No matter what kind of company or business you own, your brand is the most important thing for you. And to make your brand continuously survive in the competitive market, you need a Brand Audit!
Businesses with strong brands are more sustainable and can gain enormous success in a short time span. With a promising brand, you can influence customer preferences in buying decisions, gain customer loyalty fast, reduce operational expenses of your business and win over the competition.
In shorts, to ensure that your brand stays at the top in your preferred industry and one with biggest customer base, you need to conduct a brand audit.
If you don’t know anything about brand audit and want a quick glance about its significance and the correct way to do it, check this post.
What is a Brand Audit?
You must have heard the word ‘audit,’ which means an examination or assessment of a company’s current status. Just like financial audit gives a clear idea about the company’s present financial condition, a brand audit lets you know about your company’s brand presence and status in the market.
It thoroughly examines the current position of a brand in the market to know its performance and effectiveness in comparison to the competitors. By conducting a brand audit, you can identify the weaknesses and strengths of your brand along with opportunities for growth and innovation.
If your business is experiencing reduced profits from a long time or sales are decreasing over time, conducting a brand audit will let you gain insights about the performance and impact of your brand in the marketplace.
In simple terms, a brand audit lets you know why your brand is not delivering!
What’s the Significance of a Brand Audit for Businesses?
Brands with a strong presence in the market earn more profit. The more powerful the brand you have, the stronger is your business.
With the help of a powerful brand, you can engage, gather and inspire the audience and eventually increase your overall profits. But even if your brand is doing consistently well in the market, still, it requires a brand audit.
A consistent and robust brand implies you are spending less money to attract new customers. You have a huge clientele base and your clients keep coming back to you. Moreover, you can assign premium rates for your services and products, which lets you earn more profits.
Furthermore, if your brand is powerful, it will encourage referrals, boost social media engagement, and ultimately be a critical part of your overall business profitability.
Alternatively, a weak brand is always disconnected to customers. It gradually shrinks in market size and leads to reduced sales and eventually puts your business out of the market.
A thorough brand audit reveals novel opportunities for growth for your brand and offers new ways to make the brand resonate with both present and new generation of target clients.
Conducting a brand audit lets you identify the customer and company viewpoint in various aspects, such as:
- Brand value
- Strengths of brand and business resource
- Identify brand deficiencies
- Creating brand awareness in the market
- External threats
- Newmarket opportunities and market trends
- Development of new product
- Evaluating profitability channels
- Assessing reputation, attitude, image, and perception of a brand in the market
- Analyzing the efficiency of brand management efforts
Benefits of Brand Audit:
A brand audit primarily reveals the way your customers perceive your brand, how the brand performs in competition and how your brand has performed over the years.
Some of the prominent benefits a brand audit delivers are:
- Enhanced awareness of internal staff
- Improved and enhanced brand management congruency and efforts.
- Helps to sharpen and strengthen marketing communications on online as well as offline platforms.
- Gain insights into your brand portfolio, business structure, and brand architecture
- Refocus and assess brand positioning.
- Makes sure the collateral of your brand is congruent and offers a high return on investment.
- Offers a promising direction for your brand to grow in the future
- Grow as well as secure your brand’s value through regular implementation of recommendations obtained from findings of a brand audit.
What Does the Process of Brand Audit Involve?
The process of brand audit can deliver you best results when conducted systematically. While starting a brand audit, it is vital to define the objectives of your brand audit.
Usually, a brand audit is a customized service because there are innumerable components involved in the process of a brand audit. And it might not be essential to audit all these brand audit elements for every business.
If you have a small business or your brand is still on the initial stage of development, it is best to conduct a brand audit yourself. However, if you have enough budgets, you must hire a professional brand audit agency, which possesses the expertise to conduct a brand audit efficiently.
The extent to which a brand audit is conducted is greatly determined by the overall size of your organization, brand, timescale, budget, and market with the power and size of your brand relative to the market and business in which it operates.
Some important aspects that you must consider while conducting a brand audit are:
- Values – Assess the market situation for values that your brand stands for.
- Vision – Analyze the situation of your brand and what it strives to become. It is important to figure out where your brand is going.
- Differentiation – Try to figure out what makes your brand unique.
- Concept – Analyze what does your brand stands for and which niche does it belong.
- Solution – Determine the problems that your brand solves.
- Promise – Identify the needs, desires, and hopes that your brand satisfy.
- Position – Identify the way your brand is perceived by customers as compared to the competitors in the market.
- Benefit – Assess the core advantages and strengths of your brand.
- Motivation – There must be a driving factor that influences people to purchase your brand’s services and products. A brand audit lets you know about the same.
- Expression – Check for aspects that define the way you provide and sell your service or offerings.
Things to Consider for a Brand Audit:
Before you begin with the process of brand audit, you must first figure out things that you must audit in the process.
1. Brand Platform and Strategy:
It assesses the following aspects of your brand:
- Brand purpose
- Brand promise
- Value proposition
- Brand personality
- Brand essence
- Message architecture
2. Brand Assets:
Secondly, you need to make sure that your brand voice is consistent and distinct. Identify, does the personality of your brand come across in style and tone of the copy and design.
Finally, identify are you writing and creating design style guides keeping into consideration the updated aspects.
3. External and Internal Touchpoints:
The brand audit process lets you analyze the customer experience. It assesses every aspect of single external communication, touchpoint, and channel, offline and online.
Also, it assesses the internal communications of your brand including employee engagement, recruitment, advocacy materials, education, and campaigns.
Steps to Conduct a Brand Audit:
In addition to considering the above-mentioned aspects, some of the steps you must follow to conduct the brand audit process.
1. Design a Proper Architecture for Audit Process:
Before beginning, the audit process, spend enough time to develop the framework you require to assess the brand.
Start by assessing the brand platform, which includes purpose, promise, values, value proposition, essence, and purpose of your brand. These are the most important aspects to consider as you will need them throughout the audit process.
Considering these aspects will let you measure that the touchpoints and marketing communications are in harmony with the vision and strategy of your brand.
If your business lacks a robust brand platform, review the goals and vision of your company along with competitive landscape and buyer personas. With the help of such tools, you can set objective benchmarks for assessing whether the marketing and brand communications convey the correct messages to the audience or not.
Ultimately, it helps you achieve your business goals and allow you to stand out from the competitors.
2. Establish Priorities and Goals:
One important aspect of the brand audit process is that it must review your brand against marketing and business objectives. For this, you must be clear about the priorities and goals of your brand.
Define your marketing priorities and goals considering the target audiences, their challenges, and needs. The goals must define brand awareness among the target audience. Your objectives must check the current perception of your brand and how it is different from similar brands in the market.
Finally, create goals by identifying the present market share of your brand and identifying various opportunities for growth.
In addition to this, set goals identifying what you have to do for increasing your brand’s visibility among target audiences. What you must do in order to accomplish your goals in the coming years.
Having all such details in hand gives you a clear idea about the present status of your brand and what you wish to achieve.
3. Ask Questions to Your Audiences:
Any brand is shaped by the experiences and perceptions of its audience. Hence, it is vital to take an in-depth overview of the key brand stakeholders in order to identify gaps, which exist between the desired and present brand perception.
The input from stakeholders validates the beliefs of your company and unleashes discrepancies, which exist between what is valued by your audiences and what you think is important to audiences.
In this context, you must include two prominent groups of audiences:
- External, which includes partners, influencers and customers
- Internal, which includes advisory board, leadership, and staff
The data gathered will let you assess the adjustments required to make to the brand platform, brand strategy, and other associated marketing collaterals.
4. Conduct a Comparison with Your Competitors:
While conducting a brand audit, it is extremely vital to know the way your brand performs against the competitors.
For this, first, assess the position of your company in the market. Along with it analyze the position of your competitors in the market including aspects like geography, industry, and more.
Next, identify the differentiating factors that set your company apart from others. If there is need, list all the changes that you need to make to your brand positioning and strategy to gain better results.
5. Examine Internal and External Communications:
Further, you need to examine the marketing communications of your brand audit to identify their effectiveness.
While assessing the communication platform, consider the overall experience of your customers. There must be a balance between the emotional and technical content offered. You must check communication that brings tangible value to the company.
Also, your communication must resonate with and must be relevant to your target audience. Your communication platforms must convey the reasons to select your brand to your audience.
It is vital that the communication platform holds a consistent style and tone across all channels. It must satisfy their unique wants, challenges, and needs. You must communicate often with target audiences.
Most importantly, your communication channel must have a clear call to action and spells out correctly the steps you want you to desire your audience must take.
6. Define Conclusions:
By the starting of this step, you will have complete details you require for determining whether your brand is moving on track, require to be refreshed or will need a major revamp.
Check for lacks in your brand relevancy, the way an internal culture of your brand is represented and the way it deals with changing attitudes and demographics. The message and design of your brand must be consistent and it must seamlessly translate message across varying channels and customer touchpoints.
7. It’s Time to Act:
The core purpose of a brand audit is to determine the actions needed by your company to strengthen the brand. Hence, you must pair key findings with a detailed plan including proper steps for execution.
In addition to identifying the results you wish to achieve, it is vital to regularly monitor the business progress to know how close it is to achieving your goals.
Remember, a brand audit is not a one-time process. Things can change a lot within just a few years. Hence, it is wise to conduct a brand audit on a regular basis to consistently monitor your brand’s progress, weaknesses, strengths, and growth opportunities.
Regularly following up and taking necessary actions, you can easily build a wider audience base and target more customers to gain more revenue.