“There, that’s done – no more worries…” – not so fast!
A brand and the brand experience is what differentiates your company from your competitors and their products. It also defines your corporate culture and brings to life your products and services. As your company or products move forward or take on more competitors, your brand will need to evolve or reshape itself to remain relevant within the marketplace. Not always an easy task and one that’s generally left far too late in the process. Most people react when there’s an issue and it must be solved now – this is the wrong time to undergo a brand review or audit, your intention and motivation are in the wrong place to be forward thinking.
Brand is important – a consistent well-managed brand means you can spend more time and money attracting new customers plus focusing on the ones you have. Ultimately you get to keep more revenue – a good problem to have.
The outcome of the audit is to ensure consistency in the way your brand, culture and business are perceived. The stronger the brand – the stronger the company that will always equal more revenue.
To successfully conduct a brand audit, the following steps are required.
1. Marketing Review – a complete review of the physical representation of the brand in the marketplace.
2. Internal Review – conduct employee, management and stakeholder interviews – As your main carriers of the brand, these stakeholders must be onboard.
3. External Review – conducting external market research with customers, target market and stakeholders will be important to discover the current positioning and perceived culture.
These three areas will yield the most go forward information concerning your brand, brand positioning, brand elasticity and brand culture – these will be vital to your go-forward planning.
You will also need to look at the brand identity as a part of this process.
1. Typeface and Colours – are they consistent?
2. Imagery – are they in keeping with the brand culture and style?
3. Email Tagline – keep them consistent
4. Voice – this is important – do your sales materials, emails, and correspondence, use the same tone and language?
5. Packaging – does your brand’s packaging provide a distinctive look and tone?
6. Communication – has everyone in the company versed themselves with the same elevator pitch? – everyone sells
7. Employees – do they all believe in the company’s values, brand, brand vision and culture?
The largest brands in the world have achieved their position though implementing a strong brand strategy, but more so by adapting to customer changes and perceptions and being strategically flexible. Many organizations overlook the need to monitor their customer base and focus on new clients – never let your clients get further away than arms length.
Wherever your company is on the scale, an audit helps provide an important perspective on your business plus protecting your revenues.