A popular notion surrounding brand work is that the bigwigs have already done the hard work. All they are doing now is reaping the rewards of their yesteryear efforts.
Established brands still are working towards staying relevant and innovative by being agile and adaptive. The reason is that the business environment is a dynamic ecosystem, and a brand strategy agency is a helping hand.
The call for a brand audit
With the entrepreneurial wave becoming bigger and bigger , it will take brands more work to remain at the top. Continual monitoring and reporting of the results and targets is the need of the hour. And this is done through a brand audit.
So what is a brand audit, and what does it embody? A brand audit helps evaluate the brand position in the marketplace by studying its strengths and weaknesses.
A brand audit involves three aspects:
- Internal branding – caters to the brand values, mission, vision and the company culture
- External branding – looks into the business logo and design, print and digital advertising strategies and marketing materials.
- Customer experience – looks at the sales value chain, right from pitching, supporting and servicing clients.
Performing the brand audit
If you are a startup, your brand has the free will to explore the tides. This is not the case with renowned and well-known names. The biggest names are invariably battling the concomitant worry of the great fall. These companies can prevent that by performing a brand audit.
1. Start with the framework
First up in performing that brand audit is knowing what you want to measure. Study the marketing plan and identify the mission, vision and unique selling propositions of your brand. Also, do not forget the brand positioning. Understand and evaluate the target audiences and customers and the brand promises.
2. Assess the marketing materials
Make it clear what your brand represents and what it is about. Start with reviewing the brochures, sales sheets, business cards and logos and print advertisements. Then, compare these with your website, email marketing, social media profiles, content marketing and others. Ask yourself whether all these elements are consistent in design, colour and tone.
3. Vetting the web analytics
The world has gone digital, and nearly everything is in data points. With that said, web analytics is paramount. The good news is several tools such as Google Analytics can help. A telling metric is the bounce rate. A high bounce rate indicates that people go away quickly from your website. When that happens, something is amiss on your website. Another metric that you must look into is the conversion rate. It measures the proportion of unique visitors that stayed on your website and performed an activity. The conversion rate highlights the extent to which the goal is achieved.
4. Go Social with Media
Social media analysis lets you know the types of customers that engage with your brand, as well as brand perception and image. The demographic repository on social media helps you to better connect with the audience. It is the conduit that tells you how your actual audience differs from the perceived audience. If the difference is stark, this calls for repositioning in the brand messaging.
The sentimental analysis provides you with a public opinion about your brand, ad campaign or product. Also, linguistic analysis, by way of categorization, lets you know about associations.
5. Survey your customers
Given the wide-ranging avenues for customer engagement, the omnichannel approach is the modern-day dictum. Use a combination of focus groups, email responses, social media polls and others to get profound customer feedback.
A pro tip is to not go overboard with the number of questions. Some of the questions that you can ask to get customer feedback are:
- What solutions does the brand provide?
- How do you feel about the brand?
- What is your perception of the brand logo and design?
- How would you rate the brand on the customer service vertical?
- In your opinion, how can the brand improve its customer service?
6. Survey the non-customers within the target demographic
The survey is a measure of brand awareness. While non-customers are aware of your brand, they are not yet your customers. The following questions shall come in handy:
- Have you heard about the brand? If yes, how and from where?
- Have you had an encounter (or experience) with the brand? How was it?
- What is your perception of the brand?
7. Study the competition
Find your closest competitors and assess their marketing and advertising mix, including website, social media and customer service. Ask customers and the audience about their opinions and perceptions of the competing brands.
8. The D-Day: Review
Use the information pieces to understand the aspects that work for your brand and ones that need fine-tuning. Once done, update your action plan to integrate the brand position to its mission and vision. Review the revised plan to know whether the changes have worked or not. Established brands tend to become stale with time. Hence, it is vital to conduct a brand audit once every few years.
If there’s one thing that will stand about studying and auditing your brands, it is data. With technological advancements, things will become more and more data-driven. Going ahead, these will prove vital in availing precise insights about your brand perception and positioning. The analytical tools are ancillary to your brand work, so leverage them fully.