Performing a Brand Audit
Taking stock of your brand and reviewing all aspects of it can ensure there are no points of weakness and that strengths can be built upon. A brand audit consists of a number of steps which we’ll briefly explain.
How is your brand structured? What are the various products and services which fall under the brand? What are the subcategories of the brand? Is the brand structure easy for your customers to understand? Ensure your brand hierarchy isn’t overly complex and convoluted, as this will most likely overwhelm and confuse your customers.
Your logo, your tagline and all associated brand elements. Do they communicate clearly to your customer? For example, why have you chosen the colours you have to be associated with your brand? Every brand related decision must have a reasoning behind it, as these seemingly simple elements speak volumes to your customers.
For example, IKEA has a relatively simple blue and yellow logo (which are colours that are based off the Swedish flag). By having the Swedish flag intertwined within the logo, traditional Swedish food on offer at the bistro, Swedish books on the store bookshelves and Swedish names given to their products, this helps IKEA leverage its country of origin associations. People associate Sweden with innovation, openness, kindness and authenticity, which are core values intertwined within the brand of IKEA.
Do your offerings match the ethos of the brand? Are the product offerings structured under each of the relevant brand segments? Aligning the products with company values avoids incongruity within the brand and communicates clearly to customers.
Does the pricing of your product offerings match what you’re saying about your brand? If you’re a prestigious brand but your prices are significantly lower than competitors within the same industry, your pricing doesn’t communicate to your customers that your brand is prestigious or exclusive. Similarly, if you’re positioned as a brand with high availability and accessibility, but your prices aren’t affordable for the average individual, you’re doing something wrong.
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Mix
IMC is essentially ensuring that all channels of communication are consistent. When you’re marketing to potential customers, ensure your emails, website, social media and so on all employ the same brand personality and tone. If your communications don’t have the same “feel” customers will notice, and it creates discomfort within their minds. We are creatures of habit and we crave familiarity. Brands become familiar to customers and if they feel inconsistency from your communications, they are likely to react negatively.
Customer Perception Assessment
Making sure you’re sending consistent messages about your brand is one thing, but how your customers and potential customers perceive your messages is another ball game entirely. What do your customers actually think about your brand? Maybe you’re communicating to them that you’re a simple brand with very straightforward products, but they perceive otherwise. If they have certain negative associations with the brand, you need to change these. If they have positive associations with your brand, that aren’t currently within your current ethos or communications efforts, it might be worth leveraging these existing associations within future communications.
Points-of-Parity & Points-of-Difference
Your points-of-parity are essentially how you meet the benchmarks of your industry. For example, if you operate within the fashion industry, an online store with customer support is an essential industry benchmark that you’d expect to have yourself, as all competitors would have this. Ensure your company operates similarly to competitors in all essential points-of-parity aspects.
Your points-of-difference is how you differentiate your company when compared to competitors. It is essential that your offerings are unique otherwise potential customers won’t choose your company over competitors.
Brand audits are no small feat and sometimes need an unbiased external opinion. Get in touch with us to see how we can help ensure your brand is up to scratch.