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How to conduct a brand audit

How to conduct a brand audit

Tough love! Your brand isn’t perfect. Your logo's looking tired, no? Losing sales to competitors? What happened to all your social media followers? Ooh, why is there a huge spike in website traffic? My answer to these questions is... “you need to do a brand audit”. What's that? What will it achieve?

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Performing a brand audit will show you how successful your brand is in your market. It’ll provide insights into aspects that need improving. I’m going to explain why an audit is crucial to the success of your business, and the 8 steps to conduct your brand audit.

Brand audit guide

What’s a brand audit?

How's your brand performing? In your market? Compared to your competitors?

A brand audit is a deep dive into your business’ current position in the marketplace. Inconsistencies in your brand identity, tone of voice. Gaps in your marketing strategy, such as countries you should be targeting, social channels your audience are using, where you don’t have a presence. Your strengths and weaknesses.

A brand audit is an analytical study of the numerous aspects that make up your brand. For example…

Internal branding

  • Brand values, mission, USP
  • Product and/or service
  • Brand positioning
  • Marketing strategy and goals
  • Company culture
  • Ideal consumers
  • Brand attributes and voice
  • Competitor analysis

External branding

  • Brand logo
  • Corporate identity
  • Visual assets
  • Events
  • Website and blog
  • Print and paid advertising
  • Sponsorships
  • Marketing material
  • PR
  • Social media
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Brand messaging and tone of voice
  • SEO - search engine optimization

Customer experience

  • Sales process,
  • Customer support
  • HR policies
  • User experience

Yes, a brand audit will be different depending on the company, industry, and what the intention is. But, at the very minimum, it should…

  • Show how successful/unsuccessful your brand is
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Ensure your business strategy targets customer needs
  • Identify your brand’s market presence compared to your competitors

Why is a brand audit important?

Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken.

You need a brand audit process if you want to change any aspect of your business. From redesigning your email template to changing your logo. Whether it’s a tweak or a complete overhaul, it’s important that you understand what’s working and what isn’t. Why it’s working or not. Otherwise, you’re taking a stab in the dark and could cause more harm than good.

When to do a brand audit

Reasons to consider conducting a brand audit include…

  • You’re changing your business focus
  • Branding is not consistent across your company
  • Your marketing campaigns aren’t bringing results
  • Traffic to your website is low
  • Sales are dropping
  • Brand awareness has reduced
  • Email open rate has dropped
  • Customer loyalty is weak

But, don’t think the audit process is only for when things are looking bad. There are positive reasons to perform a brand audit...

  • You’re launching a new range of products
  • Your startup has outgrown your brand strategy
  • Your business has outgrown your website
  • You’re looking to open global offices
  • With success, comes competitor analysis

Key benefits of a brand audit

Rose-tinted spectacles will be your brand’s downfall...

Doing a brand audit will show you how your company is performing. It’s too easy to sit back and chill, assuming that everything is working well. When in reality, things are starting to go wrong.

Highlight inconsistencies in your marketing strategy. Pain points that could damage your sales, website traffic, conversion rate, email open rate, and more.

Is your branding out of date? Launched eight years ago, your startup identity was spot on. Today it looks tired, targeting is off, and it's limiting your growth.

Your brand isn’t perfect. Deal with it.

Flip the coin, and complacency can be a killer.

Your brand riding on a wave of success, does not mean it’s time to put your feet up.

It’s the best time to complete a brand audit. Identify what’s working, and understand why. Take a look at what your competitors are doing. Are they launching new products. Targeting new countries? Don’t get left behind.

8 steps to perform your brand audit

  1. What's the goal of your brand audit?
  2. Where does your brand currently stand?
  3. Talk to your customers
  4. Audit your website
  5. Social media data review
  6. Review sales results
  7. Conduct competitor analysis
  8. Action plan and monitoring

1 What’s the goal of your brand audit?

Remember earlier, potential reasons for doing a brand audit?

  • You’re changing your business focus
  • Branding is inconsistent
  • Failing marketing campaigns
  • Website site traffic has dropped
  • You’re not getting sales
  • Losing social media engagement
  • Emails aren’t converting
  • Etc.

What’s not working? The answer to that question, will be the focus of your brand audit. And yes, it could be everything.

Yikes!

2 Where does your brand currently stand?

This is where you need to evaluate the status of your brand as it stands today. How much you analyze, will depend on the scope of your brand audit. It’s data that’s readily available to you. Initially look at…

  • Mission statement and values
  • Marketing strategy
  • Unique selling points - USPs
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Market positioning in your industry
  • Company branding
  • Target market and competitive edge
  • Website purpose and usage
  • Competitors

Drilling down - again, it depends on the scope of your audit - questions to ask include...

Website

  • Is it easy to navigate?
  • Are there loading issues?
  • Is it mobile responsive?
  • Does it convert?
  • Does it rank highly in search engines?
  • Is branding and tone of voice consistent

Branding

  • Does our logo represent our company?
  • Is our language/branding consistent across all teams?

Content

  • What’s the open and click rate of our emails?
  • Are we placing paid ads on the best channels?
  • Is our messaging resonating with consumers
  • Are we using the right tone of voice/language?
  • Do we have a presence on the right social media channels?
  • Does our visual branding represent our messaging?

Customers/competitors/team

  • What do consumers think of our brand?
  • What do consumers think of our competitors?
  • What do employees think of our brand?
  • Are consumers/influencers recommending our products?
  • Are employees happy to recommend our products?

Conduct a SWOT analysis for your brand. It’s a method that’ll help you find the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats surrounding your brand.

SWOT analysis as part of your brand audit

SWOT analysis as part of your brand audit.

SWOT examples

  • Strengths - quality of your marketing material, competitive pricing, level of customer support
  • Weaknesses - shipping costs, new product design flaw
  • Threats - strong competition, government policies and regulations
  • Opportunities - market expansion, new stakeholders

3 Talk to your customers

Surveys, polls, feedback forms, review sites, Net Promoter Score - NPS, are great ways to get inside your customers’ heads. Find out what they think of your product quality, pricing, delivery process, website, social media channels, customer support, etc.

Customers can make or break your brand. If they’re happy, you’ve got the best brand advocates. Unhappy, and you’ve got a big problem to solve.

You need to find out what they think about your brand. What they’re saying about your brand. What influences their buying decisions.

This process can take time. It depends on how much data you’re collecting, and response time. But, it’s important you don’t start making changes until you’ve gone through all the data.

Surveys & polls

Online surveys are a great way to collect customer feedback. Ask open questions, rather than those that can be answered yes/no, for more detailed responses.

What do they think of your brand? Why did they buy your product, rather than competitors? Do they find your website easy to navigate?

Get the idea?

Survey tools such as SurveyMonkey are super-easy to use. If you’d like more tool suggestions, check out Christine’s Best Survey Tools post.

SurveyMonkey | Survey tool

SurveyMonkey includes online polls, Facebook surveys, team satisfaction surveys. There are questionnaire examples, free survey templates, and pre-written survey questions.

Features include...

  • The free plan includes unlimited surveys, max 10 questions per survey. Viewing of the first 40 responses. The paid plan comes with unlimited surveys and questions, tracking of email responses, pop up online surveys, and recurring surveys.

  • Multiple languages, video, and image questions, rating and ranking questions, A/B test questions.

  • Team collaboration includes shared themes, templates, and library. Customization options and white labeling.

  • Real-time analysis and reports can be visualized in a dashboard, or exported in several formats.

SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey survey tool for brand audit.

Polls

Limited compared to surveys, polls are quick to create, and respond to. You’ll get good feedback, but because the number of questions is limited, you’ll need several polls.

You can create polls on social media, and embed on your website and in blog posts.

Pay close attention to the language and words used by customers in your surveys and polls. If these are the words they’re using, you should be including in your marketing content.

Listen to people. Talk their language.

Net Promoter Score - NPS

“81% of businesses who track their Net Promoter Score - NPS - describe themselves as very or extremely successful.”

Net Promoter Score measures customers’ satisfaction with a brand. It’s a loyalty metric. To determine an NPS score, a single question is asked…

“How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?”

The NPS opinion scoring system is on a scale of 0-10 with 0 being very unlikely and 10 being extremely likely. Customers are then categorized based on their score.

--- promoters - detractors ÷ respondents x 100 = NPS ---

  • Detractors score 0-6
  • Passives score 7-8
  • Promoters 9-10

Net Promoter Score - demonstrating customer loyalty for brand audit

You can find out more about NPS in Dan’s Net Promoter Score Guide.

Sentiment analysis

You can ask as many questions as you like, but to understand the emotion behind consumers’ mentions, you need to do sentiment analysis.

Sentiment analysis in your brand audit strategy will identify the positive, negative, and neutral comments.

I’ve got a list of sentiment analysis tools that’ll help you out, but today, let’s concentrate on one.

Sentiment analysis | Opinion mining tool

Talkwalker sentiment analysis - brand audit tool - Coke vs Pepsi vs Dr Pepper

Talkwalker AI-powered sentiment analysis of three leading fizzy pop brands.

Sentiment analysis will analyze the emotion behind consumer conversations on social media, news sites, blogs, forums, and more.

Talkwalker’s sentiment analysis will find and identify consumer sentiment with up to an average of 90% accuracy. It understands attitude and contextual reactions in tweets, comments, blog posts. And get this, it understands sarcasm, irony, and slang.

Amazeballs!

4 Audit your website

I’m assuming that you already run website analytics on a regular basis. It’s the most efficient way to see how your content is performing. How your audience is reacting to your website. The countries interacting with your content. Whether your website is working.

Your website might be pretty, but if it’s not converting, it’s failed. Google Analytics is a free tool that’ll provide historic and real-time data. It’s a must for your brand audit.

Google Analytics | Website monitoring tool

Google Analytics to track conversions

Google Analytics - analyze data for your website brand audit.

Traffic analysis

Clue’s in the name.

Are you getting visitor traffic to your website? How much? Where’s it coming from? A spike in traffic to your website from a country you’re not targeting is good and bad. Great, it’s highlighting a new market. Bad, because… why aren’t you targeting it?

If traffic is low, you have to understand why. Are there navigational issues? Slow loading? Check out your marketing content. Is it too hardsell? Too technical for consumers to understand? Or, just plain boring?

You can also use Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from. Social media, direct via a search engine, paid campaign, email. This will help you understand the content that’s working. You can then tweak and improve, delete, or replicate.

Bounce rate

Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that land on your website, then bounce away. If it’s too high, you’ve a problem. Your content isn’t working, it’s unclear or the message doesn’t match the H1 title. Or there are technical issues like broken links, slow loading, etc.

Conversion rate - CVR

How many times was the form on your landing page completed? How many downloads of your latest customer case study?

Conversion rate is a metric that shows if you’re reaching your goals. A low conversion rate indicates that you need to make changes.

Pageviews

If you know which pages are being viewed, and which are being ignored, you’ll know the campaigns and content that are working. This website analytics metric will help you when it comes to updating your marketing strategy.

5 Social media data review

There’s a whole heap of valuable insights on consumers on social media. Your social media audit will identify your likes, shares, retweets, pins, referrals, and more. You’ll also learn about your audience - age, gender, interests, sentiment.

How’s your social media marketing performing? Are your paid social ads bringing results? What types of consumers are engaging with your brand? Are they part of your target audience? What comments are they posting about your brand and products?

Quick heads up. Take a look at our Social Media Advertising Guide, which explains all you need to know about creating and monitoring your ads, along with Talkwalker's Paid Social feature.

While social media channels have inbuilt analytics tools, a dedicated social media analytics tool will pull more data. Check out my Top 57 Social Media Analytics Tools guide.

Yep. 57.

Talkwalker Analytics | Social media analytics tool

Your social media channels are stuffed with conversations about your brand. Not all are good. But, all are valuable.

Take a quick look at my Conversation Analysis Tools & Guide, for more tips.

The Talkwalker platform is a suite of tools and features that’ll enable you to perform a comprehensive analysis of the data surrounding your campaigns. Features include predictive alerts, AI-powered sentiment analysis, image and video analytics.

  • Monitor your brand mentions
  • Track brand-specific or targeted keywords
  • Analyze your audience demographics

Quick Search | Social media search engine

Quick Search from Talkwalker for brand audit

Talkwalker Quick Search - brand audit tool.

Quick Search analyzes billions of conversations. Listening to consumers, finding content ideas and influencers, and recognizing trends. You can track keywords on social media, blogs, forums, and online news sites.

Use Quick Search to find key brand stats, including…

  • Engagement
  • Volume
  • Sentiment
  • Demographics
  • Location

6 Review sales results

Again, something that your business is doing already. The insights you pull, should be included in your brand audit as they’ll reveal customer buying behavior, industry trends, etc.

Have your sales dropped? Identify why. Is it down to your competitors launching new products? Are you pricing too high? Did you fail to deliver on your brand promise? Did you get hit by a PR crisis that’s caused lasting damage?

A crisis doesn’t have to mean the end. Take a look at my PR Crisis Management Guide and be prepared.

7 Conduct competitor analysis

Competitive analysis is an in-depth study of your industry and its members - strengths and weaknesses.

This vital process will identify opportunities for improvements within your marketing campaigns - targeting, SEO, content, leads, conversions, revenue, etc.

Talkwalker Analytics - brand audit tool for competitor analysis

Brand audit - competitor analysis - market impact demonstrating strategy across networks. (simulated Talkwalker report).

I’m not going to go too deep into how to do it, because my Competitor Analysis Guide covers in great detail, all that you need to know.

In a nutshell…

Competitor analysis as part of your brand audit will...

  • Help improve your marketing strategies
  • Identify opportunities in your market that you’re missing
  • Enable you to take advantage of your competitors weaknesses to increase market share
  • Help you make data-driven decisions and increase your competitive advantage

First up…

Identify how your competitors talk to consumers. Messaging, tone of voice, language they use. Check out their websites, and what it offers. Look at their marketing material, paid ads, and social media channels. If you find things that you’re not doing so well, or not doing at all, copy and do it better.

Shhh, don’t tell anyone I said that.

Monitor your competitors’ SEO strategies. The keywords they’re targeting and ranking for. You’ll need a tool for this, like Ahrefs.

Ahrefs | SEO tool

Ahrefs competitors rank

Competitor analytics tool for brand audit.

Features include:

  • Backlink data audit
  • Monitor your competitors' links
  • Validate keywords and analyze competitors
  • Keyword research
  • Track individual keywords
  • Track organic visibility
  • Set up alerts for keywords

Ahrefs gives you SEO-driven data on your brand and your competitors. You’ll be able to research organic traffic, keywords, and how you rank against them.

8 Action plan and monitoring

Brand audit. Done!

Hopefully, you’ve got a list of action points or ideas on how to improve aspects of your business. Whether it’s branding, marketing strategy, email campaigns, social media strategy, etc.

  • Start by separating into quick wins and long-term wins. For instance, your audit has revealed that consumers are avoiding your forms because you’re asking for too much information. Quick win? Shorten them.

  • Long-term wins, those that will take time and maybe multiple teams, can be scheduled for later implementation. Such as, your brand audit results suggest that your website content is confusing and putting potential customers off. Obviously, this is a bigger project.

Monitor your changes

Begin monitoring, as soon as you start putting your changes in place. Depending on the changes, monitor brand awareness, customer feedback, social media engagement, conversion rate, email open rate and click through, sales, changes in ROI.

Review results so you can see if the improvements are working.

  • Ask consumers - makes sense to go back to source. If they raised issues with certain aspects of your brand, ask if you’ve met their requirements.

  • A/B test - it’s crucial to A/B test all your changes, so you can monitor changes. But also, so you can revert, if results are bad.

Takeaway

Begin your brand audit today and find the roadblocks you need to overcome in order to grow.

It can be hard to remember everything that you need to track in your brand audit. I’ve got something that’s going to help you.

Our interactive Content Audit Checklist will allow you to prioritize the channels and metrics you should be looking at.

CTA - Download free content audit checklist