Conducting a brand audit is something that every business should do, but not all of them know how to do it. In fact, it is the very first step you should take before planning out your branding strategy. After all, how would you be able to reach your destination if you don’t know your starting point?
A brand assessment consists of 4 parts:
- Your business brand
- Your website
- Your competitors
- Your marketing strategy
There are many reasons to conduct a brand audit, but the most concerning one of all should be the fact that the wrong approach may hurt your business significantly. It is vital to evaluate your brand properly not just to further your objectives but also to prevent your brand from going in the wrong direction.
Generally, a brand audit should be done every 1-2 years. This is with the exception of your marketing strategy, which should be reviewed every quarter. Conducting a brand audit may be tricky, but it is not entirely impossible. Follow our guide below to get a better idea of how you can evaluate your own brand!
MIU’s Guide to Conducting A Brand Audit
1. Know what you’re measuring
Many often confuse “brand” with the idea of a logo, design, or packaging, but it is more than that. A brand constitutes many aspects of a business including it’s (brand) voice, unique value propositions, and positioning.
Take a look at your current marketing plan and identify your brand mission and brand vision. Consider your target demographic and what you think your brand means to your customers. Then decide if it is what you want your brand to be known for.
2. Create an audit framework
Before jumping into the brand audit, write down a list of the topics you’d like to cover during the entire assessment and how you will go about the process. As previously mentioned, the 4 overarching areas to cover should include your brand, your website, your competitors, as well as your marketing strategy.
Consider what else you can assess in these areas. For instance, you can take a look at your product’s strengths and weaknesses, your product niche and differentiators, your target market, your market positioning, and many more. It is also good to keep an eye on current and upcoming industry trends as well so that you may prepare yourself for the future.
3. Review your sales data
Your sales data can have as much to say about your brand positioning as other data itself. Reviewing it in conjunction with the rest of your audit data will give you a better insight as to what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.
Analysing your customer journey will give you a deeper context on what may be the problem areas or opportunities you can further exploit. Having your sales data to reference with other analytics such as your website review and social media data will definitely help you to find correlations.
4. Review your web analytics
81% of consumers will search up a business online before making a purchase, with the number increasing to 94% in B2B companies. This indicates that your website is an important place to start looking when it comes to reviewing your brand. Start by analysing your page views to identify which parts of your website may need to be promoted more.
Traffic analytics is but another area you can look at to see how your brand is faring — look at where your traffic is coming from, which channels drive traffic to your web, and whether your traffic gains are actually coming from your target market. Just because your traffic is increasing does not necessarily mean your branding strategy is successful — if you are attracting the wrong crowd.
Monitoring both your paid and organic channels can help you identify if your SEO plan is working or if it still needs further optimisation. Don’t just stop there, however — conversions, conversion rates, and bounce rates should be monitored as well so that you have a better idea on what, if any, content works the best.
5. Review your social data
What types of customers generally engage with your brand on social media? Are they your target demographic, and what are they saying about your brand?
The demographic information that you can obtain through social media will give you access to audience data that is mostly unavailable through other channels. Not only does it help you understand your audience better, you are able to tell if your social media marketing is working.
Social intelligence tools such as Brandwatch helps you find out what your customers’ interests are beyond your brand, who is linking to your website, the associations people have with your brand, and what the wider public opinion around your brand, campaign, or product is.
6. Get customer feedback
Customer feedback is the best way to get first-hand criticism about your brand. Relying on web analytics and online data alone will not paint you a complete picture of your brand, but having a mixture of quantitative and qualitative feedback will. Customer anecdotal stories will also help provide an idea of how people perceive your brand and humanise your audit.
Conducting surveys online is the most convenient way to do it. You can do so via telephone, email, or include it on your website as part of the sales process. Use this to understand your customer experience at each touchpoint and uncover answers that cannot be easily told by data. Websites like EasyPolls or SmartSurvey can help you with the process — just add in the questions you want to be included in the poll!
7. Evaluate your competitors
Don’t forget to observe your competitors as well — no brand exists in isolation. Assess their marketing and advertising materials, website, social media presence, and customer service. Remember that there are plenty of analysis tools out there that can do most of the work for you. SEO, rankings, backlinks, traffic, and emails can all be tracked and investigated.
Beyond that, you can also ask your own customers, your target audience, and even your own employees what they think about your competitors’ brands.
8. Create an action plan and monitor your results
Last but not least, a brand audit should be able to highlight the areas that need improvement and action. Using the information you have gathered, decide which aspects of your branding strategy is working, which aspects need optimising, and which are missing the mark entirely.
Once you have your detailed findings from your brand assessment, come up with a series of actionable targets and a plan to achieve them. Remember to bring it in line with your brand’s mission and vision.
As you update your branding strategy, always monitor the progress and results to make sure the changes are having the desired effect. Brands naturally become stale over time, and repeating your brand audit every year or so will help to keep your brand fresh in your customers’ minds.