Brand audits enable you to discover how your business is performing from the perspective of your customers. They also help you ascertain whether your desired message is connecting with your target audience and whether your branding is consistent across all channels both internally and externally.
Done correctly, a brand audit will help you to…
- Pinpoint your business’s strengths and weaknesses and plan corrective strategies.
- Align your offerings with the expectations of your customers.
- Shed light on public sentiment and perception about your business.
In ten simple steps, we’ll show you what information you need to gather to conduct an effective brand messaging audit.
What is a Brand Audit
A brand audit is a comprehensive review of all aspects of an organisation’s branding efforts. It can include evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of marketing activities, analysing customer feedback and loyalty, assessing market trends, researching competitor performance and more. By taking a strategic look at your brand identity, messaging, campaigns, products/services and overall reputation in the marketplace.
Conducting a brand audit in 10 steps
1. Create a hypothesis
Any good investigation starts with a hypothesis. You need to understand what it is you’re testing and measuring.
In the case of a brand audit, you are measuring the success of your branding and marketing efforts. So your hypothesis should be:
a. Your target audience and customer base are one and the same.
b. Your customers’ experience aligns with your business’s mission, vision and unique selling proposition (USP).
c. Your customers are engaged with and positive about your brand.
To test this, you need to first have a clear understanding of who your target audience is and what your business’s mission and USP are.
If your branding and marketing efforts are working optimally, your hypothesis should be supported by your brand message audit.
2. Evaluate the consistency of your marketing assets
Review all of your traditional and digital marketing assets such as your logo, emails, business cards, brochures, sales letters, product packaging, blog posts, website content, videos and images.
Are they consistent in terms of design, colour, typeface, tone of voice? Are they consistent in terms of brand messaging? Are they targeted at your intended market?
3. Review your web analytics
For the next part of your brand audit, you want to get a broad idea of how your online business is performing. Check that you are getting a steady flow of traffic and that visitors are engaged with your website
Traffic – The most obvious reason to evaluate your traffic metrics is to check whether your website is increasing in popularity. But you should also check where your traffic is coming from. You might discover, for example, that even though your traffic is increasing you’re reaching the wrong geographical region. If you find that traffic is coming from a singular source, you make yourself vulnerable to changes in that market.
Bounce rate – The bounce rate measures how many people leave your site after visiting just one page. A high bounce rate (over 55%) could mean that your website either isn’t being marketed correctly or that there is something wrong with the site itself that is detracting visitors.
The bounce rate is a general indicator of how well your website is performing but it doesn’t give you any specific details as to why people are leaving. This requires further investigation.
Conversion rate – How many visitors are converting into customers? Check this figure regularly to discover whether it’s rising or falling.
4. Analyse social media data and review sites
Web analytics can give you a general insight into how customers are responding to your brand through their interaction with your website. Social media and review sites contain more detailed information and allow you to delve more deeply into how your brand is being received and by whom.
Discover who is interacting with your site. Do they reflect your target market? What are they saying about your brand?
Most social media analytics tools can draw a broad picture of customer sentiment, but the Symanto Insights Platform goes a step further by analysing text in context to reveal deeper insights into customer perception of your brand and your product.
The Symanto Insights Platform can scan thousands of written reviews and comments within minutes. It then breaks down the information by topics and sentiment, so you can pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your brand or product from the perspective of your customers. This is the most useful and comprehensive step of your brand audit.
The Symanto Insights Platform can also analyse the likelihood that a customer would recommend your brand, whether they’re neutral, or whether they are detractors that would advise others against using your brand.
With the Symanto Insights Platform, you can also analyse the psychographic profiles and communication styles of the authors to find out exactly what kind of people are drawn to your brand and what messaging resonates best with them.
5. Utilise surveys to fill in the gaps
Once you’ve gleaned as much information as possible from your social media and review sites you may still have some unanswered questions. You can complement your research with further customer surveys.
Some examples of questions you may want to ask:
- What words would you use to describe the brand?
- How does the brand make you feel?
- How could the brand improve its service?
During your brand audit, it’s also useful to send out a survey to your employees to ensure that your brand message is lived through your organisation. All customer or client-facing employees must understand your brand message and contribute to your brand’s mission and values.
6. Analyse the competition
Once you have an understanding of your own brand, it’s important to compare it with your competitors. You can use the Symanto Insights Platform to analyse their social media profiles and review sites as well as their websites, using a range of metrics such as website traffic and engagement rate. If possible, you should also take into account any offline marketing data (e.g., advertising spend) that could also be influencing their performance.
By comparing your brand to the competition, you can identify any opportunities or weaknesses in your current strategy and gain inspiration for new campaigns. You may even discover that some of the strategies employed by your competitors are more successful than yours, giving you the chance to adjust your own approach to give you a competitive edge.
7. Gather your findings
Now it’s time to gather all of your findings and results and analyse and assess your performance. Discover what you need to invest in next to make the biggest difference to your business. Some aspects of your brand may just need tweaking, while others may need a complete overhaul.
8. Create an action plan
Create a strategy or series of strategies to update your branding and align it with your brand’s mission and broader business goals.
9. Constantly review your progress
As you complete each phase, check in on whether your action plan is going in the right direction. It’s useful to constantly keep an eye on your web and social media analytics to see which part of your strategy had the biggest effect.
You should run a complete and comprehensive brand audit at least every few years, but more frequently if you run a big marketing campaign, or your business goes in another direction.
Frequently check in and continually work to ensure your brand message is resonating with your target consumers.
By regularly carrying out a brand audit, you will keep your branding up-to-date and relevant and allow your business to stay ahead of the competition. This will help ensure that your brand is successful in the long run.
A brand audit is a critical part of any successful business. It helps you understand how your brand is perceived, identify opportunities and weaknesses in your current strategy, compare it to the competition’s performance, and create an action plan to help reach your goals. The Symanto Insights Platform can help you efficiently collect data from social media platforms and review sites, as well as analyse competitor data to give you the insights you need.
By regularly carrying out a brand audit, you can help ensure that your branding remains fresh and relevant in the long run.