The main objective of a brand audit is the revaluation of current branding strategies. A well-conducted brand audit assesses the brand’s recent struggles and advantages in the marketplace. An audit is like a medical check-up that needs to be done once in a while to assure your company’s health. A healthy and strong brand is your ticket to success. Your corporate brand defines a lot more than you might think. It’s your presence in the market and in the digital landscape.
Turn downsides into opportunities to grow and learn. In this article, you’ll discover what brand audit is, how to conduct a brand analysis, learn from strategic audit examples, and find a brand audit checklist guaranteed to help you.
- What is a Brand Audit?
- When to Start a Brand Audit?
- Why Do a Brand Audit?
- How to Execute a Successful Brand Audit?
What is a Brand Audit?
A brand audit is a mechanism where your brand strategy is updated to:
- Keep up with the times and trends
- Improve sales and enlarge revenue
- Establish a stronger customer-company bond
- Find new ways for innovative solutions
It’s a thorough process and is not just a casual conversation between colleagues on how things are going in their respective departments. Many businesses outsource specialized agencies to conduct audits for them.
When to Start a Brand Audit?
A brand audit is not an impulse decision! Most companies go through it because:
- Nothing has been done to the branding strategies during an extensive amount of time.
- There has been a drop in sales.
- Digital presence and engagement are going down.
- A significant change in the organization is coming up.
- The customer loyalty index is low.
- During a due diligence process, there’s a need to identify cracks and flaws.
An organization can choose to perform brand analysis and audit for reasons other than the ones mentioned or without a particular trigger. Some international and high-profile companies with branches beyond upper management’s control do brand audits as a premature prevention mechanism.
Why Do a Brand Audit?
Don’t wait for the reason to start a brand audit to fall into your laps because it can vary from a minor inconvenience to a disaster of unmeasurable sizes. Be strategic but also remember that there is no textbook right time for it.
Conduct an audit to measure your success when it comes to:
- Evaluating your corporate tone
- Finding inconsistency between sales data and marketing data
- Identifying advantages and weaknesses of your brand
- Initiating competitor analysis in the growing market
- Understanding and measuring up to the customer feedback
How to Execute a Successful Brand Audit?
To execute a successful brand audit, you need to consider 5 core elements: SWOT analysis, branding strategy evaluation and marketing efforts success measurement, visual identity, and brand values examination.
First things first, analyze where you are as a company, what is keeping you back, and what can be turned from an opportunity to a strength. Ideally, your strengths and opportunities outweigh the negatives: weaknesses and threats.
It’s not the end of the world if you find even more issues than solid points by the end of this evaluation.
Remember to be honest with yourself if you are the one doing your company’s brand audit. Objectively analyze to go through the process and not regret missing something out later on.
This is your long-term plan on how implementation will be executed and how the goals will be achieved. Your brand strategy will benefit from your SWOT analysis being accurate and reflecting the actual situation. The main questions to ask yourself to develop a complete branding strategy are:
- Who are your customers?
- How do you identify your competition?
- Do your brand values and objectives match your public identity?
- Is it easy for a new customer to create a connection with you?
All the improvements done will be overseen by customers if your marketing efforts are not in sync. Marketing efforts are defined as the resources committed by the company towards the advancement of the marketing plan (developed during branding strategy evaluation).
Resources can be but are not limited to staff, freelancers, activities, technological aids, and more.
Everything is seen, from flyers to the website, t-shirts, and the office is your visual identity. It’s not limited to anything but “what the eye sees.” The main challenge when developing a visual identity is to keep everything coherent without communicating words. Keep that to your marketing team and focus on the visual story.
Your values define everything mentioned above. Your visuals, branding strategy, and marketing have to be in-tune with the brand values. If you are an innovative tech company, keep in mind to update your office gear every now and then. It’s weird if your employees are still using Windows XP.
It’s not just about the material things, either. If you are a cosmetics company donating to animal shelters but are still testing your products on lab animals, something is wrong. Keep this in mind!
Many international companies, like fast food or chain stores, keep their employees’ tone and visual presentation consistent. This supports the phenomenon of regardless of where in the world you are, McDonald’s is unchanged. Brilliant!
Brand Audit Checklist
Enjoy the convenience of your audit with our brand audit checklist. Get started with your audit steps and ease your brand review process.
Internal vs. External Audit
All aspects of your brand analysis should not be put into the same bowl. Most importantly, you need to identify which areas of work are internal and which are external. This may differ depending on the company’s field of work.
Internal brand audit needs to look at:
- Brand values at large
- Internal communication and employee relations
- Management and task rotation structure
- Office culture and practices
The objectives of external analysis are different:
- SEO management and implementation
- Social media presence
- Events, PR, and engagement
- Marketing efforts
The digital world, which is the primary platform for brand image improvement, “belongs” to Gen Zs and Millennials at large. This means that many conventional and old-school techniques won’t work with them. Authentic products and content, an honest approach, and transparent operations, that’s what the younger generation cherishes.
All your core values need to be directed towards customer happiness. Otherwise, any money and effort spent on branding won’t pay off if the general public is indifferent. There are several aspects of your communication to consider: factors and variables, industry, audience, and medium.
Factors and Variables
With any grand plan, there is a chance of failure. This is due to the fact that no matter how many genius minds work and develop a perfect strategy, there will be setbacks. Factors to keep a close eye on are:
- Being First
- Balanced Communication
- Positioning and Repositioning
- Internal Marketing
Considering these eases your further actions, but those don’t come without variables that may intervene. Make sure to monitor if your audience is your customer base, or if you are wasting marketing efforts on people who won’t bring profit in.
Even if your price point is well-thought-out, you need to keep up with what competitors are doing. Your drop in sales can be connected to a clearance that your competitors are having; evaluate your losses early on and have a buffer strategy.
Finally, follow trends and changes in everyday life. Who could have predicted the 2020 pandemic and a year of strict quarantine? Does this mean your company can’t handle and even benefit from a geopolitical change in livelihood? Yes, you can.
No news that a significant variable of your branding audit is the industry itself. Things are changing rapidly, even a mom-and-pop shop down the street is investing in a website and delivery services. Remember that even though you are competitors, you aren’t enemies, and healthy competition benefits everyone on the market.
To have a steady brand foundation, define and maintain a stable relationship with your target audience. Research what makes people interested in your brand. Is it nostalgic? Or, on the contrary, a breath of fresh air? Where can you find and communicate with your audience? Is it Facebook? Instagram? TikTok? Or a newspaper?
Talking about social media, and not only, you need to identify the medium through which your customers, and you will sustain a relationship and how newcomers will be attracted. Your target audience is a strong overlay of the company’s customer base and media following.
Choose your mediums wisely! If you are a glass cleaner doing great on TikTok, housewives buying your product won’t see the content you put up. Maybe redirect your efforts towards daytime TV and Facebook?
Be mindful when starting a brand audit. There is no standard blueprint to follow, and the brand audit strategy may differ from company to company. Focus on what matters for your company’s success and growth, define your metrics, and objectives.
Use a brand audit checklist to help you, read up on useful content, and remember that no one knows your company better than you!