How to Do a Brand Audit

Want to enter a new market or optimize your company's processes? Learn how to do a brand audit and transform your organization's culture and productivity.

POST UPDATED:

January 22, 2024

How to Do a Brand Audit

A brand audit can help a company:

  • Compare the brand’s strengths and weaknesses to competitors.
  • Find out how the target market perceives the brand.
  • Develop strategies for entering a new market.
  • Optimize operating expenses.
  • Improve overall marketing performance.

For over 20 years, our strategists have helped clients achieve sustainable growth with brand audits. In this post, you will learn how to do a brand audit. Our strategists have tested all the recommendations and strategies you will read about in this post in real-world scenarios.

Table of Contents

    What is a brand audit, and why is it important?

    A brand audit is a process used to evaluate a business’s market, competitive position, strengths, and weaknesses. Sometimes, it includes a review of a company’s marketing strategy. The purpose of a brand audit is to improve organizational efficiency, ensure consistency, and stay competitive in a changing market.

    What Is a Brand Audit? [And How to Know If You Need One]

    Want your brand to stand out? Analyze your brand's position in the marketplace with a comprehensive brand audit. Read this guide to learn more.

    Preparing to conduct your own brand audit: Create goals

    The first step in the brand audit process is to define its goals. To keep the lines of communication open, we recommend assigning a project leader. This person should have experience managing teams, timelines, and data.

    The project leader should meet with each team to find out what their most pressing issues are. Feedback from teams will guide the project leader as they develop the brand audit framework.

    Here are some questions you might use to conduct these discussions:

    What is the company's primary growth obstacle?

    What are the brand's strengths and weaknesses?

    How do competitors outperform us?

    Do customers see how we are unique? If not, how can we create differentiation?

    How does each department evaluate brand performance?

    Setting brand audit goals (Click to expand)

    Create key objectives

    What are your goals for the audit? Do you want to grow your market, develop customer loyalty, or create a new marketing plan?

    Questions like these help you set audit goals. Once you have defined objectives, it will be easier to decide which areas the audit should cover.

    Key performance indicators help you measure the brand audit results. So, having them in place is critical before you begin the audit.

    For example, you might measure:

    • Social media analytics include likes, shares, and comments on social media posts. These KPIs might help you assess brand awareness.
    • Website traffic refers to the number of visitors to your site. Website analytics reveal traffic sources and user behavior. Analytics can also help you measure online visibility and customer experience quality.
    • Brand value is the perceived worth of your brand in the minds of consumers. The amount of the premium customers will pay for your products is an indicator of your brand’s value. Sales data is helpful when measuring value.
    • Customer satisfaction scores can help you assess your brand’s reputation.
    How to create a KPI
    How to create a KPI

    How to do a brand audit: Internal and external branding

    There are two principal components in brand development: internal and external branding. Your audit should include a review of both.

    Internal branding

    Internal branding refers to how an organization sees itself. Companies create an internal brand by connecting the culture to the brand’s mission, values, and goals. When employees believe in what the brand stands for, they become ambassadors for it.

    The internal brand shapes how teams present the company to the public. It also has a dramatic effect on productivity and morale. A robust internal brand also attracts in-demand talent, but a weak one leads to high employee turnover.

    To audit the internal brand:

    • Use employee surveys to measure how they perceive your brand. To find out what they think, you can ask them questions like:
      • How would you explain the company’s brand promise?
      • What is the most significant value the company offers its customers?
      • Can you explain the company’s mission and vision?
      • How does your role impact the company’s future?
    • Internal communications reviews reveal how well teams and departments communicate with each other.
    • Interviews with department leaders can uncover the internal brand’s strengths and weaknesses.

    External branding

    The external brand is the public-facing side that reflects how customers, competitors, and the broader market perceive you.

    Here are some examples of external brand elements:

    • The logo
    • Website
    • Social media presence
    • Customer service
    • Advertising campaigns

    Building trust with the target audience is easier when the internal and external brands align.

    Internal vs. External Branding Examples
    Internal vs. External Branding Examples

    Brand positioning: Analyze strengths and weaknesses

    The goal of brand positioning is to:

    • Develop affinity with the target audience (via a positive brand reputation).
    • Create and sustain a competitive advantage (by developing differentiation).

    Given these goals, it’s logical that the core elements of a positioning strategy are:

    1. The target market: These are the people you want to reach and convert into paying customers. How they feel about your company will determine if they buy from you.

    2. Competition: Competitors affect your ability to perform. A brand must be unique, or it risks becoming a commodity.

    Here are some questions used to assess positioning:

    What sets you apart from your competitors?

    How can you prove that the value you offer is unique?

    Where does the price of your product or service fit in among competitors?

    Is your brand identity (i.e., logo, tagline) distinct? Is it easy for customers to distinguish?

    Are you targeting the potential customers who best align with the brand’s value?

    How to Position a Brand

    You need a strong brand positioning strategy to stand out in a crowded market. Learn how to position a brand and make a lasting impression on customers.

    Brand reputation

    The concept is simple: A positive reputation attracts customers, and a negative one pushes them away.

    Customer sentiment analysis is the best way to gauge reputation. To do that, you can check:

    • Social media: Are comments positive or negative? Does the company respond promptly and professionally to complaints?
    • Search engines: Search online for news articles, blog posts, and related content. Do these paint a positive or negative picture of the business?
    • Review sites: You can read your reviews on platforms like Yelp or Trustpilot. Is the average rating higher than 4.5 stars? Customer feedback is critical to a company's reputation.

    Keep in mind that reputation is a primary influencer of brand equity.

    Brand transparency is important to the target audience.
    Consumers say transparent communication has become more important

    How to do a brand audit to assess target market profitability

    Organizations must target the most profitable customers to achieve sustainable growth. Otherwise, customer acquisition costs will be too high, and engagement will be low.

    Part of your brand audit should include a profitability analysis of each target customer segment to determine whether you are currently targeting the best audience. If not, it may be time to adjust your buyer personas.

    To evaluate profitability, review each segment’s:

    • Desire or need for your product (the stronger, the better)
    • Factors that influence consumers’ decisions to buy (i.e., cost-consciousness, desire for status)
    • Ability to pay (i.e., can they afford your product?)

    A segment that generates high revenue is not always the most profitable if the cost to get them is also high. Revenue-based metrics, like the ones listed below, can help you analyze profit potential:

    • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
    • Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)
    • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
    SWOT Analysis

    How to do a brand audit competition analysis

    Competition affects everything an organization does. So, it pays to know your company’s strengths and weaknesses compared to competitors. In this phase, you will review your top competitors and use the insights to make adjustments to your growth strategy.

    Competitors have offers like yours and target the same customers. As a result, they influence your product development, sales processes, and marketing strategy.
    Choose three to five competitors for analysis. Fewer than three may not give you enough information, and over five can make this step overly complicated.

    To explore your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses:

    • Look at their visual identities: This includes the logo, tagline, colors, value proposition, and brand messaging. Assess each one for their uniqueness and individuality.
    • Evaluate their offers: Note their product features, pricing, and benefit claims. This information helps you understand how they position themselves and who they target.
    • Study their marketing strategies: Look at everything they use for promotion to understand how they connect with audiences. Examples are websites, advertising campaigns, content marketing, social media profiles, and other marketing channels.
    • Assess their online reputations: Read reviews, customer ratings, and social media comments. You will learn how their customers feel about them, what they like, and what they don’t.

    Competitor analysis is invaluable. Some of the best insights and strategies we have used to help our clients came from studying competitors.

    4 Types of Pricing Strategies (Click to expand)

    The customer experience: From awareness to advocacy

    The customer experience (CX) refers to the public’s interactions with a business. CX begins with awareness and really never ends. It covers everything from sales presentations to buying a product to getting help from customer service.

    For example, consider a customer who purchases a product from your online store. This person would have to use your website to learn about products and buy them using the checkout page. Once they purchase, they should receive the product on time and as promised. At some point, they may have to contact customer support to get help. All these interactions work together to build a relationship with the customer.

    Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a popular measure of customer experience. NPS gauges customer loyalty by asking them how likely they are to recommend a company to others. The score is usually based on a scale of one (worst) to ten (excellent).

    It’s also a good idea to review customer service policies to make sure they align with your marketing and sales processes. Consistency is a key factor in delivering a positive customer experience. Approximately 73 percent of customers stated they would switch to a competitor after one unpleasant experience.

    Brand experience vs. customer experience
    IMAGE: The impact of a positive or negative customer experience

    The marketing audit

    Marketing can consume a significant part of a company’s budget. For this reason, we recommend a comprehensive review of marketing as part of an audit.

    Marketing assets

    Many customers will refer to your marketing collateral to learn more about your product or service. Consistency is crucial for every asset to be effective. Otherwise, you may end up confusing potential buyers.

    Examples of marketing assets are:

    Brand style guide

    Email campaigns

    Brochures

    Blog posts

    Videos

    Websites

    Social media channels

    Paid advertising campaigns

    Business cards

    When conducting a brand audit, check your marketing materials for conflicting messages, design flaws, and overall quality. This includes online and offline marketing assets.

    Here are some other factors to consider:

    • Content quality: Is the copy engaging, informative, and persuasive? Is it full of industry jargon that may confuse people? Does it help establish your authority?
    • Audience relevance: Does the content address customer needs and pain points?
    • Calls to action (CTA): Are they compelling enough to encourage people to take action? Would the CTA get your attention?
    • Conversion rate: Are marketing campaigns converting potential customers into actual buyers? Can you do anything to increase the conversion rate?

    Interpreting the data

    After finishing the audit and gathering the data, it’s time to create an action plan.
    Data interpretation is an art and a science. The auditor needs to pay attention to detail, recognize patterns, and understand brand cohesion.

    Here are some tips for interpreting audit data:

    Spot trends: Look for recurring themes or patterns in your data. For instance, customer reviews praise one of your product’s features but criticize its interface.

    Identify anomalies: Watch for data points that deviate from the norm. These could signal potential problems or opportunities. If you see a sudden increase in website visitors after a marketing campaign, test it again.

    Correlate data: Look for relationships between unique sets of data. Perhaps regions with higher advertising spend have greater awareness and sales. This correlation could support the recommendation to increase the marketing budget.

    Benchmarking against competitors: Compare your data with industry standards or competitor performance. For example, if your competitors have better social media engagement, it may be time to change your strategy.

    The brand audit report

    The final report includes all the details from the audit and summarizes the findings. It also provides actionable recommendations to help leadership develop an improvement plan.

    Like chapters in a book, each section of the final report should support and flow into the next.

    Sample brand audit report
    Sample brand audit report

    Do you need help with a brand audit project?

    Good luck with your audit project. If you need help, click the button below to connect with an auditor.

    Chris Fulmer

    Chris Fulmer

    Brand Strategist | Managing Director

    Chris has over 15 years of experience in brand development and marketing. He has designed strategies across various industries, such as technology, B2B services, and healthcare. His areas of expertise include brand positioning, competitive analysis, content marketing, and web development.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Have other questions? Click here to get in touch with us.

    Are you ready to find out how a brand audit can transform your business?

    Our brand audit process is a comprehensive analysis designed to help companies optimize performance.

    • Increase ROI on lead generation and sales conversions.
    • Reduce marketing expenses.
    • Strengthen brand positioning to become more competitive.

    We guarantee satisfaction or get your money back! Schedule a discovery call with a brand auditor to find out more.

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