What is a Brand Audit and Who Needs One?

The simplest definition of a brand audit is an investigation into finding out exactly where a brand stands in the market compared to its competitors. As a strong brand will outperform those without a consistent brand management process, a brand audit is one of the most effective ways of improving the value of a company.

Having a strong brand means that customers will prefer to buy from you, will increase customer loyalty, help you to reduce business costs, and overtake your competitors in any marketplace. What is a brand audit? It's a deep dive into the strengths and weaknesses of your branding and identifying opportunities to boost your profits and your future. A step-by-step brand audit is critical in today's highly competitive business landscape.

When to Perform a Brand Audit?

There are some key moments in the life of a business when a brand audit will be necessary. The first is when a business has hit a growth wall, and all of the marketing strategies in the world are failing to break through that barrier. A step-by-step brand audit is essentially a branding health check of a business model, locating roadblocks in brand communications and strategically applying the best solutions.

Other businesses will carry out a brand audit when they're considering a rebrand. Brands that are looking at the potential costs of a rebrand will need to have a firm idea of brand value and brand equity, and an effective brand audit will identify baseline measurements for both. When a strong brand is so important for employees and customer loyalty, performing a brand audit is an essential process.

How an Internal and External Brand Audit is Carried Out

It can be hard work to carry out a full-scale brand audit. Most businesses that have realized that they need to make changes to their branding strategy will use a reputable branding agency for performing a brand audit. The process will require a step by step audit process. When performing a brand audit, a branding agency will create a framework and process that will cover:

Internal Branding: This is the beating heart of your brand, and a variety of brand-relevant factors will need to be appraised and measured. It will start with an examination of current brand positioning, but it will also research your brand guidelines (if there are any in place), and determine their consistency and how they reflect your company culture and mission statement. Your USP will be held up against your existing branding to check for consistencies, and your tone of voice for all of your communication channels will be tested too. The goal of an internal audit will be to determine how effective your existing branding is, how it is affecting your market position, and how it reflects your corporate culture.

External Branding: This will involve step by step auditing of all of your outward-facing brand guidelines and assets. This includes every element of your brand identity, including your logos, color palette choices, and slogans. All of your marketing collateral will be tested and checked for brand consistency, including trade show displays and any printed materials, as well as your digital assets like your website and social media pages. Any partnerships you have developed will be assessed, as will your content, advertising strategies, and any additional content marketing avenues you have explored.

It can be a big task to conduct a brand audit. That's why it's one of the most popular branding agency services to outsource. It involves an in-depth analysis of corporate identity and defining the limitations of existing brand standards, covering everything from internal and external communications to HR policies and customer service protocols.

Performing a Brand Audit and ROI

No business can afford to throw money away, and return on investment is a critical consideration when it comes to all business decisions. A brand audit is a useful test of key strategic business decisions like a new marketing campaign or rebranding decisions. By testing your current brand value and market position, and comparing that total to the cost of a rebrand, performing a brand audit can make the decision of whether to rebrand a much easier one to make.

The Importance of Branding

Customer loyalty is more important than ever, and it's an ongoing process to develop that loyalty. Consumers in the digital age want every purchase to be an experience, and that's where your branding can give you a competitive advantage. Performing a brand audit will highlight potential issues in your branding that will explain a peak profit margin that you can't overcome even with the most extensive marketing strategies.

When a business has inconsistencies in its branding, that reduces customer loyalty and improves opportunities for competitors to take over your market share. It's easy to overlook branding as a vital tool for a business, but it's often the dividing line between those brands that grow and those that falter.

A step-by-step brand audit that covers both internal and external branding is one of the best ways to ensure that your business can perform as effectively as possible. What is a brand audit? From a basic online survey sent out to your customers, to a bounce rate analysis that will identify website branding inconsistencies, brand audits can reveal exactly what you're doing right and wrong with your existing branding.

Creating a strong brand takes work, and it all starts with a brand audit process. The result will be a brand strategy that will help you target customers and grow your business faster and more effectively than your competitors.