When doing a brand audit, it is important to establish the company's core beliefs (purpose, mission, and vision). Next comes external marketing assets, like print collateral, packaging, and even sales tools like presentations. We also need to look at website analytics and social media engagement and get in touch with customers. The purpose of looking at these assets and analytics is to see how well these assets represent the brand and also to determine what works and what needs to be improved.
Why should you do a brand audit?
Brands are always under pressure to deliver more for less. The business landscape is continuously changing, and you could be left behind if you don't adapt to new strategies. A brand audit can help you identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) in today's competitive market.
One of the best ways to understand & identify a problem within your brand is by conducting a brand audit. A brand audit is a complete analysis of what your brand says about you as a business owner and how others perceive it. You can use this information as a reality check for everything from your website to your office environment, even down to the marketing materials that employees hand out at tradeshows or conferences they attend on behalf of the company.
Here are some things to consider when doing a brand audit:
The first step of a brand audit is conducting a gap analysis. You need to know where you stand with your brand against your main competitors, what are the gaps in your brand positioning and how you can improve it. Conducting a SWOT analysis is one way to know where your brand stands against its competitors - what are its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? It gives you an idea of the direction where you should go in order to capitalize on the strengths while minimizing weaknesses and managing threats. From there, it's easier to create an action plan that will help you execute it effectively.
Establishing core beliefs
A brand audit is a process of identifying and describing the values, beliefs, and feelings that characterize a brand (or company) in order to clearly outline what defines it. It can help you figure out exactly what your core beliefs are and how to best incorporate them into your business identity. Before going all out with representation, visuals, voice, and assets, it is important to clearly define the foundations behind it—your purpose, mission, and vision. Once you've clearly defined your core beliefs, it becomes easier to pinpoint exactly how you want those beliefs to be represented through your brand identity.
Assess external marketing assets
It is equally important to examine all the marketing and advertising materials associated with your company and its products. It can be helpful to look at how other companies in your industry present themselves as well as brands that are in completely different fields. By reviewing everything from print and online marketing materials to your company's website, you can assess what audiences respond to and where improvements can be made.
In addition to looking at what's already out there, you also want to think about what might be missing from the picture. If you have any plans for expanding into other markets or introducing new products or services, it is advantageous to start developing those plans ahead so that they can be ready when the time comes.
Review your website analytics
A website analytics review allows you to understand which pages on your website are most visited, how long visitors stay on each page, and what sources are sending traffic to your site. When conducting an audit of your website you should be looking at which pages of your website are the most popular and what keywords people are using to find you. Looking at the traffic source can also reveal where people are discovering the brand: whether it’s on social media, blogs, or through organic search.
This will allow you to understand where your target market is finding you and how you can better attract them. If a page isn't getting any traffic or interaction on it then it might be time for a revamp. A brand audit is more than just looking at numbers, it's about looking at what messages these numbers portray about your business.
Review your social media engagement
In this process, you will need to look at each of your social media accounts (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram) and analyze your current digital marketing performance through engagement metrics such as the number of followers or likes on each page, comments on posts, the frequency of posting content and number of shares. You can also evaluate the quality of engagement by looking at the quality of comments that are being made on your posts; this will give you an idea of whether the current strategy is working or not.
Interview your customers
If you're trying to understand your brand, one of the best ways to do so is by talking to the people who interact with it. This can help you assess what's already working and what needs to be changed, how people understand your message, and if they feel like you're communicating with them in a consistent manner.
Sometimes, interviews are hard to make when the company size is too small or the business is too early into the market. In this case, we can search the internet for customers’ comments/replies/reviews on social media channels. There are also websites like Reddit & Quora that can help you find users’ opinions on similar questions.
Besides being great for analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your brand, interviews are a great way to get real-time feedback from customers. An interview can provide a wealth of insights into your customers' preferences and perceptions.
A brand audit can be time-consuming and sometimes tedious (particularly if you are doing it alone), and it is important for the designer to have realistic expectations of what he/she can achieve in a specified timeframe. The best way to get the most out of a brand audit is to dedicate enough time to it. Realistically, a brand audit can take anywhere from one day to two months. There are a lot of factors that influence the length of the process and the different needs of a company or an organization such as the size of the company, the scope of the project, the number of channels/materials, and the sample size of the customers interviewed & more.