Do you feel like your branding a bit of a hot mess? Are you ready to get your branding on track this year, but don’t know where to start? You need a brand audit! I’ll walk you through the ins and outs of conducting a brand audit and aligning your brand across your customer journey and every touchpoint.
A brand audit is an in depth look at your brand’s effectiveness, its position in the market, how you are compared to your competitors, and how you are seen by your audience. Conducting a brand audit is going to help identify areas of improvements you can make for your business. The main goal of a brand audit is to understand how your brand is performing– both internally and externally– and to align it with your business goals.
Depending on how established your business is, you will be in one of these positions: you’ve been making it work with a DIY brand and your visual elements were made on your own in a design software (ie. Canva, Illustrator, etc.), you purchased a pre-made, semi-custom brand kit, or you’ve worked with a brand designer to have a custom brand identity. No matter which one of these positions you are in, a brand audit will help identify areas of improvement, help align your touchpoints to your brand, and align your branding efforts to your business goals.
Let’s jump in and explore the areas of a brand audit!
Your visual identity is going to be any of the distinctive visual elements used to represent your brand’s essence. This includes your logo and its variations, color palette, font heirarchy, imagery/photography style, custom graphics and icons, and layout and design elements You will want to assess how these elements are used across various platforms. Do you have an outdated logo used on one of your social media platforms? Is your business name consistently written throughout all of your platforms?
What about your color palette? Do you have the exact color values (HEX, RGB, and CMYK) and use them consistently? A big question, is your color palette accessible and legible for all people?
Make sure to check all of the social media channels you have, email newsletters, email signatures, social media graphics, your website, printed marketing collateral, digital marketing collateral, etc. There is nothing worse than confusing people with your outdated business name, brand elements, or other touchpoints.
Does all of your copy sound like it was written by the same person? Does it align with your brand personality and voice rules? Evaluate your social media captions, email newsletters, website, and anywhere else your brand communicates with its audience.
Do you have a brand tagline? What about a word/phrase bank, brand messages, a brand promise, and positioning statement? By defining these in addition to your brand’s voice and tone, you will help to have consistent and reliable communication with your audience.
Brand touchpoints are anywhere your business connects with its audience, potential clients, and current/past clients. Map out your customer’s journey from the first place they will encounter your brand (social media, storefront, ads, etc.) to the very last communication piece (and to hopefully becoming a repeat client or referring your business). There may be multiple avenues your customer takes in the journey of discovering and working with your business, map all of these out. Outline which touchpoints they will encounter throughout the journey. Look at your business cards, social media, email communication, client portal, website, etc. Does it align visually with your brand visuals and messaging? Identify the touchpoints you can align with your brand.
Understanding how your customers feel about working with your business is an important part of elevating your brand experience, collecting testimonials, and improving your business operations. Take the time to listen to what you past customers have to say. Analyze reviews, gather testimonials, and conduct surveys to learn about their experience… You know what happens when you assume you know what they would sway, right?
The next part of the brand audit is a competitor analysis. Identify key competitors and analyze their branding strategies. I like to select direct competitors and ideal competitors to understand what everyone around you is doing, and what they businesses you look up to are doing. By looking at an ideal business, you can see what you are doing well and what you can do better to create a better brand experience. Do not obsess over your competition, focus on your brand and your business primarily. And whatever you do, do not copy what your competitor does. Do not copy their website layout or copy, don’t steal their social media posts. Take inspiration from how often they post, how they address their audience, what they do well and implement strategies into your business. We aren’t in the business of becoming someone else’s brand.
A SWOT analysis is assessing every aspect of your brand. SWOT Stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Align your findings with your brand strategy, see where you need to make improvements, where you thrive, and where your brand has the biggest opportunities.
Using your brand audit, create a strategic action plan. Prioritize areas for improvement, set a timeline for implementing changes, and allocate resources accordingly. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your brand improvements. Regularly review and adapt your brand strategy to stay in sync with market changes.
Yay! You have all you need to conduct your first brand audit. Don’t forget, a brand is not static, it grows and evolves over time. Take the time to regular assessments ensure your brand remains relevant and resonates with your target audience.
Cheers! And if you have any questions about conducting brand audits, send a DM! I’d love to chat with you about your brand journey!
Check out our Strategic Branding and Web Design Services
From developing strategy and brand assets to implementation education, we provide the tools and knowledge for businesses to confidently implement their branding and create an elevated experience for their audience. You know your vision, we bring it to life.