Regardless of your industry, the current acceleration of change and digital transformation has made it vital for brands to stay agile and innovative. But how do you pinpoint where to improve? The answer is in a brand audit.
A brand audit can highlight where your strengths are — and what weaknesses need to be addressed. Even established brands need to keep ahead of the curve to stay at the top. Performing a brand audit builds a comprehensive picture of your company, showing you how to improve your strategy to reach more potential customers and increase sales.
Get ready to jumpstart your brand!
Why Your Business Could Benefit From a Brand Audit
If you’re looking to reach specific objectives and goals, a brand audit is a detailed analysis that will show you how your company is performing.
From your own goals to performance checks in relation to competitor brands in your industry, a brand audit allows you to:
Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses
How does your brand compare in the marketplace? Are certain strategies blowing others out of the water? Is there room for improvement? Trick question, there always is and a brand audit will show you where those weaknesses lie.
Form Specific Benchmarks and Strategy
Your marketing toolkit is incomplete without the results of a consistent brand audit. This critical step lets you take a step back and look at the brand as a whole. This overview will illustrate any inconsistencies between messaging and strategy. Confirm whether your current goals match your brand’s identity.
Determine Where You Land Compared to the Competition
It’s hard work getting to the top and even harder work to stay on top, but a brand audit can show you the path to success. With new brands popping up on the scene, your brand needs to do regular health checks to verify your performance in the market. This insight is invaluable as you optimize your brand’s overall strategy and goals.
Understand Your Target Audience and Anticipate Customer Expectations
Do your marketing efforts and advertising messaging align with your target audience? A brand audit showcases what works with your customers’ expectations and what should be workshopped. It can also reveal new target markets by showing your brand’s potential clientele.
Analyze Quantifiable Data
Your brand audit report will demonstrate unique data to your company that is indispensable to long-term success and growth opportunities.
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Brainstorm! How to Identify Opportunities to Improve Your Brand
Is your brand standing out from the crowd? There are various metrics to determine where and how your brand can improve to rise to the top, but below are two areas your audit should definitely cover:
- Internal branding: This includes your brand’s mission and values. Does your brand have a specific employee experience that you want the culture to reflect? Is your content up to par? Discover how to conduct a content marketing audit.
- External branding: This is the way your key audience views your brand and marketing presence. From your logo to marketing materials to the website, your top priority should be to live up to customer expectations — or exceed them.
You don’t want to forget how — or if — your brand is working both from the inside and out. Below are some reasons it may be time to start a brand audit:
- You’re not seeing the results you want: If current market strategies aren’t hitting your benchmarks, a brand audit can help illuminate where you can improve.
- Customers aren’t engaging with your content: Maybe emails are being left unread and website traffic isn’t where it should be.
- Sales could be better: Declining sales are often a reflection of missed opportunities. Utilize a brand audit to make a difference in your sales efforts.
But you should also perform a brand audit when things are going well because there’s always room for improvement. Think of it like a regular doctor’s check-up. Even if you feel great, it never hurts to check on your health and make sure everything is running smoothly.
If your company is seeing high website traffic numbers, good ROI and meeting many of your goals, there are still opportunities to elevate your current brand. Some questions to ask yourself include:
- Do you have a fully thought-out visual identity? What about your brand voice?
- Is it time to rebrand? What would that look like?
- How does your brand strategy compare to the competition?
- Is your company looking to scale up? Can the current strategy keep up?
- Are there updates needed for external materials (e.g., website, logo, etc.)? Where can you improve brand awareness?
Depending on your answers, each of these situations benefits from a brand audit where you can identify how to find and implement real-time solutions.
Shake It Up! How to Audit Your Brand in 5 Steps
When your brand strategy is aligned with your goals and customer expectations, you’ll see a higher rate of returning customers — and an improved bottom line. The more on-brand your company is, the more likely it is that customers will share their positive experiences with friends, family and colleagues.
Ready to conquer your ideal market? Below are the 5 steps to complete a brand audit:
1. Identify the Ultimate Goal of Your Brand
The first step on the brand audit journey is to list the specific goals you want to reach. Identify what measurements you need to capture to make the most of your brand’s audit. Are there specific points that need to be collected for decision-making?
By outlining objectives and setting up a goalpost, you have the means to determine your progress and track improvement in brand positioning. This doesn’t mean throwing out your original marketing goals, but it does mean approaching your brand with a fresh perspective.
When creating an ultimate goal, it’s important to consider:
- Past and current goals.
- Unique features of your brand.
- Target audiences.
- Product offerings.
- Marketing materials.
- Social media channels.
- Website analytics.
- Sales data.
The goals you distinguish and elaborate on in this step will guide the rest of your brand audit report plans.
2. Set Up a Plan According to Your Goals
Design an action plan that can meet your brand’s main objectives. Your plan should incorporate answers to the following questions:
- What methodology is required?
- Are there specific data points and/or metrics to help you track progress and reach your goals?
- Is there a timeline you need to follow?
- What short-term and long-term steps must be taken to reach your end goal?
- How will a potential weakness be addressed?
- Do you need new tools or skill sets to improve brand assets? For inspiration, take a look at our top 9 branding tools for marketing.
Add questions unique to your brand’s needs and elaborate on the steps that need to be taken to get them achieved.
3. Ideate Solutions
This is the fun part! It’s time to get those creative juices flowing and form solutions to any challenges your brand is facing. Gather your team and address each weakness or point of improvement that can be addressed.
A good source of inspiration is your competition. Is there an industry standard? What are they doing right that you could do better?
Facing a particularly challenging hurdle? Take a step back and imagine what your customer is looking for in your brand. If there’s a key selling point, identify what makes it work and why it resonates with customers.
4. Take Action
You’ve outlined your goals and brainstormed solutions — now it’s time to take action! Follow through on what your brand audit report reveals about your company. Focus on the immediate steps that can be taken and then start working toward your long-term goals.
Change doesn’t happen overnight and it may take time to see results. However, by implementing a proactive strategy your brand can take the steps necessary to drive growth and success. If your focus is website-driven change, explore our 9-step website audit checklist to make sure you’re on the right track.
5. Monitor Your Success!
You’ve talked the talk and walked the walk, so don’t forget to map where you’ve gone and where you’re headed. Take the time to track all of your metrics and review what they’re saying about your brand.
Between trends, data and customer feedback, monitor your progress and adjust where needed. If your goal was to improve website traffic, check your numbers regularly to evaluate how effective your changes have been. It’s never too late to go back to the drawing board if you’re not seeing the results you want.
On the other hand, if your data and analytics show improvement, that’s a great sign! Quantifiable results can bring confidence to new strategies and boost team morale, so be sure to share them.
How Following a Brand Audit Process Drives Results
With new brands popping up in the marketplace each day, it’s critical that your brand identity stands out from the pack. A brand audit highlights what’s special about your brand and what may need some tweaking to make it even better and attract a wider audience.
Here are some key tips to improve your ongoing business strategy through brand audits:
- Pinpoint effective brand identity imagery. Make a point to highlight what works in your brand strategy and identify why it works. How a customer perceives your brand is critical to success.
- Listen to feedback! You can’t act on information if you don’t have it. Reach out to your customer base and actually listen to what their needs and wants are. This will improve your action plan and spotlight any weak points.
- Keep it consistent. Consistency is key. Commit to delivering brand promises to gain customer loyalty. You need to be able to evolve, but you also don’t want to lose your brand voice to constant changes.
Leading your brand to success takes time, so it’s important to be patient during the audit process. Trial and error is a vital part of improvement — potential setbacks may be as valuable as your wins.
Keep an open mind as problem areas pop up within your brand’s strategy and you’ll be on your way to optimal brand health!
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