What is a Brand Audit?

Sinead Stroud
Brand Strategy Manager
Topic
brand-audit

As the business landscape continues to evolve and digitise, it’s important to ensure that your business, regardless of its size, is doing everything it can to remain relevant, especially after something as transformational as Covid.

A brand audit gives you the opportunity to evaluate your brand’s position in the market, as well as how it differentiates amongst the competition, to determine where you can improve. Whether you’re looking to benchmark against competitors, execute a rebrand or you’re simply interested understanding what your brand means to your customers, performing a brand audit can be a valuable exercise.

What is a brand audit?

A brand audit consists of a detailed analysis of how your brand and proposition are working for your business in line with your values, future vision, and objectives. It also looks at the wider landscape, analysing your current position in the market, trends in the industry and how your offering is meeting the needs of the customer.

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While particular methodologies for a brand audit can differ from agency to agency, typically, it should aim to cover the below:

  • Establish the performance of your brand
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses
  • Align your strategy to match the expectations and demands of your customers
  • Understand your place in the market compared to the competition

Essentially, a brand audit provides a fundamental understanding of your business and how you are communicating your products and services to the market.

Why do you need a brand audit?

As the face and narrative behind who you are as a business, we see the frequent auditing of your brand as best practice, just like you audit your finances.

Our world is changing every day, and with it, our audiences are changing too. Therefore, it’s crucial to recognise these developments so you can keep up with new customer needs and continue to innovate the market.

Brand audits have a significant role to play in this – they can help you to recognise your strengths and weaknesses, create opportunities for improvement and most importantly, find new ways to move your business forward.

In order to stand out from the rest, your business needs to remain always on and always relevant, and performing a brand audit is one of the most effective ways you can achieve this.

brand-audit

The brand audit process can also be used for both internal and external purposes. For many businesses, the main aim of the brand audit process is to improve external factors such as brand awareness and increase revenue generation. However, a brand audit can also ensure that your internal teams can take on a more unified approach, contributing towards positive results for your business and becoming fully bought into the brand and what it stands for.

How to perform a successful brand audit

Here is our brand audit checklist, which you can use to complete a good brand audit. While you can conduct a brand audit on your own, it can be extremely beneficial to seek the advice of brand strategy experts for a more comprehensive report.

1. Create a brand audit framework

You want to begin by looking at your overall business mission and objectives to create a strategic brand audit framework. Consider things such as who your customers are, what your marketing plan is to reach them and the layout of the business landscape that you operate in.

2. Review your business objectives and mission

These are the elements that make your business unique, attracting customers, new talent, and even potential stakeholders. Refining your objectives and mission can also help to streamline your internal processes and unite your team with shared goals.

3. Review your current products/services

It's important to review and fully understand your current offering. Could you be doing anything new or different in order to drive more sales and interest? What products are experiencing higher levels of interest?

review-plans

4. What do you think your key USPs are?

Determine how unique your USPs are in comparison to your competitors and the market – do they allow your business to stand out, or are they more generic messages that you can expect to see from any business?

5. Understand your customers and their loyalty

We recommend seeking a mixture of qualitative and quantitative feedback to get a more accurate look into your customers’ opinions of your brand. Understanding the experience you provide for your customers at each touchpoint can be one of the most important parts of your audit.

Creating buyer personas is an effective way to get a better understanding of core customer groups and helps you to know exactly who you are targeting.

6. Review your competitors

A competitor analysis can help you to better understand your place in the market. After all, no business exists in isolation. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) rankings, backlinks, adverts, content and traffic should all be investigated, alongside the brand, products and services they provide, as part of your competitor analysis.

7. Discover market insights

Understanding your chosen market on a granular level can help you to understand how existing and potential customers view your business, any shifts in customer behaviours and how any external factors are affecting the market. Additionally, having strong market knowledge can help to minimise future risks when making key business decisions and steering future product development.

8. Review your marketing activity

It is very easy to continue doing what you’ve always done. Conduct a review of your existing marketing activity and consider whether you are delivering this activity through a multichannel approach to gain the most touchpoints with your target audience. This activity can include social media advertising, PR, and email marketing, to name but a few.

Taking a deeper dive into your current activity can also help you identify which tactics to take forward, for example, the demographical information that is available through social media allows you to gain a better understanding of your audience. You may discover that your audience responds better to a certain type of messaging and tone of voice that currently differs from your existing messaging that was based on your perceived audience.

9. Review your web analytics

With 81% of customers performing online research before making a purchase, your website traffic is an essential element to review. Look into your website analytics to get a better understanding of how your website is currently performing.

analytics

Remember to check paid and organic traffic from all channels, and pay particular attention to your conversion rate, as this can indicate if you are attracting the right kind of traffic.

10. Analyse your sales data

Naturally, sales data should be on your priority list for your brand audit. While you may conduct monthly reports on this data, examining it in conjunction with the rest of the data produced from the audit can reveal further potential areas for improvement and help define a new sales strategy in line with the objectives for the brand.

Take action and monitor results

The main aim of the brand audit process is to highlight any areas that you can action to improve your overall business performance through increasing your brand loyalty. Once you’ve gathered your insights, make sure to action them and set yourself a timeline of expected results with clear KPIs.

If you need help with a brand audit, please get in touch with us and one of the brand strategy team will be more than happy to discuss your project with you.

Sinead Stroud
Brand Strategy Manager