The definitive guide and a checklist
An effective way to reveal weaknesses and identify opportunities to strengthen your brand presence is through a comprehensive brand audit. The marketplace is always evolving. Your brand should be evolving, too. Even the most brilliant brands can fail. A leading brand will crumble if it becomes stale. A boring brand will fade into the background as new and exciting ones take their place. If a brand is inconsistent across its customer touchpoints, it may lose its effect. Confusion among customers can cripple a brand’s success. A forgotten or unmemorable brand is as good as gone. Yet, brands can prevent failure, resulting from the mistakes mentioned above.
The solution: a brand audit.
Undergoing an audit of your brand can help brands establish consistency and reinforce their best and most memorable traits. An accurate analysis can identify the best opportunities and reveal areas that could be improved or benefit from some adjustments. A comprehensive audit of your brand examines your brand’s current position in the marketplace. It helps you understand how to leverage your strengths in the current climate.
Regardless of whether you are considering a total rebrand or not, a brand audit is always a good idea. It helps you discover issues that might not present themselves in a clear manner. For example, it can expose inconsistencies in your messaging. This includes all forms of communication with your customers, vendors, and target audience. Discovering differences in internal and external communication can help brands recognize the changes needed.
Managing Customer Expectations
Consistency builds trust and familiarity. This helps you manage customer expectations. Managing customer expectations can lead to higher customer satisfaction. It’s easier to manage customer expectations when you know how your brand communicates. Knowing how others perceive your brand is also a benefit of conducting a brand audit. By ensuring brand consistency, a brand audit can lead to stronger brand loyalty.
A comprehensive audit includes accurate analysis of your competition. Your audit should examine your brand relative to your competitors. You cannot measure the value of your brand in a vacuum. A complete audit of your brand should compare your brand among competitors in the ever-changing marketplace. By providing a status update, you can track your brand’s success and influence.
The success of a brand audit lies in the details. Begin by searching for any inconsistencies in colors, logo presentation, fonts, and messaging. Look at your brand guidelines. Check for any other deviations that may go against your brand guidelines.
Here is a checklist of the seven essential elements to review for a thorough brand audit:
1. Document the complete customer experience.
Begin auditing your brand by identifying your customer touchpoints. Make sure the brand is consistent for every interaction it has and everyone it reaches. A brand audit can help you recognize areas of inconsistency. View each touchpoint as an opportunity to create consistency.
2. Create and manage an inventory of all physical marketing materials.
Collaborate with departments to make a comprehensive list of items. Include brochures, business cards, sales sheets, estimate templates, letterheads, and other marketing materials. This will save you time and make it easier to conduct an audit. Managing this inventory will help the brand audit process run and finish faster.
3. Create and manage an inventory of all branded materials.
Compile all tangible branded items into a list. Include signage, vehicles, clothing, mugs, and any other branded non-marketing-specific items. This inventory list will also save you time now and in the future, by speeding up the process of an audit of the brand.
4. Account for all digital assets.
This includes your website, social media accounts, digital presentation templates, and email signatures. Don’t forget to include digital assets in the operational aspects of the business. Invoice templates and other software with your logo or color scheme embedded count. Hint: There is often more than you think.
5. Check your social presence.
Start with your company-managed social media accounts. Your brand audit should also review how your brand appears on third-party sites. Google listings, Yelp, and customer reviews and rankings from other sources are important. They influence your brand, so your audit should reflect them, as well. Both qualitative and quantitative data are essential for understanding feedback. Take both into consideration for a comprehensive understanding of how your brand appears. Comments are a great example of qualitative feedback that gives insight into feelings. Star ratings are an example of quantitative feedback that reflects how your brand performs.
6. Review analytics for your online and offline presence.
Use this step in an audit of your brand to take the pulse of engagement. This analysis should cover all your brand’s channels. Examine both virtual traffic to your website and foot traffic to physical locations. Analyze engagement metrics on social feeds and onsite engagement.
7. See how competitors position themselves.
Successful brands serve a unique need in the marketplace. For this step in a brand audit, identify your top competitors. Examine their positions in the marketplace. Ensure that your brand is not duplicating its value propositions. This can reveal if your value proposition is still unique or in need of attention.
What should you do with this information?
Once these seven steps are complete, your audit committee should collaborate. Everyone should identify gaps and opportunities presented by the data. The right results will show which channels are most effective to reach your audience. They will also reveal what messages serve your unique position in the marketplace. You should know where to invest your marketing dollars to get the biggest bang for your buck.
In short, the time and effort that you invest into your brand audit can yield high returns. The branding experts at id8 can help you get the highest return and see the best results. We will ensure that the audit of your brand is efficient and effective. Contact us today to get started!