What Is The Purpose of a Brand Audit?
As a brand strategist, I follow a 6-step creative process: discover, audit, plan, strategize, develop and implement.
Auditing is the best way to launch a new partnership. Early on in my order of operations, I perform a full business assessment and brand audit to help determine specific areas on which to focus the brand strategy.
When/why/how was the company founded? Who are the leaders and key players? I need to get to the bottom of who I am marketing so I can identify specific needs and adjust accordingly.
Current State of Affairs
What is business like on a day-to-day basis? What are the communication processes? What are the sales goals compared to actual sales being made? Are you aware of your key performance indicator? How do you measure return on investments? Describe the company morale. How do consumers perceive your business? It’s important to be well-aware of where you are so you can make a strategic plan of action to get from point A to point B.
Long-Term Business Goals
Where is your focus? Do you want to build an audience, increase sales and earn loyal customers?
Expectations in Working Together
Possibilities are endless. That’s why I start each new project by asking for samples of branding you do/don’t appreciate. It helps speed up the process by honing in on your style and expectations.
Brand Personality Audit
Diving into the heart of your brand, I seek understanding of your distinct characteristics and qualities as a business. What makes your business different? What are your key values and features?
Voice + Tone
How do you sound to outsiders? Sure, everyone internally already knows and understands your mission, but does the rest of the world? Are you properly expressing yourself using your voice? Further, what about the tone of your voice? Not only what you say matters, but also how you say it.
At the end of the day, your logo design is only a small piece of the branding puzzle. All the perceptions and emotions associated with your brand are what matter most. The logo is a major detail, but still, just a detail in the grand scheme. What should be fundamental to any brand strategy or design decision is the emotional resonance it evokes.
Brand Messaging Audit
What is the mission of your company? How clearly is that coming through in your communications? As an outsider, was it clear to me what you do and why you do it, or did I have to dig deep and schedule a private interview just to find out?
In order to achieve long-term success, clear objectives must be established. This means having a solid understanding of the big vision. I work directly with executives to help shape the company vision and relay it to key players in a way that provides clarity and creative direction.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
What sets your business apart from others alike? Are your products and services priced competitively? Do you serve a very specific niche? Whatever it is, it should be coming though in all of your communications.
Call To Actions (CTAs)
Throughout your communications, are you clear in what you want your audience to do? Do you provide direct call to actions that prompt users to contact you or try your products and services?
Design + Content Audit
What is the name of your business? No need to settle on the first name that comes to you and seems like a good idea. There are a variety of factors to consider when determining a compelling brand name.
For the design phase of the brand audit, I start by investigating the logo situation. Is there an official logo? Does it meet professional standards? Where is it being applied? Is it being upheld to strict guidelines?
Is there an established color palette used throughout communications? If so, what are the colors and are there associated guidelines?
What typography is being used throughout communications? Is it appropriate? Is there consistency?
What mediums do you use for written communication, both internally and externally? Do you have any templates or writing guidelines? Are there any tag lines or catch phrases being used? How well-researched and eloquent is the content on the website and other marketing channels?
Is there a strong use of photography in marketing materials? Do the company leaders have professional headshots available? Are there custom photos of the company showcasing its lifestyle and products or is stock photography being predominantly used?
Clarity + Consistency
Is there general cohesiveness throughout the design elements and content? Is everything clearly and constantly expressing your mission?
Digital Media Audit
When evaluating your online presence, the first place I go is to your home on the world wide web, your website. What’s it like? Is it custom or generic? Does it properly serve its purpose?
Does the website function on all devices? When navigating around, does everything scroll and adapt as expected?
User Experience (UX) Design
How is the overall experience of your website? Is your site easy to use and even enjoyable? Is there anything about it that is particularly memorable?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
How many pages is your website? Is the content filled with search terms, keywords and phrases? Do you manage a blog? Your small business may already have blog content that is regularly published, but how good is that content? Blog content for marketing is an effective means to get noticed on search engines if executed properly.
Are you active across all the major social media platforms? What type of content are you sharing and consuming? Are you properly engaging with your followers and networking with like-minded others?
Coming up on this 6-part series will be how to perform market research, digital media analysis: the essential checklist, a guide to positioning your business, how to formulate a comprehensive marketing plan and how to become an industry leader.