How to Do a Brand Audit in 7 Steps
Brand audits are essential to your overall brand strategy and help keep your branding consistent across your marketing efforts.
Brands are everything. Whether it's the shirt you wear or the drink you drink, a brand is what gives our products their personality and identity. For this reason, it's no surprise that more than a third of consumers prefer buying from a business with a strong brand identity.
However, many businesses choose not to invest the time and money necessary to build a brand, which can prove costly in the long run. When done correctly, a brand audit will help you identify any problems your company may have that could be holding it back. With the help of a branding specialist, you'll be able to develop an effective strategy for making the changes necessary to improve your brand.
Today, we will teach you everything you need to know about performing a brand audit.
Step 1: Understand Your Audience
The most critical factor in a successful branding strategy is knowing whom you are trying to reach. Before you start creating your brand, take some time to think about what you want to achieve, whom you want to market your product to and what you expect your audience to be like.
For example, if you plan to sell a book, you must consider the book's target audience, who they are and what they like. You'll also need to consider how they might respond to your book. What books are currently selling, and do you want to target similar readers?
Doing research can be difficult, especially when thinking about creating your brand. However, the more information you can gather about your potential audience, the more likely you are to be able to develop a unique and appealing brand.
When you have found out as much as you can, you can start thinking about how you can personalise your brand. For example, people should easily recognise your brand name. Creating a unique brand will help you establish a solid reputation for yourself. It will also help you to attract other customers.
Before creating a brand, you must decide what you want to sell. Think about what your products are and why you need to offer them. Are your products simply an accessory to what you already offer? Or do you want to sell a complete service, offering a new range of products?
Consider your audience too. Whom do you want to buy your products from? How old are they? What kind of lifestyle do they lead?
If you are creating a business for yourself, it is easy to be concerned about what others think. However, your primary aim should be to make money.
To create a successful brand, you must first understand your audience. You must know your customer and the purpose of your business. If you don't understand your audience, you cannot create a brand that meets their needs.
There are many reasons a business owner may not know what their audience wants. They may not be aware of what they like and may have no idea who their potential customers are. You must take the time to find out.
- What does your audience do?
- What are they interested in?
- What do they dislike?
- How do they communicate?
- Who are their friends?
- What is their age group?
Once you have researched your audience, you will be able to think about ways in which you can design your brand to appeal to them. In other words, you can determine what you want to say to them. Your brand will help you to express what your business offers and how you can help others.
The most important thing to remember when creating a brand is that you can only market successfully to people similar to you.
Step 2: Assess Brand Personality
Brand personality is an essential element in the development of an organisation. Many organisations take the time to conduct a brand audit to understand their identity and develop a strategy to improve it. The results of this study will show you how to assess brand personality in a brand audit.
A brand audit is a detailed examination of the organisation's brand image and perception, including consumer perceptions and the brand's ability to stand out in the marketplace. It is conducted by marketers, marketing communications professionals, and business analysts. These specialists use surveys, interviews, and research to evaluate the current state of the brand and identify opportunities to improve.
Brand personality is the image consumers have of a brand, which is essential to any brand identity. According to the European Marketing Association (EMA), “the personality of the brand is the unique blend of values, beliefs, and behaviours that makes the brand distinctive.”
While branding has become more complex over the years, certain fundamental elements still can make or break a brand.
Branding personality can be divided into three different categories: the brand image, the brand promise, and the brand essence. Each of these is a unique and vital part of the brand.
Here are some tips to help you assess brand personality.
1: Conduct a survey
The first step in assessing brand personality is to conduct a survey. This survey should focus on how consumers feel about the brand and what they like and dislike.
The survey can ask people about the brand's strengths and weaknesses and why they think it has a positive or negative image.
2: Interview customers
The second step in assessing brand personality is to interview customers. While conducting the survey may lead to obvious results, it's also essential to look at other aspects of the brand, such as the customer experience.
For instance, if you're surveying to identify the brand's strengths and weaknesses, it's also essential to consider whether people feel the brand is approachable and trustworthy.
By using both the survey and interview, you can gain a better understanding of the brand.
3: Understand consumer needs
The final step in assessing brand personality is to understand consumer needs. This means understanding what people want from a brand and what they expect. It can also help you create a strategy to communicate with your target audience.
In summary, a brand personality is a powerful tool for building a brand. To ensure it is as effective as possible, you must learn how to assess brand personality. You can develop a strategy to help your brand stand out from the competition by completing the abovementioned steps.
Step 3: Define Your Goals
When starting a brand audit, you should define your goals and design an audit plan that supports those goals. To start with, let's look at the most fundamental goal of every brand audit:
Determining the overall health of your brand
Your goal is to determine if your brand is healthy or if there are problems that need to be fixed. A healthy brand will have a good reputation among the target audience. The brand is also known as your company name, the product, or the service that you provide.
Here are some of the questions you can ask yourself to evaluate your brand's health:
- How do customers perceive your brand?
- How much money do you spend on advertising?
- Do customers complain about your brand?
- What do customers say about your brand online?
- Are your competitors doing better than you?
- How much do you sell?
- What type of customers are attracted to your brand?
- Which social media channels do people use?
These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself to determine if your brand is healthy or not. Once you know the current status, you can work on making your brand healthier.
Now that you know how to measure your brand's health, it's time to define your audit objectives. This will help you know what to focus on while designing the audit. It would help if you had a clear goal to achieve your objectives. For instance, one objective could be to improve your company's financial performance.
Some of the questions that you should consider are:
- Why are you auditing?
- How is your brand perceived?
- What is the market share of your brand?
- How many customers do you have?
- What is your market position?
- Who is your competition?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How can you improve your weaknesses?
- Do your competitors have the same strengths as you?
- What are your competitive advantages?
- Is your brand profitable?
- How do you stand out in your industry?
- What do people love about your brand?
- What don't they like about your brand?
Step 4: Identify Opportunities for Improvement
The brand audit process can uncover many insights about your business. These insights can include weaknesses that might lead to negative brand perception and performance. It may also reveal strengths and areas for growth. A successful brand audit will allow your organisation to create a solid foundation for future growth.
Here are five ways that you can use a brand audit to improve your business:
- Determine if your brand has a positive or negative perception.
- Identify opportunities for improvement within your company.
- Discover new ideas to build upon your strengths.
- Identify ways to improve your marketing campaigns and overall customer experience.
- Make changes that will help your organisation grow and develop.
Step 5: Identify Weak Points
Identifying weak points in a brand audit is one of the most critical aspects of creating a successful brand audit report.
A well-crafted report can significantly impact the results of your brand audit. Therefore, you must identify the areas likely to impact the overall branding results.
Weak spots in a brand audit are areas that are less developed or may have room for improvement.
The first thing you should do when starting a brand audit is to understand the purpose of the brand audit. Why is it being done? What goals does the audit serve? Are these goals specific or general? This is critical because it will influence your approach.
If the goal is to improve the current brand, then it will require a different approach than if the goal is to get a better understanding of the brand. Taking on a more strategic role, such as managing a brand, will probably give you a clearer idea of the brand.
Step 6: Choose the Most Effective Strategies
An effective brand audit is a strategy to strengthen the core elements of a brand. It also provides an opportunity to develop new strategies for further growth. Brand audits also play an essential role in identifying the areas that need improvement.
An effective brand audit should start by reviewing the current brand positioning and understanding what the brand stands for. This will help determine the brand's strengths and weaknesses and which strategy would be the best. An effective brand audit also includes understanding the company's business objectives and how they are aligned with the brand. It is imperative to note that every brand has a different purpose. So, every brand audit needs to be tailored accordingly.
Let us now discuss how you can choose the most effective strategies in a brand audit.
Choose the proper audit method
Auditing a brand is complicated and can take months or even years to complete. So, before embarking on an audit, it is essential first to consider the type of audit that will yield the most accurate results.
For instance, if your primary objective is to understand how customers perceive your brand, you can conduct a customer survey. But, if you want to understand what customers think about your brand but don't have access to them, then you can use the web analytics tool. On the other hand, if you want to evaluate the impact of your marketing activities on the brand, then you can conduct event-based research.
In addition to these three broad approaches, there are several other methods that you can use to conduct a brand audit. These include in-depth interviews, focus groups, surveys, and secondary research.
Each of these approaches has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is recommended that you choose the one that best fits your requirements.
Choosing the right stakeholder for the audit
Auditing a brand is very complex, requiring many stakeholders' involvement. So, it is crucial first to identify the people involved in the brand audit.
This includes both internal and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders refer to employees, managers, and other key players within the organisation. On the other hand, external stakeholders include customers, vendors, suppliers, partners, shareholders, and government regulators.
It is imperative to remember that each stakeholder has a role to play. So it is recommended that you carefully consider the people involved in the audit. Once you have identified the right stakeholders, you need to decide the frequency of interaction and the duration of the audit.
Step 7: Execute!
Launching a brand audit is a great way to get a handle on what's going on inside your business. If you're looking to launch a brand audit, you can start by considering the following three questions.
What do you want to know about your brand?
The first step to launching a brand audit is to consider what you want to learn about your brand. This should be on your mind for a while, but you haven't had the time or resources to investigate. Maybe you've noticed a growing trend that you're not happy with. Or perhaps you're aware of something starting to get on your nerves, and you'd like to get to the bottom of it. Whatever it is, this is the perfect opportunity to make sure that your brand is everything that you want it to be.
What kind of problems are you facing?
Next, you'll need to look at what problems you're currently facing. It's essential to start by understanding the kinds of issues you're facing to understand where you might need to focus your efforts. For example, if your brand has a reputation problem, it would be good to know what type of problems you're facing to work out how best to fix them. If you don't know where to focus, you may spend time and money trying to solve things you don't even need to.
Who is responsible for your brand?
Finally, getting a sense of who is responsible for your brand is essential. It would be best if you tried to identify everyone interested in your brand and ask them what they think of it. Ideally, this will be a group of passionate people about your brand, and you'll need to consider why they feel the way they do. Understanding why people feel the way they do is often the first step towards improving. If you don't have the time to get involved in this work, you could hire someone else to do it for you.
Launch a brand audit to gain insights into what your brand stands for, what it's known for and how others view it.
Brand audits are essential because they allow you to uncover your brand's bad stuff. This means you can take appropriate actions to fix the problem and grow your business. The seven steps in this post will guide you through a brand audit and help uncover all the different ways your brand may fail you.
Want to know what makes a successful brand? Start here with the 7-step process for analysing your company and its competitors.