What Is the Process of a Brand Audit?
Understand how to conduct a brand audit and analyze its performance with this 7-step guide. Get an overview of your results, audience and competition.
Sometimes it may seem like the biggest brands have done all the hard work from the start and are still reaping the rewards years later.
In fact, it is often quite the opposite, there are established companies that struggle to stay innovative and agile as they grow.
A lot of work is required to always stay on top, due to every upstart who will try to usurp your brand.
Continuous monitoring of results and reporting against targets provides continuous health monitoring.
Performing a brand audit allows you to step back and see the big picture, which can inform a longer-term strategy.
Whether comparing to competitors, considering a rebrand, or simply wanting a broader overview of performance and positioning, conducting an audit can be a valuable exercise.
Step by step to carry out a brand audit
However, you can choose to audit yourself using data that should be readily available.
There is a wide range of metrics you can measure, but which ones are important will change on a case-by-case basis.
Step 1 – Create a frame
You must start by looking at your mission and your strategic objectives to create a framework.
You want to consider who your target customers are, the marketing plan to reach them, and the design of the business landscape in which you operate.
Some companies may refer to your go to market strategy . This consists of the general plan that includes the target clients (geographically, job roles, sectors, buyers, etc.), product portfolio, distribution channels, associations, competitors and prices.
Step 2 – Create brand summary
The first step in the process of auditing your brand is to create a summary of the brand.
If you have completed a written branding strategy, this is simply a list of the key components. You will use it to compare the results of your internal and external surveys.
If you are not sure how to answer some of these questions, it may take longer to fully define your branding strategy before conducting your branding audit.
Or, you may want your team to work together to complete the branding summary.
Here are elements you can include:
- Primary value proposition
- Secondary value proposition
- The most powerful emotional benefits passed on to your customers
- The three things that your brand should mean to your customers
- The five human personality traits that describe how you want the market to see your brand
- Brand promise
- 25 word brand positioning statement
- Brand history
- Why is your brand known
Step 3 – Ask your customers
It can be easy to trust only web and social numbers, but this will not give a complete picture. You can conduct surveys by phone, email, on their website, or as part of the sales process.
Services like QuestionPro will allow you to create online questionnaires for free.
A mix of quantitative and qualitative feedback will provide a more complete picture.
Understanding the customer experience at each point of contact will be an important part of your audit.
Because there is so much data available, these anecdotal customer stories will help humanize the audit and provide insight into how people perceive your brand.
They can also help uncover answers to questions the data can’t easily say, such as rating the customer service experience or why someone finally chose their brand over the competition.
Step 4 – Review your web analytics
Since 81% of consumers do online research before making a purchase (up to 94% in B2B cases ), traffic to your website is an important, if obvious, place to start.
Organic and payment channel monitoring is standard practice to determine if your SEO or display ads are successful or need optimization. You can also look deeper to see if traffic is coming from the markets you’re targeting.
It’s also worth checking which channels generate traffic – you want there to be a combination of sources to mitigate any sudden drops in an area.
An excessive update in organic search could be undone with a simple update from Google.
A deeper analysis as part of your brand audit will tell you if you are attracting the right type of traffic and what types of content are working best.
Step 5 – Check your social data
Social data can help further develop your brand overview by giving access to audience data that is not available through other channels.
Demographic information available through social media enables you to better understand your audience. You may want to relocate your message if your actual audience differs from your perceived audience.
Social intelligence tools can offer you a deeper understanding of your customers, examining their interests outside of your brand to inform marketing.
Location-based social data can complement web location data.
You can find out who is linking to your website, just one way to discover influencers.
Sentiment analysis allows you to get an overview of the broader public opinion around your brand, or specific campaign or product.
A linguistic analysis that uses the categorization of mentions can inform you about the associations with your brand.
Combining this data with an audience analysis gives you the opportunity to reposition or highlight strengths and respond to market needs.
Step 6 – Review sales data
Of course, sales data will be at the forefront of your ongoing monthly reports, but examining them along with the rest of the audit data will help identify problem areas.
The context provided by an analysis of the entire customer journey can highlight specific areas that are causing problems or opportunities to further exploit.
Step 7 – Study your competitors
No brand exists in isolation.
The final part of conducting a brand audit involves looking at your competitors to understand their place in the market.
There is a complete picture of competitor analysis tools that will do a lot of the work for you. SEO and rankings, backlinks, content, ads, rankings, traffic, emails and price tracking can be investigated.
Social data can provide the same data about your competitors as your own brand, as it is not stored in the same way as many other data.
In addition to the methods listed above, the voice engagement calculation shows how much of the online conversation you are earning and how that conversion differs across different markets.
Step 8 – Take action and monitor the results.
A detailed plan of findings should be followed by a series of actionable objectives, with a schedule of expected results. After taking action in each area, monitor progress and results.
An ongoing measurement process will report whether your goals are being achieved, but you may want to repeat the audit process after a reasonable period of time.
When you want to collect information from your customers, suppliers and consumers, you must carry out surveys that can perfectly be online, this will help you reduce costs.