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Maintaining a position on the market requires a lot of work. It is necessary to continuously monitor campaign results and create reports in relation to the set goals. Thanks to this, the condition of the company will always be under control. That is why you should conduct a brand audit regardless of your objective. It allows you to take a step back and look at the overall picture on which you can base your long-term strategy. What is brand audit and how to conduct it? See the most important brand audit steps.
What is brand audit?
A brand audit is a detailed analysis showing how a brand is functioning in relation to its determined goals and how that brand performance influences its position on the market. A brand assessment is kind of like a health check that every business has to do from time to time.
You may ask, “What is the purpose of a brand audit?”, but it should be carried out anyway. It does not matter if it is simply conducted to compare the brand with the competition, do a rebranding, or to control the brand’s performance. The importance of brand audit is therefore enormous. The methodology used for the audit will vary depending on the type of company and industry.
Regardless of what exactly you want to measure, the brand audit process should enable:
- establishing the current brand performance;
- discovering the strengths and weaknesses of the brand;
- adjusting the brand strategy to customer expectations;
- understanding the position of the brand in the market compared to the competition.
How to conduct a brand audit?
How to conduct a brand audit? You can do it yourself using our brand audit checklist, but it is worth employing specialists from a branding agency. One such company is Nopio, which offers corporate branding services.
Focus on both internal and external branding
A brand audit should cover both external and internal branding, as well as customer experience. Internal branding encompasses the company’s values, mission and culture, meanwhile external branding is about a brand’s logo, all advertising materials, a website, public relations, social media or a marketing strategy.
Customer experience is focused on providing service and handling communication with customers, but also on conducting the sales process itself. All items to be checked should be placed on a special list – also known as brand audit template.
Brand audit checklist
Performing a brand audit allows you to see how well your branding efforts are doing and identify any potential areas of improvements.
What does a brand audit checklist include? Here are the examples of issues that it should tackle.
Define a brand audit goal and carefully plan the brand audit process
Analyze what has already been done. Think about the brand marketing plan, mission, vision, value proposition, brand positioning. If you have done an audit before, take a look at its results to later compare them with the current audit findings.
Think about who your customers are, what does your brand promise them, and if anything has changed recently in that area. Take a moment to contemplate what your brand means to you before assessing what other people think about it.
As part of this step, it is worth carrying out a SWOT analysis to determine your brand’s strengths and weaknesses. This will help you set up an appropriate brand audit framework.
2. Evaluate brand marketing materials
As a next step, you should review the business logo, all brochures, leaflets, product packaging, letterhead paper, gadgets, business cards, posters or printed advertisements.
Then you need to compare them with the brand image on the Internet, above all with the website, marketing emails, newsletters, social media accounts and other online marketing-related materials. Take a moment to determine whether all of these elements are consistent in terms of appearance, design, or color. Are all the brand assets consistent with your current visual identity?
Do not forget to check whether they are all equally well-aimed at their goals. Then determine what steps you need to take to improve your marketing efforts.
3. Brand website assessment
You should begin with a review of your website analytics. On their basis, you can assess where the traffic on your website is coming from. If the traffic is detected from only one or two sources, it is worth trying to have more such places because then the loss of one source will not end up in a complete loss of visitors.
Also, determine if your website attracts the right audience. More traffic is valuable only if it consists of genuinely interested potential customers.
You should take a look at the bounce rate as well. If the majority of visitors leave the site quickly, something is wrong with the content and it needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Of course, bounce rate is less important on websites that do not aim strictly to have more conversion, which is the last thing you need to check in the statistics. If conversion rate is low, then updates are absolutely necessary.
4. Evaluate brand’s social media performance
Similarly to the website’s assessment, it is also worth evaluating your social media presence. Review the statistics of social media profiles to check what results the marketing campaign brings there. Thanks to social data, you will determine the type of clients who actually engage with your brand on a given social networking platform. Analyze your target demographic to ensure that your brand is reaching its target audience with your current marketing efforts. Are these the right customers and do they speak well of your brand? What are they saying about it?
5. Conduct a customer survey
How to review a brand? There is no better way than analyzing customer satisfaction by asking them for an opinion about the brand directly. There are many ways to get valuable information on how target customers perceive your brand, for example, through focus groups, email surveys, social media, and websites.
You should definitely ask what they think about the brand and its logo, how it makes them feel, what words they would use to describe it, whether they know anything about your brand values, how they evaluate customer service or a website. You should also check whether they would recommend the brand to family and friends. This will give you insight into customer loyalty.
It is also worth asking what they would change or improve. Thanks to this, the customer will feel important to the brand, and you will obtain relevant information. The benefit of customer feedback is therefore mutual.
6. Evaluate brand awareness
Examining users that are not your customers but belong to your target market allows you to measure brand awareness. Using the survey methods suggested above, ask these people a few questions as well.
You should start by asking them if they have ever heard of your brand and what they know about it. Do not forget to check what they would say about your brand, what problems they think your company is solving and how they feel about it. You may need to take steps to increase brand awareness.
7. Internal brand audit – brand values and mission
Internal and external brand audits are equally important. It is worth conducting surveys not only among customers and other people, but also employees. They are significant in this process because their good work creates a positive customer experience.
You should check whether they understand the brand’s values properly. If not, then they will not be able to share them accurately with others. For this purpose, you can prepare an internal brand audit questionnaire where you will ask employees how they evaluate the brand, how they would describe it, what in their opinion the business’s mission and vision are, what problems the enterprise solves, and what its strengths and weaknesses are.
You should also get answers on how they fulfill the brand promises, what prevents them from keeping them, and what they would do to make the internal branding even better.
8. Competitive brand audit
An analysis of your competitors brands is very important to establish a brand’s position in the industry. It is worth analyzing their marketing materials, promotion in paid and organic channels, websites, and customer service. Define your business unique selling proposition.
9. Review your results and address issues with a plan
What to do after conducting a brand audit? Start with analyzing the results of all brand audits and check-ups. Do not forget to draw the relevant conclusions. Identify and document which areas require improvement and which are of minor importance.
Establish key metrics that will help you evaluate the performance of your activities and take an in depth look at the potential issues. Then you need to create an action plan to update the brand to align it with your company’s vision and mission. If you decide to plan a rebranding strategy, you need to answer these rebranding questions.
10. Monitor your performance
Each completed stage of brand refresh should be compared to the statistics and customer opinions to make sure that the changes bring the right effects. By reviewing your web analytics and sales data, you’ll gain insight into the effectiveness of your branding efforts. Then consider what else you can improve and modify to reach optimal results.