Agreed, it’s still early in the year, and the world is certainly throwing us a few unexpected curve balls, but now is a great time to take account of exactly where your brand is right now. This doesn’t just mean a quick check that your logo is in the right position on your business cards, or that your brand colours are consistent across all your marketing materials – it’s actually far more comprehensive.
(Guess that’s why it’s called an ‘audit’).
However, unlike something like a tax audit, this doesn’t need to stir up any fear, or become overly complex – here’s why it’s certainly worth a few hours of your time.
What is the overall purpose of a brand audit?
Essentially, there exists a certain group of people whose perception of your brand is more important than anybody else’s – your customers. A brand audit lets you determine what they think of you – and what you could be doing differently, and effectively.
In effect, then, a brand audit is designed to provide you with the insight you need to serve your customers better, and build trust with them. And with trust becoming more and more vital to consumers, as they are constantly bombarded with alternative options, the potential value of a brand audit becomes clearer.
What does a brand audit involve?
Every asset that has your name and logo on could become part of your brand audit. From social media banners, to branded pens in the office – but that’s actually the easy stuff! Simple tweaks to your printed artwork can be resolved by designers, and enhanced by high quality print, like materials produced by Duplo International’s high end printing equipment.
The more complicated side of a brand audit, however, can be looking into your web analytics. Unless you’re sure who’s visiting your website, when, and from where, you can’t know that your online efforts are reaching the right people. As part of your audit though, you’ll also be looking into your competitors, trends in your industry, and the level and price of your services.
Should I involve my customers?
Absolutely. A brand audit isn’t just a great way to improve what you do for your customers – it also gives you the ideal opportunity to engage them directly. Your web and social media performance can reveal some excellent, invaluable data, but analytics alone doesn’t paint the whole picture – and that’s where your customers’ own insight becomes essential.
That classic question of ‘Why do you choose our service, over others?’ can reveal so much more than raw data alone, so do conduct surveys, ask for feedback, and pose as many questions as possible of your audience. You could treat this side of things as you would any other customer service questionnaire, and get the mixture of qualitative and quantitative information that really adds depth to your findings.
What do I do with the results?
With the information you’ve unveiled, you use this to fill holes, tweak elements, and, if required, overhaul, overall, your brand. You could call this side of things ‘brand augmentation’, as opposed to brand auditing (that’s not yet a popular term – I just invented that – but you’re welcome to keep it!).
From here, set out a simple timeframe in which to implement your results and fix problems. For instance, if analytics show a high bounce rate, pencil in time to improve your landing pages. If customers have said they would like to see a certain product or service, create a realistic plan for delivering it. Whatever results your audit has found though; you’ll have plenty of time this year to address them.