The Brand Audit. A step-by-step guide to assess your brand health.

The Brand Audit. A step-by-step guide to assess your brand health.

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A brand audit is an essential exercise for any business, big or small. Think of it as a comprehensive health check-up for your brand that helps you identify its strengths and weaknesses, how it's perceived in the market, and what…

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Often when a company has grown over time, they tend to outgrow their original brand values. And that’s understandable. There becomes a noticeable difference between what a brand’s marketing initiatives originally intended to do and how customers now perceive that brand. When that happens, this is known as the ‘brand gap’.
Of course, one way to reduce the brand gap is to change the brand identity and bring it in line with the company’s current position. That however, can be costly – in both time and money. So, before that step is made, a brand audit should be considered.

A brand audit can be especially crucial during times of change – whether you’re scaling up, entering new markets or simply improving processes.

WHY DOES THE BRAND AUDIT DO?
The brand audit enables a company to:

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
Conducting a brand audit gives you a bird’s-eye view of what’s working well for your brand and where you’re falling short. This comprehensive understanding can guide your marketing and product development efforts, ensuring they’re focused on your areas of strength and addressing your weaknesses.

Measure Brand Perception
Your brand isn’t what you say it is; it’s what your customers say it is. Through customer surveys, social media sentiment analysis, and other means, a brand audit can tell you if your brand is perceived the way you intend.

Guide Strategy
The insights gleaned from a brand audit should feed directly into your strategic planning. Whether it’s the identification of a new target market or the need for a product pivot, your audit findings should guide your future moves.

Ensure Consistency
A brand audit scrutinises every customer touchpoint to ensure that your brand is consistently represented across all platforms. This is a crucial step for establishing a coherent brand image, something we at Design Inc excel at helping our clients achieve.

WHAT DOES A BRAND AUDIT CONSIDER?
The brand audit can analyse a number of key components including:

Visual Identity
This involves a critical review of your brand logo, straplines, colour schemes, typography, image type and style and other visual elements to see if they align with your brand’s values and messaging.

Written Identity
This looks at the style and tone of your written word and the way you portray your company, ensuring the company’s position and personality is adequately represented by the tone of voice used.

Quality of assets
This reviews all the marketing assets you’ve published – from blog posts & whitepapers, through to company literature & advertising – to ensure they’re not just at the right level of quality but also consistent in style.

Website and Digital Presence
Your website is often the first point of contact with potential customers. A brand audit will consider its user-friendliness, mobile responsiveness, load times, and SEO factors like keywords and backlinks. Moreover, it can also assess your presence on social media platforms, looking at metrics like engagement, reach, and follower demographics.

Customer Feedback
A thorough audit can also analyse customer reviews, social media mentions, and survey responses. These first-hand insights can offer valuable perspectives on your product quality, customer service and overall brand experience.

Competitor Analysis
Understanding how you fare in comparison to your competitors is an essential part of a brand audit. At Design Inc, we offer a detailed competitor analysis that helps you identify where you stand and what steps you can take to gain a competitive edge.

WHAT ARE THE STEPS INVOLVED IN A BRAND AUDIT?

Define Objectives
Be clear about what you hope to achieve with this audit. Your goals & objectives will guide the audit process.

Assemble a Team
Gather a team that can offer diverse insights into various aspects of your brand. This can include representatives from marketing, design, customer service, and even finance for financial performance indicators. Or, simply approach a branding agency who will work with you on this project.

Gather Data
Collect every piece of material related to your brand. This includes marketing collateral, customer correspondence, social media posts, and even internal communications.

Analyse the Findings
With your data in hand, start identifying patterns, inconsistencies, and areas for improvement. Use tools like Google Analytics for web data, CRM systems for customer interactions, and social media analytics for digital engagement.

Compare with Competitors
Conduct a SWOT analysis that compares your brand’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats against your key competitors.

Create an Action Plan
Based on your findings, create a detailed action plan with timelines, responsible parties, and required resources.

Implement Changes
Once your action plan is in place, the next step is to implement the changes. Whether it’s minor tweaks or a full-blown rebranding, this is where the rubber meets the road. If you find this part challenging, Design Inc offers full-service solutions from planning to execution.

Review and Adapt
After implementing the changes, review their impact. Collect new data and compare it with your baseline to measure the effectiveness of your actions.

Conducting a brand audit is a long-term investment in the health and success of your brand. If you find the task too daunting or are unsure where to begin, Design Inc has a team of experts ready to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring that your brand aligns perfectly with your strategic goals.

See also:
>> Creating a Powerful Brand
>> Developing the Brand Name
>> The Importance of Brand Guidelines
>> Branding Terms A-Z

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Design Inc is a full service creative agency based in Surrey, UK. To discuss your own requirements, please contact us now.