Over recent months we have looked at how you can effectively live your brand across all of its touch points from your identity, to your website, to your brand culture. The key to this has been brand strategy. But coming to this stage of the year your main aim might be just to get to the end of year in one piece and to look to new beginnings for your brand in the New Year but now is the ideal time to carry out a brand audit to review your brand to make the most of future opportunities in 2018. A brand audit helps determine how healthy your brand is, what is working and what is not and helps identify if your current brand strategy has driven business growth. It is essential to examine your brand, review your objectives for the next 12 months and ensure you that your brand is on track to achieve these objectives. Follow these key points below and you will have a clear indication as to what you need to do with your brand to get on track for 2018.
Start by reviewing your objectives for 2017. Have your achieved the goals you set at the beginning of the year? How are you progressing with your medium and long term objectives? If you haven’t achieved those objectives, ask yourself why? Has there been developments within the brand which require your brand objectives to be revised? Analyse your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), have you been able to meet them all? What are your objectives and KPIs for 2018?
Values and Traits
Taking the values and traits your brand lives by, examine if they are evident from the way your brand carries out business and engages with others.
Are they truly aligned with your brand? Is your tone of voice evident across your brand from your social media to website to your marketing collateral to the way your team communicate?
Your Brand Identity
Having reviewed your objectives, values and traits- review your brand identity. Do you believe that it continues to truly reflect your brand? One key way of determining the health of your brand is to review your marketing collateral and the various channels you use to communicate your brand message. Review your social media platforms, websites, packaging, stationery and internal documents.
Is your identity and brand message being implemented in a consistent fashion across the brand? Is your collateral directed to your target audience? Is your brand consistent online and offline?
Competitor Analysis & Brand Positioning
What kind of year has 2017 been for your competitors? Carry out a competitor’s analysis, review their brand positioning. Review your brand’s positioning. Ask yourself is this the right position for your brand going forward into the New Year? Does it align with your target audience?
If at this point you have identified inconsistencies across your brand, review your brand guidelines. If you don’t have brand guidelines add this to your ‘To do’ list for 2018. Your brand guidelines provide you with detailed information on the do’s and don’ts of implementing your brand identity from how to use your logo, to your tone of voice and brand messaging. If your brand guidelines aren’t being implemented ask why. Ensure that your brand guidelines are available to all of your team members. If new staff have joined the team or if recruitment is taking place in 2018 ensure these brand guidelines are available to all and are part of induction training.
Finally your people are your brand. Do they understand your brand? Get them on board for the brand audit as they can provide additional insights. Are they living the brand in how they carry out their job on a daily basis? This should be evident in how they communicate with other team members and customers? Are they communicating your key messages and delivering the brand experience you want to offer?
Having completed the brand audit you will have a clear indication of the strategic direction you need to take in 2018. Document strengths and weakness of your brand. Note in particular any inconsistencies. Revise and update your brand strategy if required and set KPI’s for 2018. Reissue your brand guidelines to all team members to ensure they familiarise themselves again with the brand. Finally schedule some brand training for all of your team with the objective of achieving consistency across the brand.
What next? If the brand audit is too big a task to take on, bring in the experts – we are here to help. Armed with these new insights stay tuned to see what’s next for your brand!
Article by: Sandra Honan, The Pudding
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