Yes, Brand Audits are a Thing. Here’s How to Pull One Off.
What are Brand Audits?
A brand audit is exactly what it sounds like, a meticulous study of your company’s current position in the market and customers’ minds. Effective brand audits will:
- Establish your brand’s performance compared to its arch nemeses (cough, competitors)
- Determine strengths/weaknesses and opportunities for growth
- Align business strategies with customer expectations
First – What Elements Should You Audit?
Before you start attacking spreadsheets and slide decks, you must understand what key segments you’re about to tear into:
- Brand Purpose
- Brand Promise
- Brand Personality
- Brand Essence
- Value proposition
- Internal Communications
- Customer Experience
If your team hasn’t defined most or all of the above, you should get on that post haste.
Okay, What Happens Next?
Once the bits and pieces are defined and aligned, it’s time to do something with them.
Ask Important Questions and Set/Prioritize New Goals
Asking certain questions will help you check brand elements against business and marketing goals:
- Can you define your target audience? Do you understand their needs and constraints?
- Can you quantify the level of brand awareness among your target audience? If so, is it sufficient or should you change/revamp content and messaging?
- How do people perceive your brand? Is the perception as hoped or different from how you’d like it to be (Is it dated, inconsistent, or out of sync with other brand elements?)?
- What’s your current market share? Can you find ways to expand? If so, what are the obstacles to growth?
- If changes are necessary, what can you realistically accomplish in a year or two?
- Of the short-term goals, which ones will have the most return on investment?
Survey Internal and External Players
Some data only goes so far, and you need to go directly to the source to get a complete picture. Surveys, when done right, can provide the clarity you need to properly audit your brand.
Meaning, this input can help validate key differentiators or unmask an ugly reality—that gaps exist between what you think your customers want and what they actually value most about your product or service.
And remember to look inward with those queries, as well. Company leadership, advisory boards, and employees will have ideas about your brand’s impact …it’s helpful to understand how internal and external views overlap.
Taking a peek at the competition’s content, branding, and business model is always smart, and we recommend getting out the binoculars about once a year. That said, timing your analysis with a brand audit feels like a solid strategy.
If nothing else, you should learn what sets your business apart and if you’re leveraging those differences with clear messaging.
Study Your Communications
Having brand elements (purpose, personality, value, etc.) means little if you don’t communicate them well and to the right audience. Look at your website, content, and campaigns and ask:
- Are you communicating your company’s value in a way that resonates with your target audience?
- Is messaging consistent in tone and style? Is it on brand?
- Do communications personally address your customers’ needs and challenges?
- Do you communicate enough and through the right channels?
From website traffic and social media engagement to hard sales data, a brand audit should review figures over a period of time.
Download our Free Brand Audit Guide.
Once you have measurable results in hand, you can start forming logical conclusions (yay!). There might be some scary discoveries (competitors are outpacing you), but you might also find that overall your brand works, though you can almost always justify a few tweaks.
Once you’ve built a formidable brand that holds up to multiple audits, remember to protect it like the jewel it is. Because here’s the thing—building a brand is tough, but preserving its integrity is a monumental undertaking. And it takes a village.
Try thinking of your brand as a gourmet meal. When preparing and serving it (doing business) day after day, you need a functional kitchen. Without a space that houses the right tools—clean and within arm’s reach—it’s difficult if not downright impossible to maintain the meal’s quality.
Luckily, Xpressdocs has your dream kitchen…in the form of a sleek, intuitive brand management platform. With a mighty mix of technology, in-house print + mail, and human experts, we can help insulate your brand and streamline your marketing.
Ready to learn more? Visit our website and click ‘Speak to an Expert’ today.