Branding is critical to the success of any business. It represents the unique qualities that set you apart from the competition, influences consumer perceptions and helps to guide/motivate your staff. Developing a brand is only the first step. Evaluating its effectiveness periodically is critical to maintaining a loyal customer base. A brand audit helps to gauge which elements are helping or hurting your business.
Here are some questions a brand audit should answer:
What do we stand for?
What is our mission?
How are we unique?
What is the greatest value we provide?
What are our greatest strengths/weaknesses?
What need or desire do we fulfill?
Are other businesses doing a better job than us in some regards?
The most compelling benefit your business offers that is different or better than your competitors is the foundation of a strong brand. A market survey can help determine customers’ needs/desires and identify gaps in existing products or services. From there, determine which key feature or benefit your business offers that most closely links to the customers’ needs/desires better than your competitors. Watch this video to learn how some leading Michigan based businesses showcased their primary differentiator and build their brand.
Strategic messaging relays how your products and services solve a consumer problem. Testimonials are a powerful complement because they increase consumer confidence by demonstrating that you deliver on your promises. Developing buyer personas of your ideal target customers enables you to better grasp the psychology behind their purchase decisions. This can drive content creation, product development and the entire customer experience.
Your name and tagline
Your logo, signature graphics and company colors
How you present and market your products or services
Your overall voice and tone of messaging (funny, sincere, expert, etc.)
The audit determines whether the accuracy and effectiveness of this identity can be improved without causing customer confusion. Armed with all of the information, your options from a branding perspective boil down to three:
- Maintain the status quo
- Overhaul your identity and content
- Refresh your identity and content to more closely align with your brand