Brand Audits: Unlocking Your Business Potential
Uncover brand audit strategies that drive success. Explore how to elevate your brand's impact and market position. Dive in now!
Written by RamotionSep 28, 202312 min read
Last updated: Sep 28, 2023
Do you know that your business's greatest asset is your brand identity? According to studies, 88% of consumers say authenticity is a deciding factor when choosing and supporting the company and its product.
Indeed, a brand identity that reveals your unique personality and genuineness is that powerful. When well done, it does magic with the company's presence in the market.
However, what if you need some help with brand recognition? What if it is getting harder and harder to fight competition and introduce new products and services to the market? This is the first sign that your brand identity needs a revamp. After all, nothing is eternal: brand identity should adapt to new realities to keep up with the fast-moving World. This means the time has come to do a brand audit and bring your business back on track with a series of data-driven decisions.
Defining brand audit
What Is a Brand Audit?
Brand audit is a process of revisiting and revising your current state, status, strategy, or, in this particular case, brand identity.
It invites you to take a step back and get a fresh look at who you are, how your audience perceives you, and how your company and products perform in the market.
A brand audit is not a quick or short overview. It is a thorough analysis that takes time and commitment to inspect your business and examine its performance in a broad market and competition landscape.
As a rule, it covers three major areas that are cornerstones of the company's positioning. They are internal branding, external branding, and customer experience.
Internal branding concerns everything your company is. This includes mission, vision, value, personality, position, goals, working environment, and culture.
External branding concerns the company's interactions and presence in distribution and communication channels. This includes websites, advertisements, logos, social media profiles and posts, email campaigns, print media, and events.
This area uncovers the brand's perception by customers and prospects. This includes all touchpoints across communication channels, users' interactions, customer support, sales processes, content engagement, and all customer-facing positions, whether online or in brick-and-mortar stores.
Importance of Brand Audit
Finding ways to mitigate the downslide or problems with overall brand recognition lately is one of many reasons you need a brand audit. It does many good things, such as a thorough analysis covering areas crucial for businesses to grow and keep up with the market. Let's consider the most important.
First, it helps to determine the main reason for decreased customer engagement and loyalty. These two factors are vital for the company's future growth since they stand behind the most significant part of conversions and revenue. They also support the word-of-mouth marketing efforts, helping the brand extend its sphere of influence and recognition.
Second, a brand audit is necessary when you have low brand awareness regardless of all your efforts. This means something needs to be fixed with your brand identity or how your company interacts and delivers key messages and value to customers. Having a deep overview of your actions is best.
Third, it is also a must-have when you expect significant changes within the brand. Whether you want to shift the market, extend your target audience, or emerge with another company, your brand will likely undergo some changes. It is crucial to maintain your unique personality.
A brand audit will give you some valid insights to secure your vital qualities and adapt to new business objectives, customer needs, and market trends without losing your precious reputation, positioning, and fan base.
Finally, it is essential and should be done even by companies that do not experience any severe problems. It serves as a preventive measure that helps the business owners notice weak spots or inconsistencies in strategy and the company's development that can lead to more significant problems one day. On top of that, it will bring some substantial benefits to the company.
Benefits of Conducting a Brand Audit
Even if you are not experiencing significant problems with brand recognition and position, conducting a brand audit brings numerous advantages that help the company grow and move in the right direction and avoid sidetracks, wasted resources, and lost opportunities.
The most significant advantage is identifying the brand's core and current strengths and weaknesses. Understanding your pros and cons helps you create a strategy to fight competition and stand out.
Another good advantage is that a well-done brand audit recognizes risks and threats. By uncovering the depth of these two factors, the company can create a plan to prevent these risks or limit their impact. On top of that, businesses may adopt a proactive rather than reactive approach towards potential threats. All these actions may save lots of revenue.
The brand audit also amplifies understanding of consumer brand perception. Knowing what customers need and expect from your brand and what motivates them to choose you among the others gives you a solid foundation for making improvements and building marketing campaigns that resonate with the audience.
On top of that, this activity allows the company to compare product expectations with reality. This surfaces some crucial behavior patterns and preferences of customers in today's realm, giving companies critical information to meet the needs and make the product relevant to the niche and market.
Among the definite advantages is, of course, assessing the company against competitors. The brand report finds a gap in the market and determines ways to fill this gap, thereby making the company a valid player in the niche.
Lastly, a significant advantage of doing a brand audit lies in uncovering information essential to understanding brand cohesion and alignment with company strategy. With so many trends, getting sidetracked and changing your direction without noticing is easy. It will put you back on track and help channel your efforts in the direction aligned with your core values and mission.
How to Conduct a Brand Audit?
Here are six basic steps you need to take to conduct a successful brand audit.
Step 1 - Determine your audit goals.
The first step is determining audit goals to focus on crucial areas, avoid distraction, and specify the desired outcome. Some consider this stage to be where they underlie a solid framework for future analysis. What does that mean?
In a nutshell, you need to set clear objectives, list topics you hope to capture, and decide what data you need to gather and what actions and who will take them during the audit process. As a rule, this includes the purpose and use of digital profiles and campaigns and thorough analysis of competition, target customers, industry trends, differentiators, and others.
It would also help if you create a mind map or use any visualization instrument to cover all areas and critical details.
Step 2 - Identify competitors and their services.
Analyzing the competitive landscape is crucial, time-consuming, and challenging. However, when well done, it provides a wealth of helpful information that assists the company in numerous tasks.
For instance, it highlights the main and strongest competitors and offers fundamental insights into the service range and pricing policy. This gives the company a direction to set prices competitively, respond to rivals with its initiatives, and improve products to meet the current market's demands and expectations.
You can also use this knowledge to map out a marketing strategy that takes advantage of your competitors' weaknesses across all communication channels and reinforces your business performance.
Depending on the brand audit goal, you may collect different data sets. For example, if you need to rebrand, you must focus on competitors' logos, slogans, websites, and other visual identity materials. If you need to strengthen your online presence with an existing brand identity, examine their online activities, social media engagement, and online assets.
Thoughtfully and mindfully setting goals in the first stage will channel your efforts in the right direction.
Step 3 - Survey the audience.
It is always a great idea to listen to your customers and hear what they think of you, how they perceive your brand and products, and how they speak of your brand with colleagues, friends, and family.
Shaping customer brand perception starts with gauging data about their vision of brand values and missions, needs, likes, dislikes, current preferences, and expectations from the market, niche, and company itself. It would also help to find out their opinion about the competition.
When collecting information, it is crucial to cover as wide a target audience as possible and assess communication channel efficacy to help you get insights into the brand's performance and practicality.
Step 4 - Analyze and conclude.
After gathering all information about the market, competition, and customers, the time has come to analyze and draw some conclusions. You need help from your team members, inner departments, and professional brand strategists.
Organize brainstorming sessions to examine collected data. Make a detailed report using your findings, highlight vital details, and list all the problems during the process. Please look closely at analytical data and qualitative feedback to spot trends between them. Clearly state what you learned about your brand.
Step 5 - Propose actionable solutions.
The brand audit process ends with devising an action plan to enhance future audit outcomes. Using the information you gathered during the process, analysis, and conclusions from your team and brand strategists, you now have everything to make an informed decision.
To implement changes that will overcome problems and let you improve your company's position in the market, start with assigning goals and deadlines.
Although you need to prioritize targets with the most significant impact, it is crucial to take baby steps. Therefore, divide them into short- and long-term goals. Decide on KPI to track progress and see whether you are moving in the right direction.
Step 6 - Track the implementations.
Branding is an ongoing process. The same goes for implementing strategy. Whatever steps you take, you need to monitor implemented changes to assess the efficacy of your campaigns and marketing efforts. Keeping your company on track or adjusting your strategy to new realms is crucial.
Therefore, track KPIs set at the previous stage. Monitor market changes and trends. Keep an eye on competitors. Listen to your customers and employees. And do regular brand audits to ensure the success of your company.
Checklist for Audit Report
The formats of an audit report differ from niche to niche and largely depend on goals, product, and competition. However, based on the steps featured above, here is a checklist that includes critical details for every step in a process so that you get everything.
- Determine audit goals.
- Create a framework.
- Identify competitors: List their service's strengths and weaknesses, Examine their presence in the market and communication channels.
- Survey the target market: Examine website analytics, Gauge data about your customers, Create surveys to get real-time feedback.
- Analyze data obtained during the process: Shape the overall picture, Make a detailed report featuring insights from all departments, including professional brand strategists, Conclude, Analyze goals and brand targets.
- Map out a plan: Do brainstorming, Propose solutions, Advise with stakeholders.
- Track implementations: Set KPIs and deadlines, Track the performance.
What Departments Conduct Brand Audits?
A brand audit is a thorough checkup of your company's existence and positioning on the market. It dives deep into internal branding, external branding, customer experience, competitive landscape, current and future market trends, etc. It is a comprehensive, all-embracing report that calls for devotion from your side and total commitment from professional agencies.
The company and professional brand strategists should conduct brand audits. Do not make it alone because you will get a one-sided and often prejudiced view.
Asking brand strategists to help you in this matter is the only way to get an accurate picture filled with crucial details and professional analysis of the situation. Only together will your company uncover all the benefits.
Regarding the company's side, many inner departments across verticals may provide a helping hand.
For instance, designers may do a visual audit, whereas email marketers may suggest ways to improve communication in the channel. It would also help to ask senior copywriters and SEO specialists to give their professional overview of the content strategy since it plays a crucial role in communicating your brand to the audience.
Examples of Brand Audits
We can provide you with a suitable audit example so you can understand the concept better. Note that this is fictional, but it hits all the essentials.
Suppose you have a SaaS company. Start with developing a structured plan of what you aim to achieve. As a SaaS company, you need to cultivate value and governance and build a loyal customer base who are the lifeblood of your subscription-based model business. The goal is to increase the number of quality leads.
Take a thorough look at web analytics. Traffic, bounce rate, page views, conversions, and other crucial metrics provide meaningful, relevant, and accurate insights.
Then, inspect your main competitors. Take several big players in the niche and analyze their performance metrics, online presence, and digital marketing campaigns.
Afterward, question your clients, visitors, and customer-facing employees. There are many questions to ask:
- Run a series of online polls on a website to address them all.
- Measure the faithfulness between your website (and social media profiles) and users.
- Get feedback from customer-facing employees.
- Use demographics tools as well as examine social data.
Based on the information, uncover weak spots in your branding campaign and discover the preferences and needs of your target group to put together a plan of action.
For example, implement marketing campaigns that increase engagement to increase conversions. Decide what offers and content resonate the best with customers and adopt them in a strategy. Track the progress and enhance the campaign until you reach a goal.
Note that there are multiple brand audit examples on the web. You may find an audit template perfect for your niche and goal to get valid insights on how it should be done.
A brand audit is an integral part of brand development that needs to be done at least once a year. Even if you do not see a decline in key metrics, you may still neglect some hidden weak spots and threats that might bring serious aftermath later.
On top of that, the market, as well as customers' needs and preferences, change all the time. To keep up with them, it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of your current brand positioning and performance's strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, please do not put it off until the problem strikes.
Start this activity with your departments. Ask your employees to assess the brand identity's quality and provide their opinions and suggestions. Then, go to brand strategists to get professional help. Together, you will reinforce a hardly-earned brand's positioning and underlie a solid foundation to move forward.