Give your brand a check-up with a brand audit.
As a business, your brand is your personality, your identity and the first impression your clients have as you connect and build relationships with them. Branding is therefore an experience and far more than ‘just a logo’. Branding includes your tone of voice, colours, fonts and overall consistency. These elements lay the foundation for how your audience talk about you to others and the feelings they have towards your brand, and ultimately, your products or services. So, is it time for a brand audit? Let’s give your brand a health check!
As with many things in life, you may feel like your brand is getting stale or outdated as your business evolves (it could be time for a brand refresh?), or perhaps you just want to identify new touchpoint opportunities but are unsure which tactics and activities will work best? Whichever road you are thinking of traveling down, it’s best to start with a brand audit to identify which actions will best suit your business. As strategic marketers, we believe everything should start with “where are you now” – in this case a brand audit.
What is a brand audit?
A brand audit, simply put, is a health check that evaluates your brand’s position in the marketplace – its strengths and weaknesses – which highlights opportunities to bolster your brand and ensure it maintains a meaningful identity with your audience. An audit gives you the ability to understand how your brand is being perceived online and offline, including a competitor analysis to see how your brand compares to others. Generally speaking, there are three key areas to a brand audit:
- Internal branding – your brand values, mission and company culture
- External branding – your logo, print and online advertising, marketing material, website, social media
- Customer experience – your sales process and client journey
These areas are important to include in a brand audit so your identity and personality in totality get a thorough review1. When you have a consistent and meaningful brand across all elements and touchpoints, it immediately builds trust and credibility with your audience, showing you understand them and can provide a solution to suit their needs.
One key thing to remember when auditing your brand is to remain objective. Your brand should speak to your target audience specifically – it’s not what you or your department personally like or don’t like. This is an important position to take when executing a brand audit as you want to make sure you are attracting the right people.
Our brand audit checklist
Now that we know what is broadly involved in a brand audit, let’s dive into the details:
- 1. Brand statement and values – take a look at your brand statement and values to understand how they are used and where they are applied.
- Opportunity: Do they resonate with your target audience and encompass your brand personality? Are the first impressions of your statement reflective of your values?
- 2. Logo – review the typography, graphic, colours and versions of your logo (i.e., stacked, reverse, print vs. web).
- Opportunity: Is your logo consistent with your brand values and statement? What is the feeling your target audience gets upon first impression of your logo? Is your logo consistent across all touchpoints?
- 3. Marketing material – review all digital and print material. This could include:
- – Business cards.
- – Sales packs and quotes.
- – Stationary.
- – Email signatures.
- – Flyers and brochures.
- – Advertising.
- – Uniforms.
- – Newsletters.
- – Digital and print ads.
- – Signage / vehicles.
- – Third party / external touch points.
- – Displays / trade shows etc.
- Opportunity: Are all these elements consistent? Ensure you are using the same version of your logo in the correct colour and typography. Consider updating (or creating) your brand guidelines to ensure consistency across all branding.
- 4. Website and search engine optimisation – your brand statement, logo, contact information, tone of voice and imagery should all be demonstrated throughout your website. Your website is a vital online touchpoint, so it is imperative it is consistent and optimised to its fullest. Taking a snapshot of your websites organic traffic insights (from tools like SEMRush or MOZ) will gauge how your website is performing across certain keywords and metrics.
- Opportunity: Should you upload photos that better resonate with your audience? Or update copywriting to align with your brand personality and tone? Consider the user experience – what is the journey your audience goes through when on your website? What are you wanting them to do and feel when they first land on it? It is easy to put too much information on your website and appear overwhelming to a visitor. Think about what you truly want them to do – fill out a form? Call? Read your blog?
- 5. Social media – this includes an overview of your brand’s social media activity – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other social media platform you may be using. Consider the number of followers you have on each platform and your overall engagement rate to indicate how your brand is perceived on each channel.
- Opportunity: Explore new social media channels based on your audit insights – YouTube and SnapChat are just are some examples. Alternatively, you may want to focus your efforts and exclude poor performing channels based on where your audience most frequently spends their time. Adjusting frequency and establishing content pillars will better position your brand and content online.
- 6. Sales process – sales and marketing go hand-in-hand. Reviewing your sales process (or defining yours) will ensure consistency and a seamless communication process as a client journeys through your sales funnel.
- Opportunity: From initial enquiry right through to final invoice and handover, there should be steps outlined with clear action items for everyone involved. How do you nurture your leads? What is your follow up process – email, phone call? Consider a CRM system with marketing automation to streamline your time spent and track where leads are in the sales funnel.
- 7. Competitor analysis – this is an extremely important element of a brand audit. When you know what your competitors are doing and how they are perceived online and offline, it gives evidence and opportunity for your brand.
- Opportunity: What is the first impression you get of your competitors’ website and socials? Credibility and trust are key – how do you compare to your competitors? What is the position that they hold or trying to hold in the market? How do they articulate and represent this position? Do you have strong differentiation from this (if that is important for your brand)?
Considerations to review
Congratulations! You have now completed your brand audit checklist. Are there any opportunities that stood out? Any trends you identified? The most important things to ensure are:
- Consistency – make sure your brand is consistent everywhere, this will build your credibility and trust.
- First impression – people are quick to judge based solely on visuals so make sure your first impression counts!
- Target audience – is your brand statement, logo and tone of voice created for your target audience? Speaking to a specific audience will enable your brand to make a more meaningful and personal connection with your audience, while increasing your chances of conversion.
- Stand out from the crowd – what your brand’s unique selling point (USP)? Shout this across all your brand touchpoints! Speaking of touchpoints, what could you explore to maximise your brand exposure? Here are a few ideas:
- Car decals for your company fleet.
- A sell-in pack for new and potential clients (i.e., branded notepads, pens, keep cups)
- Digital display or social media advertising.
- PR, sponsorship or event opportunities.
- Connecting with a relevant brand ambassador or influencer.
Pursue your opportunities
If your business has evolved from your existing branding or you are yearning to explore new touchpoints, then it’s best to start with a brand audit to identify where the best opportunities are for your business. From there, it may be time for a brand refresh, brand extension, rebrand or just time to pursue the new opportunities identified in your audit. We hope you feel inspired to go forth and dive into your brand audit. But if you need some help navigating along the way, contact us and we would love to help elevate your brand.