What Stands Behind a Brand Audit?
If you started noticing that some aspects of your business are running well, while others are not, it’s high time to conduct a brand audit. It will help you detect the main strengths and weaknesses of the brand and improve some parts of it.
You may need to understand how to boost your company’s performance, reach more customers, increase brand awareness, and obtain more sales. A brand audit is a procedure that can help you cope with all the challenges and get more revenues.
In this short guide, we want to explain to you why a brand audit is so important and how to conduct it in 6 simple steps.
This multi-step process is meant for the analysis of how well your brand is operating among other companies on the market to withstand the competition. So, what is a brand audit? It is an analytical strategy that researches different aspects which make up a brand. These aspects can refer to the following:
1. Marketing goals and advertising techniques related to them.
2. The general strategy, goals, and purposes of the company.
3. The position on the market and brand awareness.
4. Ideal clientele and possible target audience.
5. Successful and positive customer experience, including using the company’s apps and websites.
6. Using innovations in products and services.
7. Effectiveness of storytelling and visual messaging.
The main purpose of such an audit is to detect hidden obstacles that prevent the brand’s growth and progress. These weaknesses can be both internal and external. The analysis will provide the roadmap for changing the things that do not work properly and improving the aspects that are OK to make them perform better.
The reasons for making the brand audit can include the following:
━ low traffic to your website;
━ low sales;
━ useless marketing efforts;
━ non-opened emails.
Even those brands that perform well can find the reason for the audit. If you are a startup, your project may start growing before you have developed the universal strategy for it. You may also need some research for rebranding. The visual identity of your company can be weak and vague. The website may seem outdated because it was designed at the very beginning of the company. Therefore, the purpose of a brand audit is always obvious - to find weaknesses and get rid of them. If you have a broader picture of the brand’s functionality, you will be able to make important changes and move on.
Most brand audits imply the same scenario consisting of the six essential steps.
How to Do a Brand Audit in Steps?
The brand audit definition describes it as a multi-step process. In fact, it is a certain course of action that can be performed either by the team members in a small company, a crew of marketers in a larger business, or an outsourcing company that uses cutting-edge tools and technologies.
The design of a brand audit may refer to three areas - internal and external branding, as well as the research of customer experience. Internal branding usually deals with the mission, culture, and core values of the company. External branding is what the target audience and potential stakeholders can see - a logo, brand messaging, and visual assets. Researching customer experience is vital because it deals with UX, customer support, and sales. Covering these areas allows for getting solid results. You can do that with the following steps.
Step 1. Identification of the Brand Audit’s Purpose
You have to with brainstorming what you need to analyze in your company’s performance. For example, you may focus on the website or social media marketing. You can even compose a mind map to make your purposes clearer. This mind map can be graphical or made up in a form of a specific questionnaire to create the framework and a plan for the audit. You may consider the following questions to discuss with your team before the start of the brand audit.
1. Is our website user-friendly, easy to navigate, and responsive to conversions?
2. Do you as our employee feel comfortable working for our company?
3. How do users see our brand on search engines?
4. Do our emails and links enjoy users’ attention and how often are they left unopened or unclicked?
5. How many products do we sell physically?
6. Are our customers satisfied with our products and services and how often do they recommend us to others?
7. Does our packaging represent the values of our brand?
8. Does our visual branding correspond to our message?
9. Do you as our employee recommend our company to your friends and relatives?
10. How well does our logo represent our company?
11. Do we use only the most optimal channels of advertising?
12. Do we need any changes in our perspective and storytelling techniques?
Step 2. Spotting the Overall Goal of Your Brand Audit
Now that you know what topics you will include in your brand audit, you should think about setting goals for it. These goals can be wide and long-term or pretty specific. It depends on the results you want to obtain.
The goals can be formulated with the help of a questionnaire. You can make a template for it, describing the brand aims and objectives first, and then asking questions to highlight them and the overall brand perception. For example, you can ask the following:
━ How can you describe our brand?
━ Think of three words that can clearly characterize the brand.
━ What made you buy the brand’s products for the first time?
━ Does the brand solve any problems for you? Which ones?
━ What do you think about our advertising? Do you like/dislike it? Why?
━ Within the audit procedure, you can come back to the answers to conclude whether your preliminary envisions were true or false.
Step 3. Making a Plan Referring to the Goals
You need to make a checklist to follow on your own or with your team. It should be a plan for your brand development or improvement. The checklist may include the following points:
1. Visual identity - everything concerning a logo, brand colors, brand patterns, style, images, a brand voice, and a tagline.
2. Website - checking whether images, prices, and program sales dates are always updated.
3. Social media - testing your brand’s presence and its efficiency on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
4. Print - looking at the correspondence of packaging, tags, and Thank You cards to your company’s mission and goals.
You can also make this checklist multi-leveled. Create one main list with several tasks that come from it. You can assign these tasks to your team members and expect unbiased results from them. You will also need to set deadlines for different tasks by making a table or a Gantt chart to organize and focus your team properly.
You can also think about making a SWOT analysis for your brand. It is a specific system that helps define Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to your business and its brand’s performance.
Step 4. Collecting and Analyzing the Data
Start collecting data for your brand audit. You can develop surveys with specific questions related to your brand’s performance. Some points may be the following:
━ product likability;
━ product quality;
━ social media ads;
━ social media ads setup;
━ shipping speed;
━ website usability;
━ packaging update, etc.
These can be separate surveys of parts of one survey meant for both your customers and people who have just heard about your company. Try to formulate the questions clearly and consistently to collect as much information as you can. You may use a whiteboard and sticky notes to keep the results and findings organized in one place. The proper organization of survey questions and answers will help to analyze the received data later. You can also use spreadsheets for more convenient structuring of quantitative data or Google documents to take notes of all qualitative data.
This step can take some time. If you are working as a team, do not make any individual changes within the process until the data collection is finished.
Step 5. Analyzing Results and Making Up Solutions
After you have collected the data, structured it, and analyzed it, it’s time to look thoroughly at the brand audit results to put forward the corresponding solutions if you have identified specific issues. You can visualize the data in the form of charts, graphs, or diagrams.
Now, you can think of solutions. If you are doing a brand audit alone, you may need some help with ideation. If you do it as a team, brainstorm the solution ideas with them related to internal, external, and customer experience branding. Use the data you have collected related to these aspects. You need to make up two separate lists with the best strengths and the worst weaknesses. Try to put them together and decide how the strengths can improve the weaknesses.
For example, you can see that you have a lot of likes and clicks on Instagram presentations, but your emails are never opened or answered. You may decide to reduce the text and add visuals to your emails as an interesting solution. The visuals need to be the same or similar you are using on Instagram. Don’t forget to write down all the possible solutions and ideas to use within the improvement process.
Step 6. Making Changes and Monitoring Improvements
Now, you have a lot of ideas collected and listed, so it’s time to start their implementation. Start with the easiest solutions to put them into life. You can implement them quickly and get results very soon. For example, your domain URLs and social media profiles may be different, so people cannot find you online. Change the profiles to match your brand names and domain URLs.
You can also try two different options to solve one issue. It is called A/B testing. You will see that just after the first operations, your ROI, brand awareness, and conversions will increase, and the customer feedback will become more positive. You can even use a short feedback survey on your website. It may contain just one or two questions, for example, “Would you recommend us to your friends and family?”
So, you know now how to do a brand audit step by step. You can see how simple the process is and what stages it should go through. It does not matter whether you are a startup, a newbie in a specific niche, an experienced retailer, or a big and reputable company. Doing an audit for your brand is helpful at every stage of your company’s development. You will clearly see the areas for improvement and your prospects for development. That will help you boost your conversions and increase revenue by making your brand more recognizable, reputable, and popular.
You can start your brand audit right now because we have shown you how to do it with the help of these tips and templates so that your company can get rid of unnecessary obstacles and continue its growth and extension.