The moment we think of “Brand Audit,” the first impression is of a grim, solemn-looking executive in a gray suit holding a briefcase, asking questions that make you sweat, and scanning papers like a forensic scientist. The truth is, a brand audit is quite comprehensive, minus the grim executive.
Brand audits are periodic reviews of brand performance. They serve as a valuable method to assess if your endeavors have been successful and, if not, to understand the reasons behind it.
From time to time, every brand should undergo an internal audit to ensure that the brand strategy and vision are in line with the actual implementation, messaging, and marketing that are being deployed.
How to Do a Brand Audit?
This article highlights the important steps of conducting a brand audit. These simple yet effective steps will allow you to conduct an audit independently or through a trusted third party.
Step 1. Create a Framework
Before starting the brand audit process, creating a framework that defines your line of action and its objectives is essential. Your framework allows you to ask the right questions, analyze the parameters, and provide a clear direction for future strategies or improvements.
HOW TO DO IT
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you want to achieve through the brand audit?
- Are you aiming to boost your brand’s reputation or increase customer loyalty?
- What are the essential components or aspects of your brand assessment?
- Who is your intended audience?
- What are their requirements and needs?
- What are the characteristics related to the demography of your intended audience?
Determining your goals lets you concentrate on the aspects most critical to your enterprise. Examining your intended audience and target market segments aids in comprehending how to strategically position your brand to attract them.
Step 2. Evaluate Your Visual Identity
Your brand’s visual identity is among its most vital aspects, encompassing your logo, color palette, typography, and other visual representations. A brand audit should assess your visual identity to guarantee alignment with your brand’s values, mission, and intended audience.
Maintaining consistency in your visual identity across all platforms, such as your website, social media accounts, and promotional materials, is essential.
Your brand’s messaging is another critical component of your brand. It includes your brand’s tagline, mission statement, story, and other messaging elements that communicate your brand’s values and purpose.
A brand audit should evaluate your communication to guarantee its compatibility with your intended audience and market segments. Your messaging should be coherent, concise, and uniform across all platforms.
HOW TO DO IT
- Understand how your potential customers perceive your brand based on your logo, color schemes, typography, etc.
- Run short surveys and reviews to gather data and opinions. Ideally, your surveys must include sections allowing your customers to mention how you can improve your visual identity. You may not do exactly what they say, and there might be several suggestions, but it will help set a direction.
- Seek the help of a brand identity designer. These experts can help you connect your brand’s core values and story to your logo and visual identity.
Step 3: Run “Internal” Checks
Sometimes the root of the problem is not outside but lies within. If your brand has a weak foundation, you cannot expect it to create the impact you foresaw.
Once you have audited your brand’s visual identity, it is a good idea to audit other intangible aspects such as its story, values and promises, and other elements.
There is more to a brand than logos and websites. Usually, brands capitalize on the emotions they evoke. So as long as your brand touches the right pain points and has the right “feel” to it, you’re good to go. Otherwise, some amendments are necessary.
HOW TO DO IT
We cannot break all this down into simple bullet points. This bit is more elaborate, so stay with us to clearly understand how your brand must connect emotionally with your consumer.
Primary Value Proposition
Your primary value proposition is how your brand delivers value to your target market.
- Are you delivering value by being a product/service leader in your market?
- Do you deliver the cheapest product/service due to optimized operational efficiency and cost management?
- Do you stand out through superior and stellar customer service and experience?
- What competitive benefits set you apart from rival brands or companies?
Understanding how you want to differentiate your brand in the market and then finding a value proposition is critical to the success of a brand.
Emotional Index of Your Brand
Brands that connect with us emotionally gain market share and dominate segments. Inspect your brand messaging to see if you are promoting the “features” of your product/service or the “benefits.” If you are talking about the features, you are probably not connecting emotionally with your audience.
The level of emotional connection your brand has with its customers is defined as the Brand Emotional Index™ (BEI). This is a word I have coined, and I am quite proud of it! It can be measured by the emotion people feel toward your brand.
You can not quantitatively measure this index; emotional branding is not a science. But you must know this index and try to perceive its presence. You can understand your customer’s BEI by asking some questions like:
- What aspects of this brand make you recommend it to a friend?
- How well, in your opinion, does this brand understand your expectations and needs?
Brand Significance Index™ (BSI)
Again, a term I coined is the Brand Significance Index™ (BSI) which can be defined as the significance your brand has in the minds of your customers and is usually represented by the importance they place on your messaging.
If you are still determining your brand’s significance, then it is time to survey your most loyal customers. Ask them direct questions about what your brand means to them or how they feel about interacting with your brand.
- Do those meanings align with your brand pillars and vision?
- Is this how you want your brand to be looked at?
- What is the importance of your brand to your clientele and customers?
One of the best ways to connect with your target audience and create an emotional impact is to figure out your brand’s personality traits. Imparting a personality on your brand and making it human is a worthwhile exercise.
Personification will help bring out traits you want your brand and target audience to feel and experience. Start with at least five personality traits.
Do you want your brand to appear to be warm and friendly? Or clever and sophisticated? Perhaps funny?
Consider your brand as a person to figure out these personality traits. How would you describe that person? Finding a role model and thinking of your brand as that person may be useful.
When most people think of a brand, they invariably remember the logo, icon, slogan, or jingle. But at the most basic level, a brand is a promise.
Your brand goes beyond your logo design, company colors, or other brand elements. Your commitments to your intended audience and the broader world can either strengthen or undermine your brand.
Figuring out a brand promise will ensure that all your messaging, marketing, customer service, and product/service quality align with your vision and mission. In addition, you can periodically look back and see if your brand keeps up with your promise to your customers.
One of the most important ways of connecting with your target market and your audience and creating the perception of a luxury brand is through telling a story. But unfortunately, most businesses do not even think of a brand story. Instead, they point to their website or their marketing material”.
A brand story is not what you say on your website or in your marketing material. Well, not strictly what you say, but it is not what you’re trying to convince your target market about. It is not about persuading them to purchase or buy something at that moment.
A brand story will create this perception in your target market’s minds that will translate into loyalty. Of course, eventually into conversions and sales.
Step 4: Asses Your Web Analytics
Web analytics play a key role in a successful and insightful brand audit. Since most brands essentially have a website or social media presence, web analytics is a great way of seeing whether you are targeting the right people in the right way.
For website owners, Google Analytics is one of the best tools. It helps run diagnostics to check your website’s overall performance and conversion. Other SEO tools let you see how you’re doing regarding SEO and keyword use.
HOW TO DO IT
- Use Google Analytics or other tools to analyze your website’s performance and health.
- Conduct SEO assessments to determine whether your website features appropriate keywords in suitable locations. These tools also provide a list of trending keywords relevant to your niche so you can optimize your content for the best results.
- Check your links and backlinks for any broken or bad connections.
- What is the number of leads produced via your marketing initiatives?
- If you are a sales-based business, see your conversion rate.
- How many site visits do you have?
- How much time an average site visitor spends on your website?
- How many abandoned carts do you have?
Web analytics can provide crucial insights, assisting you in identifying areas of improvement and aspects that require enhancement.
Step 5: Evaluate Your Customer Experience
Your brand’s customer experience is critical in determining customer loyalty and retention. Hence, a brand assessment should examine your client experience to pinpoint improvement.
HOW TO DO IT
Ask yourself the mentioned questions. Even better, conduct surveys and let your customers give their feedback. Regular and periodic customer feedback is crucial.
Some questions you can include are:
- How effortless is the website navigation for customers?
- How much time elapses before customers obtain a reply to their questions?
- What are the customers’ perceptions of their encounters with your brand?
- How effectively does the brand comprehend and fulfill your expectations?
- How inclined are you to suggest this brand to others, and what drives your rating?
- What is your satisfaction with the brand’s offerings/services?
Step 6: Review Your Social Media Presence
Social media plays a crucial role in a brand’s marketing approach in the current digital era. Without a social media presence, your brand is virtually invisible. A brand assessment should examine your social media activity to confirm that it aligns with your brand’s values and intended audience.
Interestingly, people associate different social media platforms with other purposes or emotions. For instance, LinkedIn is a strictly professional platform where businesses or enterprises interact. People use LinkedIn for job searches, professional interactions, or growth.
Similarly, Instagram is more about pictures and videos. It has recently become a haven for product-based businesses that market their products through images and reels. On the other hand, Facebook is now dominated by service-based businesses and general people-to-people interactions.
Understanding your business dynamics and conducting a brand audit in the relevant direction will help you navigate through to your ideal customers and interact with them better.
HOW TO DO IT
- Evaluate which social media platform is most appropriate for your business category. Maintaining a consistent presence on all major channels and producing content that matches the platform’s tone is advisable.
- Consider the regularity of your posts. How frequently do you share content on social media?
- Do you interact with your followers? Customers appreciate when their preferred brand engages with them. A mention or a response can significantly contribute to establishing your brand’s credibility.
- How often do your followers engage or interact with your posts?
- Which posts drew the most attention in a set time?
Analyzing your social media presence will help you identify gaps or inconsistencies and develop a plan to improve your social media performance.
Step 7: Develop an Action Plan
Now that you have all the data and reviews, the next step is understanding what to do and how to do it best. Then, your action plan should prioritize the areas that need improvement and outline specific measures to address them.
Your action plan should include timelines, budgets, and metrics for measuring progress. Assigning responsibilities, setting deadlines, and tracking progress is essential to ensure your action plan is executed successfully.
Regularly reviewing your progress and making necessary adjustments will help you achieve your objectives.
HOW TO DO IT
- Chalk out all your findings both in brief and in detail. Make separate headings for each aspect.
- Summarize your survey results. Graphs or charts are an excellent way of representing data.
- Discuss your results with your partners and peers. If you have neither, see if you can have a quick consultation with some experts in brand building and audit.
- Develop a strategic plan by determining the order in which you will concentrate on different tasks.
- Execute the changes step by step. Certain adjustments are more effective when implemented concurrently. Assess the situation and proceed accordingly.
- Set timelines and submit your reports religiously on prescribed deadlines.
- Repeat the process afterward to see how much improvement you’ve made.
The Bottom Line
A brand audit is an essential procedure that assists in evaluating your brand’s present market standing and developing a productive strategy to enhance your brand’s performance. Remember that a brand audit should be a continuous process that adjusts to shifts in your business environment, ensuring that your brand stays pertinent and competitive.
If and when it gets too challenging, you can contact SpellBrand to help you. Or, even better, you can hand us over your tasks and focus on more pressing business matters. Feel free to contact us to discuss where you want to see your brand, and we’ll tell you what needs to be done.