All You Need To Know About Brand Audits
Find out what’s working, and what’s not, for your brand.
Conduct a brand audit, and you’ll be glad you did. Don’t skip this crucial step before you begin to rethink your brand.
What is a Brand Audit?
A brand audit is a review and diagnosis that helps you understand where your brand is at in comparison to where you set out to be.
The Brand Audit process helps (and makes) you think about your company on a deeper level.
It also helps you engage more productively with a marketing or design agency, which provides an opportunity for a deeper level of engagement.
A brand audit helps you identify: Where you ARE vs. Where you NEED to be.
When Should I Conduct a Brand Audit?
The moment you have the urge to rebrand. Companies often feel the need to rebrand when a change occurs.
While it may be time to rebrand, it may make more sense to revisit your value proposition, core values, mission, and brand messaging.
The Power of Branding, and What it Means
A strong brand builds awareness, creates loyalty and trust, inspires employees and creates a “buy-in culture.”
Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
Your brand is also a group of assets that represent your visual identity (such as color palette, font, logo, and style), and the words used to describe your mission and mission (characteristics, differentiators and writing style).
The better a job a company does at mirroring its target customers in the identity of their brand, the higher the chances are that they will attract consumers who share similar beliefs, values, and interests.
If not, you may be missing out on a deeper level of connectivity that becomes possible when your awareness increases.
Knowledge is power – the more you know about a brand, the better you can analyze and tend to your own.
Understanding why your customers connect with your brand is essential to creating a brand that builds trust and affinity.
Brands & Trust
When someone says that he or she like or dislike a brand, what he or she might mean is that he or she like or dislike how the brand makes them feel.
For some, to think that you might have an actual emotional relationship with a company (also known as affinity) is startling.
But think about it. When you need a new pair of jeans, do you start by looking at stores you’ve never shopped at before or do you go to the store you know and trust?
Odds are you go to the store that reliably provides quality fitting jeans.
Trust is built between brands and consumers through consistency, via engagement and quality content.
Trust is what a brand builds with consumers when it communicates a consistent message through advertising, reliably provides quality products, and appropriately manages customer expectations.
If your brand perception doesn’t accurately reflect your company’s purpose, then you won’t be able to attract your ideal customers.
How to Conduct a Brand Audit
The level of complexity of a Brand Audit is based on the size and makeup of your business. The smaller the company, the easier it will be to collect all necessary documentation.
For large companies, you may want to consider hiring an agency like Pistil Brands to help you identify and collect various documentation.
You may try to follow a generic Brand Audit Template if you’re up for it, but do not expect extraordinary results.
Here’s a checklist to help you collect the right items.
The goal is not to collect every single piece of paper that your company produces, but rather crucial brand-related items.
If you have documented brand guidelines, you are off to a great start as most of what you need is recorded in there.
Follow these Brand Audit Steps and you’ll be well on your way to learning more about your brand.
Brand Audit Framework Checklist
- Brand Values
- Unique Selling Proposition, Brand Promise
- Brand Voice
- Brand Identity
- Corporate Identity–logos and other brand elements
- Collateral (printed collateral, stationery, brochures, trade show materials)
- Social media
- Sponsorships & Memberships
- Content marketing and other assets (blogs, white papers, case studies, articles, books)
- Corporate identity/brand standards
- HR policies/on-boarding process
- Sales process
- Client touch points
- Internal systems
- Customer service systems
In-House Vs. Outsourcing the Brand Audit
There are distinct advantages to tasking a current employee (or doing it yourself) by conducting the Brand Audit of your business or outsourcing it to an experienced company.
Just because you can conduct your Brand Audit in-house doesn’t mean that you should.
We strongly advise bringing in an outside, objective team to lead you through the Brand Audit process.
You can help prepare for the initial Brand Audit meeting by gathering all of the information we’ve listed in the above checklist.
Collecting data in advance of your initial meeting is helpful for both parties, but especially your business because you will be prepared to answer questions and get feedback on elements that are of immediate concern.
Having as transparent as possible understanding of your goals will make the process that much smoother.
The Benefit of a Brand Audit
There are many benefits to conducting a Brand Audit. The key benefit is discovering if your brand is where you hoped it’d be.
A Brand Audit will tell you if you are heading down the right path and determine precisely where you are going wrong, and how to adjust course accordingly.
How a Brand Audit Works
When we conduct a Brand Audit at Pistil Brands, we usually hold them over the course of several meetings (either at your business, our office or via video conferencing).
The End Result
The result is usually a PDF document outlining our findings and recommendations for next steps.
We expect our clients to be as open as they can be with us, without revealing any sensitive information they’re uncomfortable about sharing (although we do encourage people to share as much as they can!).
The more we can get to know about your business, the better and more effective our Brand Audit will be.
A Brand Audit is a continuous exercise, conducted on a regular basis.
At a minimum, we recommend a quarterly audit of your website to ensure that its health remains in check.
If you want to utilize the power of branding, don’t skip the Brand Audit process.
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