By Laurie Jo Miller Farr
Why Conduct a Brand Audit and When?
A brand audit is effectively a health check-up. The objective is to allow owners and managers to identify and address any problem areas so a brand can stay fresh and relevant.
Brands are like living entities with life cycles. They’re born, they grow, they thrive. And, at a mature stage, they potentially start to lose relevance as customers move on to the latest hot new thing.
Brand stewards must monitor this cycle regularly to revitalize a business by taking the time to address the question:
- What strategic issues are facing the business?
What is a Brand Audit?
A brand audit is a thorough examination of a brand’s current position in the market compared to its competitors. Even strong brands need a reality check to keep them on track.
An audit helps where these strengths lie, identify weaknesses, threats, or inconsistencies as well as provide opportunities for improvement and new ideas.
It produces a road map for the brand’s way forward with continued growth.
What Tools to Use for a Simple Brand Audit?
Any brand audit must begin with two essential tools, both to be completed by owners and stakeholders, as honestly and forthrightly as possible. It is usually helpful to have an outside facilitator to encourage and ensure the authenticity of the exercises to assist those who are being asked to take a step back from their own deep, daily involvement.
- SWOT Analysis (Strengths / Weaknesses, Opportunities / Threats) related to a business and its competition
- A Brand Questionnaire
- Brand Personality
- Develop Customer Personas
- Brand Tone of Voice (tweak for each persona)
- Key Words & Phrases
- Unique Selling Points
Initial Brand Questions
- Who do you consider to be your two top direct competitors?
- What is the primary differentiator between Ritz Furs and your competitors?
- What are the three main things you want your customers or potential customers to know?
- Describe your product or service in one sentence.
- What are the main attributes of your company? (Hint: Think of the company as a person; how might you describe that individual?)(Check all that apply, cross off ones that don’t fit. Add others of your own?)
ARE WE? Knowledgeable / Uninformed Trustworthy / Unreliable Friendly / Unapproachable Inventive / Old-fashioned Attentive / Withdrawn Problem-solvers / Short on recycling ideas Surprising / Predictable Creative / Unimaginative Practical / Impractical ANYTHING ELSE?
- What is the primary quality of your brand?
- What is the precise business objective that you would like your brand to achieve?
- What is your value proposition? (Defined as an innovation, service, or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers.)
Analyze Current Brand Messaging
Rearrange the messages you’re currently using and rate them. Look at your tag line, website copy, print collateral, advertising, and try to find all the key messages that a customer is likely to come across.
Rate them. On a scale of 1-5, which is important to you as a brand owner or stakeholder? And why? And for which customer persona?
- My dream customer values ________________ but really loves ______________.
- A stress or pressing need that my customer might have is ___________________________.
- My customer may place trust in others who _________________.
- What is most likely to make my customer into a loyal customer is _____________.
- Something that might happily surprise a first-time customer about my company is __________________.
- Some other favorite brands of my customer might be _______________ and ______________.
- My product or service should make a person feel ______________.
What are the Deliverables of a Brand Audit?
A brand audit will reveal how the customer perceives your brand, how your brand compares to the competition and how your brand is performing against its potential.
Its output supports the following:
- Evaluates and re-focus your brand positioning
- Enhances internal staff brand awareness
- Sharpens marketing communications both online and offline
- Ensures your branding and tone of voice resonates with its audience(s)
- Provides direction for your brand into the future
Spritz has helped clients in lifestyle, technology, sports events, festivals, consumer goods and services to refresh and relaunch their brands, and in some cases, to re-brand. Let us know how we can help your brand live a longer, healthier life.