Have you had a look at your brand? No, like really had a look at your brand? Once you get past the initial stages of starting your brand with things like market research, logo conception and securing your social handles, there’s still more to be done.
Never get too comfortable with your brand. It’s important to have a look at it every once in a while to check if it’s still accomplishing the goals you set out at the beginning.
In this post, we’ll outline the ‘why’ and ‘when’ of doing a brand audit and laying out our essential steps to perform your own brand audit.
The ‘Why’ and ‘When’ of Brand Auditing
A brand audit will give you an all-encompassing view of your brand’s health; it will:
- Give you the best view about how your brand looks to customers.
- Help you feel more confident about making changes.
- Let you know where your strengths and weaknesses are as well as correct them.
It’s a valuable part of keeping your brand healthy and evolving in the right ways. Having the framework in place will make your future brand audits even speedier. Getting set up to look in the right places will give you the confidence to nail your brand audits and keep your company growing strong.
There’s no set rule of thumb as to when you should conduct a brand audit. Generally, these are the best times to perform a brand audit:
- If you’ve noticed your products or services are changing,
- There’s been a change in the market, or
- If new competitors are emerging or if an existing one is gaining momentum.
You can also schedule them annually as part of your end-of-year check-in to start the next year off on the right foot. Or, consider doing one well in advance if you have a major campaign coming up, such as your first TV ad campaign for example.
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How to do a Brand Audit
Now for the fun part – the audit itself. Since you know why it’s important and when is a good time to get one going, we’ll walk through our list of essential components in a brand audit. Pick and choose which parts work best for you and your brand – everyone is unique!
Keep the SWOT framework in mind while you run through the next sections. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Start with your strengths and work your way down the SWOT list. Most importantly, take action at the end of it all. You can break your actions into quick wins and long-term goals to make them easier to tackle, but make a plan to keep up with them!
With SWOT in mind, let’s go through the main components of your brand audit…
Who is your audience? What do they do? What are you solving for them? It’s important to know who you’re targeting with your brand, understanding the way your audience perceives you is step one in this process. Customer or audience perception is what the world (and most importantly, your ideal client) thinks about your brand, competitors and wider aspects of life that can influence their buying decisions.
The first step in assessing those perceptions is through customer personas. This is the visualisation of a person representing your ideal customer or audience member. How do you create a buyer persona, though? Through audience research, identifying customer pain points and their goals, understanding how your brand helps them is a good way to start. From there, you can give them characteristics that make them a real person.
For example, at Chapter, one of the audiences we target is small-to-medium-sized business owners who either have an idea they want to get started or need help somewhere along the way. Let’s name our customer persona Mary. Here are some of her characteristics:
- 25-40 years old,
- Entrepreneurial spirit,
- Lives in London, and
- Has an idea but not sure how to get it off the ground.
We build until we can visualise exactly who we’re targeting. After we’ve identified her pain points, personality, age-range and where she likely spends her time and money, we can more accurately find ways to target our ideal clients.
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Have we mentioned Analytics before? Are you sure? We talk all the time about how important it is to track your progress to make informed decisions, which is why including it in your brand audit is so vital.
We’ve gone over which Social Media Marketing Metrics to Measure in 2021, but in a nutshell, here are the important ones on your Google Analytics:
- Users and new users,
- Bounce rate,
- Time spent on page,
- Location, and
- Landing pages, user flow, and exit pages
On your social channels, look at:
- Engagement rate,
- Your hashtags, and
- Your best-performing content
Analyse the trends and take note of any changes you see. Were there changes in trending content or pages? How about locations? Is your audience active at the same times of the year consistently? All of these numbers will help you weave a story and understand what to target and when.
When you first started your brand, you had an idea about your messaging. You crafted a story that meant something to you, but is it out of date? If your mission has changed, it’s time to revisit your brand messaging to make sure it’s clear and coming off the way you intend it to. Are any areas ambiguous or need improvement? Now is the time to work on ironing out the kinks.
You should also scour the internet for negative reviews about you or your brand. Take note of what people are saying and use it as constructive criticism (if it’s not a troll, of course). If the complaints are founded on something that you can identify and improve, then go for it!
Now is the time to really nail down your brand messaging. Once you have that decided, you can then start looking into your content.
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With your audience and brand messaging nailed down and with an idea of where your traffic is coming from, what they’re doing, and where they’re going, you can then look into your content. Firstly, identify the purpose of it. Is it mainly to inform? Is it accomplishing that goal? Have a look at your social media as well to check if it’s accomplishing the goals you’ve set out for yourself.
Secondly, do a quick SEO check and whether you’re including the right keywords in your content. This is important to make sure you’re ranking where you need to be and are getting the right eyes on your content.
Evaluate your current strategy and make changes if you need to. You can also take this time to make playbooks and brand books to really solidify all of the work you’ve done up to this point.
The last part is assessing your value to the market and your customers. Your value proposition identifies why someone would want to buy from your company instead of your competitors. Not only is this helpful in closing a sale with clients or investors, but it also helps you define your place in the market.
If you have the ability to, survey your customers. Put together a Google Form to send to existing customers with questions like:
- What are your biggest challenges?
- Where do you go for trustworthy information?
- How likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend or colleague?
Next, you can conduct a competitor analysis, which helps you figure out who your direct and indirect competitors are and how you measure compared to them. Determine who your competitors are and evaluate their social media, website and product copy, events, press releases and any other information you can find about them online.
These two processes will help you solidify your value and your brand. You’ll feel much more confident navigating the industry and providing value to your clients along the way.
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Wrapping it all up
We know this was a ton of information! It can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to do everything in a day. If it helps break it down, you can assign one aspect to look into per day so it becomes a more manageable process spanning over a week or two.
Remember – the first brand audit will be the most daunting. But once you get the hang of it and get familiar with what to look for, you’ll have fun discovering parts of yourself and your brand that may have been hiding in the shadows. The most important part is to have fun. Your brand is yours – it’s unique, fun and inspirational. You’re providing something valuable to everyone, so take pride in that!
If you’re identifying places in your brand where you need improvement and want to tackle it as a team, get in touch with us for a no-obligation chat. We’re here to help!