How effective is your brand? Does it deliver on promises made? What are the gaps between what is promised and what is received? Brand audits can both help determine how effective your branding activities have been and, more importantly, what they need to accomplish to be effective in the future. They provide a benchmark for future branding efforts.
Internally, they unify an organization. Quite often, mainly because of poor internal branding, employees have a different definition of what constitutes the brand.
There’s also often a disconnect between what companies believe their brand to be and what customers perceive it to be. A brand audit begins the process of providing a consistent, universally accepted definition of the brand that everyone delivers at all times, at all touchpoints.
An internal brand audit takes the brand temperature from corporate executives and other personnel. One-on-one confidential interviews probe to determine each individual’s perceptions of the brand, brand values, evaluation of past branding activities, knowledge of brand and how to live that culture.
It also looks at current branding & customer processes to identify how they can be improved. Special emphasis is placed on prospect, customer and lost customer data collection, storage & usage.
An external brand audit looks at how various stakeholders perceive the brand. These include customers, prospects, media, distributors/retailers, regulatory bodies & suppliers to name a few.
Participants are asked their perceptions and experiences with the brand, both through traditional channels as well as digital channels as we identify gaps between what the brand thinks it is and what the external stakeholders actually gets.
Brand audits focus a lot on customers to identify their changing value needs & to ensure the brand is able either anticipate those changes or at least be able to change with them.
At the heart of any brand audit is a far reaching communications audit that looks at all the material that represents a brand – press releases, ads, brochures, website, logos, social media representation and much more.
Way too many communications are simply a series of tactics that do little more than add to the noise. While brand identities are often diluted over time and communications platforms such as websites become a dumping ground from multiple departments looking to tick boxes rather than build relationships.
Messages, experiences & ability to engage are explored to determine branding effectiveness.
Brand audits always reveal a stunning amount of discrepancy that is causing low brand morale, weak marketing, mixed messages, horrible customer experiences & incompatible branding efforts.
The number involved in brand audits can vary greatly according to time, cost or other constraints. Even as few as 5 – 10 interviews can produce actionable insights that deliver fast results in sales, marketing, recruitment, service, support, logistics, PR and other areas. One large client bragged to us that our brand audit saved them US$10 million over 2 years.
To find out how you can use a brand audit to improve profitability, please email us today email@example.com.