After a few years in business (or even a few months) without a brand audit, it can be easy to get so focused on the day-to-day work that other parts of your business fall to the wayside. One of the elements that can get pushed to the side is your branding.
If you aren’t mindful about the way you present your brand, it can quickly become disjointed and disconnected. And, that’s a problem because a poor brand experience can lead to:
- Customer confusion
- Ineffective marketing
- Poor brand recognition
- Inability to build a loyal customer base
- Decrease in sales and revenue
So if you’ve noticed that your brand is experiencing some cracks, it’s time to pull it back together. Use this brand audit to identify where you need to fix, update, and improve your brand image.
Create a Brand Guide
Before you perform a brand audit, you need to have a list of guidelines that will direct and help you assess the way your brand looks, sounds, and feels.
Create a brand guide with sections that describe your:
- Audience: who you are trying to reach
- Mission: the goals your business is trying to accomplish
- Voice: the tone that describes the way you communicate
- Values: the core principles that guide your business decisions
- Brand promise: the value you promise to deliver to your customers
- Unique selling propositions: your unique positioning statement and the factors that make you different and/or better than your competitors
If you go according to this guide, once you have these important details outlined, you can then review the existing elements of your brand and see where they match up or fall short.
Evaluate Your Brand Design
In the next step of your brand audit, look at the design elements of your business. This includes your:
- Brand colors
Gather these design elements and review them against your brand guide. Do your design elements match the brand look and feel you are trying to create?
Evaluate Your Brand Collateral
Once you know what your brand design should look like, it’s time to make sure your design elements are consistent across all of your marketing collateral.
You don’t want half of your marketing materials to use your old brand design, while the other half is using your new colors, fonts, and logos. This is what causes customer confusion and decreases brand recognition.
Check each of the following types of collateral to make sure they share the same brand design:
- Social media profiles
- Print materials
- Employee uniforms
- Product packaging
Evaluate Your Brand Messaging & Content
It’s not just the look of your brand that tells customers who you are. It’s also the language and content you share. So in the next step of your brand audit, look at all of your sales and marketing materials to review your messaging. Also, look how your messages are being received by audiences.
Review your sales messaging and long-form content (sales landing pages, blog posts, guides, etc.) to see if it uses your brand voice, clearly articulates your unique selling propositions, and speaks directly to your target audience.
Use analytics to see where you are hitting the mark or falling short.
- Look at your website data to see if your most important pages are being viewed most often.
- Look at your social media analytics to see what topics and messages your audience responds to most.
- Look at SEO analytics to see if the right keywords are driving the right audiences to your website.
- Look at your sales data to see if your core products and services have the highest sales.
You may think your messaging is clear, but the data may tell you a different story.
Develop a Plan Based on Your Brand Audit
The value of a brand audit is not in the review. It’s in what you do with the information you learned during your brand audit.
Once you go through each of the steps outlined in this post, create a plan of action based on what you learned.
- Outline specific issues. Create a list of the problems and inconsistencies you uncovered during your brand audit.
- Develop an action plan. Outline a step-by-step plan of action for resolving each issue.
- Add deadlines to each plan. Put your plan on a timeline to ensure that you don’t continue to let your branding fall to the wayside.
When you’re managing the day-to-day operations of a business, it can be easy to let things like brand consistency get pushed to the side.
But, having a cohesive, authentic, and consistent brand is far too important to ignore. So follow through with your plan to improve or even rebrand your brand’s image.
Get More Branding Tips
For more tips on how to improve your brand and make changes based on what you learned in your brand audit, get our free ebook. This FREE branding guide will help you discover elements of branding that will create a cohesive and memorable look and feel.
Also published on Medium.