Improve Your Brand By Knowing Its Strengths and Weaknesses
“Audit”…the very word when it comes after “tax”, can strike fear into the hearts of most people! But don’t worry we’re talking about a different audit; we’re talking about brand auditing!
Taking the time out to audit your brand, can help the positioning of your company and ensure that you’re sending your audience consistent messages. First of all, here’s a mini recap on what a “brand” is and why it’s so important.
“Brand” is what differentiates your company from your competitors. It’s not just your company’s name and logo, it’s the unique impression you leave on your customers, it’s about how they feel about you, it’s how your company looks, it’s the special way you deliver your service and products, it’s your attitude and the way you advertise yourself.
It’s all these things working together that attracts new customers, encourages your current customers to return, and helps you get more word of mouth referrals! Big companies have huge folders devoted to their brand guidelines, with detailed instructions about how and where logos can be used, the colour palette allowed and what their promise to customers is. They have these folders and these rules, because they know the value of a strong, consistent brand. The good news is it’s easy for a small business to get on board the “brandwagon”!
Undertaking a brand audit will help determine the strength of your brand, what is good about it, where it works and how well your customers can recall it. It will also uncover weaknesses, inconsistencies and show you where there are opportunities for improvement. The outcome of the audit is to ensure consistency in the way your business is promoted and perceived. This leads to a stronger brand and therefore, a stronger company.
Your audit should cover 3 main aspects:
- A complete review of the physical representation of the brand (stationery/advertising etc)
- An internal brand audit – conducting employee workshops and management interviews
- An external brand audit – conducting external market research ie customers, target market and stakeholders from whom you want to find out how the company is spoken of, it’s current positioning and perceived culture
Going into further detail with your audit review the following details of your business:
- Typefaces & colours: are these consistent across your stationery, emails, website, marketing materials, uniforms & signage?
- Imagery: do the photos/illustrations you use all have the same hue and framing and characteristics?
- Email tagline: does everyone in the company use the same one, or do some not use one at all?
- Tone of voice: do your sales material, website, emails and letters all use the same tone of voice and same language style?
- Reception area: is it in keeping with your brand?
- Name tags: are these consistent in typeface, colour and quality?
- Packaging: is your product’s packaging distinctive and in keeping with your brand?
- Communication: is your phone answered in the same manner every time? Is this first introduction to your company in keeping with your brand?
- Advertisements: Do you chop and change your style regularly or is your advertising instantly recognisable based on its theming?
- Employees: do they feel the same way about the company’s values or is there a wide disparity in views? Do they treat customers in much the same way, or are there huge discrepancies? A mystery shopper program can be useful to determine this.
- During an audit you might realise your company is promising one thing to your customers but delivering something else. Or you might discover your brand has lost its sense of direction and what it stands for. If this is your discovery, doing a spring clean and revitalising your brand would be the next step.
Sometimes it also helps to have an outside set of eyes undertake the audit for you giving you honest and independent feedback. If you’d like to talk to us about undertaking your company’s brand audit, send us a message here.
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Author: Lou Browne
Lou Browne has a long career history in multi-platform marketing B2C and B2B product and brand development having worked in industries as varied as wine and spirits, beauty and scuba diving. As well as a passion for social media, website design, events, marketing planning and strategy, she prides herself on her skills in relationship building.