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How to perform a brand audit

Your business success is highly dependent upon your brand, how it’s perceived, how much engagement there is, the message it communicates, and much more. A brand audit can help to ensure that your brand remains true to the core values of your company, is highly identifiable, and, most importantly, resonates with your target audience.

The following is a how-to guide in the form of a brand audit checklist to be used for conducting a brand audit on your business. By the end of your brand audit, you’ll be equipped with the data and insight to overpower your competition and position your business for growth.

What is a brand audit?

A brand audit is a detailed examination of how your brand is positioned in your market. It entails an analysis of how your brand performs compared to your competitors and how it aligns with your business goals.

Brand audits can uncover a wealth of valuable information.

The methodology will be a deep dive into your brand's strengths and weaknesses, as well as a look at opportunities and potential threats. This can lead to insights that have the potential to fuel future brand growth.

How to do a brand audit

The best approach to a brand audit is a methodical one, with clearly defined steps and goals using Brand Guidelines. This will result in a process that can be readily repeated as often as necessary. Here, we’ve outlined eight easy-to-follow brand audit steps for your business.

1. Understand your brand

Clear brand identity begins by understanding your brand. Return to your roots to clarify what your brand stands for. Start by revisiting your mission statement. Is your brand vision still the same as when your business first started? If not, you need to identify the changes and adjust as necessary. Review your initial brand intent to get a handle on how you would like your brand to be perceived in the market.

By now, you should know what your unique selling proposition is, but if not, this is the time to figure it out. What does your brand bring to the market that your competitors don’t?

During this stage, identify your target audience. Who is your brand hoping to connect with? What promises does your brand make to your customers? How are those promises received by your target audience? How do they perceive your brand? With these questions in mind, you can narrow down your target audience to ensure your brand aligns with their values.

2. Assess your external marketing

An objective brand assessment of your external marketing can reveal what message you’re sending out about your brand versus how you want your brand to be perceived. External marketing should align with the persona of your brand in all aspects, including:

  • Logo
  • Product packaging
  • Business cards
  • Promotional merchandise
  • Color palette
  • Typography
  • Brochures

Brand consistency is crucial in order to avoid brand confusion. Your external marketing should be readily identifiable wherever it appears. Your customers should be able to quickly—and unconsciously—relate your brand to every single one of your external marketing materials across all platforms.

Creating a brand guide is a great place to start. Through your brand guide, you can outline your brand guidelines that document how your brand should be presented. The guidelines should include fonts, font sizes, colors, and image guidelines. This set of guidelines should be available to all your marketing staff and content marketing creators.

If you already have brand guidelines, conduct a detailed review to ensure that they’re in line with your current brand goals. If not, it might be time for a rebrand.

Finally, look at your external marketing materials from your customers’ perspectives. Are you taking advantage of marketing trends and new perceptions of colors, shapes, and icons? Aligning your external marketing materials with your brand is crucial, but changes may be needed if your external marketing appears outdated.

3. Review your website and social media

Your website and social media presence plays an integral role in your brand’s awareness. Your website needs to excel in all the key metrics, like user experience, responsiveness, aesthetics, navigation, load times, links, keywords, and more. Use tools such as Google Analytics to perform an assessment of your website, including:

  • Geographic origin of website traffic
  • Demographics of site traffic
  • Bounce rates
  • Conversion rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Browsers used
  • And more

Additionally, review your social media by assessing your social media profiles, ensuring alignment with your brand’s identity. Make sure that your social media messaging communicates your brand identity.

Evaluate engagement and response times. Look at the quality of interactions as well as the responses from followers. Are they correctly understanding your brand? If not, that can indicate a problem with brand perception that needs to be fixed.

Finally, take a look at your follower base. Are you attracting your target audience? Is your brand speaking to potential customers, or is your brand messaging getting lost in the “noise”?

4. Examine your brand perception

It’s possible that you’ve identified some problems in step three above. If so, this next step walks through how to examine your brand perception, also known as brand equity, to help you discern how your brand is viewed by others, including your own employees. There are several steps involved, including:

  • Conduct employee interviews: Conducting employee interviews can help you gather insights into how your internal team perceives your brand, which can be done through in-person interviews, written surveys, or anonymous polls.
  • Conduct customer surveys and feedback: There are various forms of customer surveys and feedback, such as online surveys, customer feedback kiosks, social media polls, in-app surveys, and feedback forms on your website.
  • Analyze online reviews: Gather all reviews from various platforms to sense how customers perceive your brand.
  • Monitor brand mentions on social media platforms: Set up Google alerts and individual social media alerts to be delivered to your inbox that provide notifications for when users mention your brand. With this information, you can identify patterns and trends that can be used to make informed decisions.
  • Compare brand perception to competitors: Set up automatic competitor monitoring on social media platforms to get a better understanding of how your brand compares to competitors in your industry.

5. Analyze brand performance

Analyzing your brand’s performance in the market enables you to quantify its effectiveness. One way to analyze brand performance is through a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis, which allows you to identify strengths and areas for improvement.

When analyzing brand performance, there are a few metrics to keep in mind, such as:

  • Evaluate sales and revenue growth: This will give you an actionable status on your brand’s financial health.
  • Assess market share: Use this to measure your brand’s level of competitiveness in the market.
  • Understand customer loyalty: Include referrals, repeat business, and customers’ lifetime value to see how well your brand supports long-term engagement.
  • Review ROI on marketing efforts: Include content marketing, promotional campaigns, and social media marketing.

6. Conduct a competitor analysis

A competitor analysis should include compiling a list of your leading competitors. Next, analyze their branding, what their value proposition is, what marketing strategies they employ, and how they’re perceived in the industry. This enables you to identify the gaps that separate your brands, and potentially identify areas in which you can gain more market share. This is your opportunity to outperform your competitors.

7. Review your results

Summarize your findings in a white sheet. Compile all the data you’ve collected and communicate it with text, specific examples, and graphics. The more ways you can review your results, the better you and your staff will understand the information you’ve gathered. The goal during this step is to identify areas for improvement so you can move on to the final step of the brand audit.

8. Create and implement a brand strategy

Once you’ve identified areas for improvement, the final step in your brand audit is to create brand strategies for moving forward. The insights gained from the steps above will fuel the creation of the brand strategy, so keep your white sheet of data handy as you build your next steps. The brand strategy can include tasks like:

  • Revamping your brand style guide
  • Updating your communication plan
  • Ensuring brand messaging is aligned across various channels and platforms
  • And more

As you progress in your brand strategy, continue to monitor results so you can quantify the effect on all your business metrics.

Key takeaways: How to conduct a brand audit

Using these actionable steps, you can conduct a brand audit whenever you feel it’s needed. Each time you run an audit, you can streamline the process so nothing falls through the cracks. Still, brand audits are inherently complex. Bynder’s Digital Asset Management (DAM) can help your team and your assets stay organized during your brand audit. Contact us today to learn more about how we support your business goals.