over year, and somewhat arbitrary. Executives themselves described the process as a “snake-pit.” The company wanted to replace it with a rational, transparent and consistent approach. Reflecting the new direction of the company, it needed to be brand-centric—a departure from prior methods, which had focused on regions and functional areas.
Our team developed a customized financial model to benchmark each brand, in each major market, on the perceptual, business, and competitive metrics most critical to growth. Strategic priorities and major business constraints were overlaid on the model, and scenarios were run to come up with the optimal allocation.
As a result, the budget distribution shifted toward the brands with greatest potential and need. This was a radical departure in policy, but the logical, transparent approach helped the budget proposals sail through board and regional management approval without rancor. The model is now being used as the foundation of the annual budgeting process.