Your brand acts as a summary of your business that represents: who you are, what you do, and why people should consider working with you. So, what do you do if you feel that your brand is no longer representing your business? Well, a good place to start is to complete a brand audit.
Brand Audit – the process of taking an unbiased look at your brand to determine its current state and evaluate how it aligns with the current state of your business
A brand audit allows you to take an unbiased look at your brand to determine its current state and evaluate how it aligns with the current state of your business. Brand audits are suitable for any type of business and can be useful to you, no matter if you’re just starting out or are a business veteran. They can help you identify your strengths, weakness, and opportunities for growth, as well as help you identify whether your brand is still aligned with your purpose.
The Formula For A Good Brand Audit
Contrary to popular belief, brand audits don’t have to be long and drawn out, or take along time. An effective brand audit can be completed in a weekend as long as you are focusing on the areas that will give you the most complete summary of yourbrand. When completing a brand audit be sure to take the following steps:
- Evaluate Your Purpose – Often times as businesses grow, they get off track from their purpose, the driving philosophy behind their business. That’s why the first step of your brand audit should be to determine whether or not your brand is still on track with your purpose. If it’s not, that’s ok. Your next step will just need to be to determine whether your brand needs to change, or your purpose needs to change.
- Evaluate Your Goals – As you’ve probably figured out by now, you can’t just set goals and walk away when you own a business. You have to track them. During your brand audit be sure to evaluate how your brand has affected your goals. Has it helped you reach your goals? Has it been a burden or stood in the way of reaching your goals? The next step, just like your purpose determine whether your goals are the issue or your brand is the issue.
- Evaluate Your Values – Every business has a set of guiding principles, or values, that it believes in. When completing your brand audit be sure to evaluate whether your brand is truly embodying the values you have set in place. Nothing is worse than having a set of values that you say you believe in, that you no longer follow.
- Evaluate Your Audience – As you look back over the growth of your business, you might notice that your customer base has changed or expanded; that’s ok. As long as you keep a clear understanding of who your customers are, you’ll have a better chance of ensuring that your brand is focusing on their needs, desires, and preferences,as well as where and how to connect with them.
- Evaluate Your Unique Selling Proposition – The final step of your brand audit is to ensure that you are clearly defining and explaining what you offer to your customers.This is often referred to as your unique selling proposition, or USP. Simply put, your USP is what separates you or makes you different from your competitors. When working on your brand audit, it’s important to ensure that your USP is still relevant to your brand, as well as still resonating with your customers.
Focusing on these areas in your brand audit will help you begin to build a clear summary of your current brand. It will also help you identify any important changes that need to be made to better align your business and your brand.
Getting Your Brand Back On Track
Once you’ve completed your brand audit and have gained a better understanding of where you are, you need to put a plan in place to help get your brand back on track. Keepin mind that just like your brand audit, this plan isn’t required to be long and drawn out. It can be taken care of in three stages:
- Reset – The first stage to getting your brand back on track is to reset. Once you complete your brand audit, take time to make note of changes you can make in each area you evaluated that can help better align your brand and your business. These changes don’t have to be big. Often times you’ll find that a series of small changes can be more effective to improving your brand, than one drastic big change.
- Refocus – Stage two to getting your brand back on track is to refocus. Now that you know the changes you want to make you need to organize them. This stage is where you’ll do the majority of your planning. What change should come first? When should you implement it? How long before you’ll implement change number two?How will you measure the success of each stage? Make sure you ask a ton of questions during this stage. The more thought you put into the planning portion,the better your results.
- Restart – The final stage to getting your brand back on track is to restart. This stage is where you’ll put your plan into motion and measure how its performing. It’s best to start this stage with an idea of when you plan to start evaluating yourplan. When entering this stage, we always recommend that you wait at least a few weeks before evaluating your plan.