Is it time for a Brand Check-up? A Guide to Auditing Your Brand
According to Forbes, strong and consistent branding across all channels can increase your revenue by 23%. Therefore, creating and maintaining a strong brand is a top priority for many marketers – and a difficult job at that. But with a strong brand, your company can expect more clarity for your stakeholders, more unification amongst your employees, stronger brand loyalty from your customers, and a growth in sales for your company over time.
Whether you have yet to create a brand, are looking to refresh your brand, or are completely remaking your brand, your company may benefit from a brand audit. In the following article, we delve deep into what a brand audit is, what it can achieve, how you may create one, and an extensive list of sample questions you may include in your brand audit.
What is a Brand Audit
A brand audit is an assessment tool used to gauge your brand’s position in the market, its current effectiveness and areas for further growth through interviews, surveys, polls, focus groups, and web analytics. Conducting a brand audit allows you to thoroughly learn about your company, its position in the market, and how to move your company forward and grow its brand strategically.
Objectives of a Brand Audit
Depending on how you conduct your brand audit and its extent, you will uncover different insights. Some of the objectives you may aim to achieve are to:
Establish the position of your brand in the market
Determine your position in the market in relation to your competitors
Uncover your strengths and weaknesses
Clarify your vision and objectives
Discover what unites and motivates your employees
Learn about how your employees perceive your company
Discover your consumers’ perspectives and sentiments towards your brand
Determine your consumers’ pain points
Understand what your consumers expect and how to best deliver on these expectations
A thorough understanding of the above will provide you with the building blocks of information to create and optimise your brand and marketing strategy with the structure, reputation, and assets your company currently owns.
Why do a Brand Audit
Why is a brand audit essential to the success of your business? The market is ever-changing, and along with it, consumer expectations. A brand audit is essentially a health check – it gives you objective and unbiased insight into how all related stakeholders view your brand and how to improve inconsistencies and issues, ensuring that your company remains agile and adaptable in the current market. It creates the foundation on which you will then build, refresh, or recreate your brand in the most efficient way suited to your company.
How to do a Brand Audit
1. Determine the objective of your brand audit
Consider - what are you aiming to achieve? What would you like to uncover? How do you plan on utilizing your insights?
2. Determine who you will survey in this audit
There are essentially two types of brand audits – internal brand audits and external brand audits.
An internal brand audit focuses on your company, uncovering information such as your founding story, mission, vision, company culture, core values, and other internal perceptions and goals. Your primary participants may include:
C-suite (CEO, CFO, COO)
An external brand audit focuses on your consumers, uncovering information such as marketing effectiveness, brand perception, digital channel and SEO effectiveness, and more. Your primary participants may include:
3. Determine the method of your brand audit
The method of your brand audit can come in numerous forms. You may consider the following options:
Interviews – The most common method used for internal brand audits, especially when surveying C-suites, investors, or managers, interview questionnaires engage in direct conversation with your relevant stakeholders. The advantage of this method is that you will be able to ask follow up questions in response to interesting answers and clarify any misunderstandings.
Surveys – Using a tool such as Survey Monkey, put your questionnaire in survey form to reach a broader audience group. For example, if you would like to survey a medium to large-sized company with a considerable number of employees or the general market, this method is relatively simple to set up and inexpensive. However, note that it may also be more difficult to solicit quality responses.
Polls – If you have managed to build a large social media following, this method can be easily used via platforms like Facebook and Instagram to solicit simple answers. However, unless you offer an added incentive, your number of questions would need to be as limited as possible.
Emails – If your company has already built an email database of your clients, emails can be easily combined with surveys or polls to reach your participants for an effective, simple, and targeted method of brand auditing.
Focus Groups – Focus groups are a great in-person method to gather detailed answers from participants. While collecting responses, participant conversation progresses naturally, bouncing off each other to reveal insights that you may not have originally included in your questionnaire. However, focus groups can also be costly and difficult to schedule and host, so this is one of the least common methods used in brand auditing.
Direct Mail – Using the old fashioned print and mail method of survey response collection may help you reach a segment of your target audience that isn’t as digitally savvy; however, this method is more tedious and labour-intensive.
Phone Calls – Telephone calls are another great way to get comprehensive answers from participants with less time commitment than in-person methods. However, this method is often seen as intrusive if participants were not notified beforehand, such as when conducting an external brand audit using a sourced directory.
Depending on the scope and complexity of your brand audit, you may choose one of the above options or a combination of multiple methods to achieve your desired results.
50 sample questions to ask in a Brand Audit
In the following section, we have provided 50 sample questions you may consider including in your brand audit:
25 Internal Brand Audit Sample Questions (To the C-suite, managers, investors, and employees):
- What is your vision?
- What is your mission?
- Why was this company created?
- How was this company created?
- What are your three most important goals?
- How do you measure success?
- What are you most passionate about in your business?
- How would you describe your products or services?
- To whom do you market your products and services?
- Where is your target market (countries, regions)?
- Who are your stakeholders, and how do you prioritise them?
- How do you want to be perceived by each audience?
- What is your competitive advantage?
- How do you retain your customers? What earns their loyalty and makes them come back for more?
- What do you do better than anyone else?
- Who is your competition? Is there a competitor that you admire most? If so, why?
- What are the trends and changes that affect your industry?
- What values and beliefs unify your employees and drive their performance?
- What are the potential barriers to the success of your product or service?
- Why did you choose to work for this brand?
- What do you like most about working for this company? What do you like least?
- What would you do to improve your working life in this company?
- Would you recommend this brand, both as an employer and as a product?
- What are the top three words that come to mind when your consumers think of your product, and when they think of your brand?
- What are the top complaints you have received from your consumers?
25 External Brand Audit Sample Questions (To your current consumers, potential consumers, and the general market):
- How would you describe this brand?
- How does this brand make you feel? Could you list five adjectives?
- What do you think or feel when you see the logo of this brand?
- What stands out about this brand?
- Where did you first encounter this brand?
- Do you know what this brand promises? If yes, how did you learn about this brand promise?
- What do you think this brand promises? Does it deliver on that promise?
- What problem does this brand solve for you?
- How many times have you bought from this brand, and which products/services did you purchase? If you have purchased more than once, what made you come back?
- Would you recommend this brand? If yes, to whom would you recommend it?
- Where would you expect to find this brand?
- What makes this brand excel over other competing brands?
- What is another brand you find similar to this brand? Why?
- Have you ever seen any advertisements from this brand? If so, where?
- Do the advertisements catch your attention? What do you like or dislike about them?
- What are some issues you have encountered when purchasing from this brand?
- Are you subscribed to any of the brand’s social media profiles, newsletters, or membership programs? If yes, what made you subscribe?
- How does this brand engage with you?
- What has been your best experience with this brand?
- Have you ever been disappointed by this brand? If so, how?
- What would you improve about this brand?
- Do you think this brand is of good value compared to its other competitors? If so, why?
- Are you aware of any of the causes this brand supports?
- How would you rate the customer service from this brand?
- Do you think you will still be using this brand 1 or 2 years down the road? Why or why not?
Ultimately, thorough knowledge and an objective understanding of your brand internally and is the crucial foundation to create a strong brand for your company. A brand audit is not a onetime undertaking, but an effective tool when repeated every few years to ensure the efficacy and relevancy of your brand. It can take anywhere between one week to several months to complete, resulting in an actionable plan that lays out the next steps in your brand development process.
If you would like to learn more about branding and how we have helped our clients grow their businesses over the year, please feel free to check out our other articles on branding as well!
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