Your brand is your business’s biggest asset — one whose health must be cultivated and monitored.
A brand audit is a checkup that evaluates your brand's position in the marketplace, its strengths and weaknesses, and how to strengthen it.
A brand audit should cover three areas:
- Internal branding — your brand values, mission, and company culture
- External branding — your business logo, print and online advertising and marketing materials, public relations, website, social media presence, email marketing, and content marketing
- Customer experience — your sales process, customer support, and customer service policies
You can hire an outside marketing company to conduct a brand audit for you, but you can also do much of it yourself.
Follow these 10 steps for a successful brand audit.
Step 1. Know what you’re measuring.
Refer to your marketing plan, and identify your business’s mission, vision, unique selling proposition, and positioning. Who are your target customers, and what does your brand promise them? Clarify what you think your brand is before evaluating what others think.
Step 2. Assess your external marketing materials.
Review your business logo, brochures, sales sheets, product packaging, letterhead, business cards, and print advertisements. Compare them to your online presence, including your business website, email marketing messages and newsletters, social media profiles, and content marketing pieces. Are all of these elements consistent in terms of design, color, and tone of voice? How effectively does each piece target your intended market?
Step 3. Review your business website.
Using website analytics, assess:
- Where is web traffic coming from? If all your traffic comes from one or two sources, you’re vulnerable to any changes to those sources; try to diversify.
- Is your website attracting your target market? More traffic is only valuable if it’s the right kind of customer.
- What is your bounce rate? If most visitors leave your site leave right away, it's not as effective as it should be.
- What is your conversion rate? Is it rising or falling?
Step 4. Review your social media data.
Use your social media analytics to examine how well your social media marketing is working. What types of customers engage with your brand on social media? Are they customers you want? What are they saying about your brand?
Step 5. Survey your customers.
Use a combination of customer focus groups, email surveys, social media polls, phone surveys, and online surveys to get customer feedback on questions such as:
- What words would you use to describe this brand?
- What problem does this brand solve?
- How does this brand make you feel?
- Would you recommend this brand to your friends and family?
- What does the brand’s logo make you think of?
- How good is this brand’s customer service?
- How could this brand improve customer service?
Step 6. Survey people in your target demographic who aren't customers.
This will measure your brand awareness. Using the survey methods above, ask questions such as:
- Have you ever heard of this brand?
- Have you ever used this brand?
- What do you know about this brand?
- How would you describe this brand to others?
- What problem does this brand solve for you?
- How does this brand make you feel?
Step 7. Survey your employees.
Your employees create the customer experience that is essential to your brand. If they don’t understand your brand, they can't convey it properly. Use anonymous surveys to ask questions such as:
- How would you describe our brand?
- What is the brand’s vision?
- What problem does our brand solve for customers?
- How do you deliver on our brand’s promise? What keeps you from delivering on that promise?
- What one thing would you do to improve our brand?
Step 8. Evaluate your competitors' brands.
Assess your biggest competitors' marketing and advertising materials, websites, social media presence and customer service. You can also ask customers, members of your target market, and even your employees the same questions about your competitors' brands as you asked about yours.
Step 9. Review your results.
Using the information you've gathered, document what aspects of your brand work, which need some fine-tuning, and which are missing the mark entirely. Then create an action plan for updating your brand to bring it in line with your business’s mission and vision.
Step 10. Monitor your progress.
As you complete each element of your brand update, review the results to ensure the changes are having the desired effect. Brands naturally become a bit stale over time. Repeating your brand audit every few years will keep your brand fresh.
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.