A brand audit is an exercise that is best undertaken by someone external. Unlike the brand values exercise that relies on knowledge of the company’s overriding strategy and direction, the audit is a ‘cold hard look’ into whether the current company brand output (logo, website, print, digital, written communication, social) matches the value words.
What areas are covered with a brand audit?
- Visual identity
- Navigation and user experience on web
- Photography and illustration style
- Words used within all marketing
- Social media and digital design
In order to run a brand audit you will need to collect all of your marketing material for the last couple of years, and potentially add analytics into your website if you don’t already have it included.
The first stage will look into the cohesion (visually and verbally) of the brand. Does the tone of voice match the illustration style? Are you consistent with your use of wording?
The second stage will look into your audience, and will seek to work out whether the decisions you’ve made for your brand sit well with the audience you’ve selected.
The third and final stage is to sift through data and spot any areas that indicate negative (or positive!) action has been taken.
The audit will indicate areas of strength and weakness within you brand, alongside an indicate of the harm level. Your next step will be to make a list of possible changes.
At this point, the possible solutions will all be assumptions – this is fine! Whilst the audit may highlight areas of weakness, the solutions will take time to test.
An audit may bring to the fore negative comments about your business on social media, however there will be a number of possible solutions. Do you spend more time and energy responding to each individual comment? Does your website need to offer more information about your product / service from the start? Do you answer any comment in a direct and straightforward manner, or are you more chirpy?!
With any problem, the best solution isn’t only about fixing the problem, but doing so in an efficient and timely manner that works for the business as a whole.
So, how do you then test the assumptions? Ideally, speak to the company / individual who carried out your brand audit to ensure you are testing using the same software as before.