Written by Chipo Mapungwana
A brand audit is a thorough examination of a brand’s current position in an industry compared to its competitors and the examination of its effectiveness.
Before deciding to conducting a brand audit, ask yourself these questions
- How well is your business’ current brand strategy is working?
- What are your company’s established resource strengths and weaknesses?
- What are your external opportunities and threats?
- How competitive are your prices and costs?
- How strong is your business’ competitive position in comparison to its competitors?
- What strategic issues are facing your business?
The main goals of a Brand audit are:
- To uncover your business’ resource strengths, deficiencies, best market opportunities, outside threats, future profitability, and competitive standing in comparison to existing competitors.
- To establishes the strategic elements needed to improve brand position and competitive capabilities within the industry.
- To examines whether your business’ share of the market is increasing, decreasing, or stable.
- To determine if your company’s margin of profit is improving, decreasing, and how much it is in comparison to the profit margin of established competitors.
- To investigate trends in your business’ net profits, the return on existing investments, and your established economic value.
- To determine whether or not your business’ entire financial strength and credit rating is improving or getting worse.
- To assess your business’ image and reputation with its customers.
- To determine whether or not your business is perceived as an industry leader in technology, offering product or service innovations, customer service, among other relevant issues that customers use to decide on a brand of preference.
Elements of a Brand Audit
Step One: Brand Audit Strategy
- Sales force or sales channel
- Current customers
- Prospective customers
- Past customers
- Trade press
- Consumer press
- Business press
- Industry and financial analysts
- Shareholders and investors
- Business and community leaders
- Influencers and government regulators
The brand audit involves the use of both secondary and primary research, and uses both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, including interviews and online surveys.
The brand audit helps companies build their brand from the inside out.
Step Two: The View from the Inside Out
Many brands fail to reach their full potential because they are not fully understood or supported by important internal audiences. So before undertaking any outside marketing research with consumers, it’s critical to first look at the brand from the inside out.
- Customer perception
- Product / Service differentiation
- Business Objectives
- Strengths and Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
- Financial performance
Products and Services
- Important characteristics of products and services
- Key benefits, Advantages and disadvantages of products and services
- Pricing compared to the competition
- New products to be launched
- Company Focus/Core competencies
- Brand Identity
- Customer Information
- Customer Service/Sales
Marketing and Communications
- Measures of Success
- How Does the Company Communicate With Its Audiences?
- Communicating With Customers
- Communicating With Editors
- Communicating With the Financial Community
- Communicating With Employees
- Labour unions
- Communicating With Opinion Leaders
- Business leaders
- Civic leaders
- Pressure groups
- Communicating With Business Partners
- Communicating With Local Communities
- Business associations
- Civic organizations
- Communicating With Regulators
Step Three: The View from the Outside In
Getting the view from the outside in requires surveying current and prospective customers on the following topics:
- Brand Awareness
- Brand Benefits
- Perceived functional attributes of the brand
- Perceived rational benefits of the brand
- Perceived emotional benefits of the brand
- How the brand compares to the “ideal” attributes in the category
- Brand Positioning
- Brand Quality
- Brand Preference
- Brand Usage
- Brand Loyalty
- Brand Touch Points
- Brand Users
Step Four: Written Brand Analysis
The brand audit process concludes with the development of a written summary of the findings, including an overview of the environment, the category, the company, the brand, and the competition.
A review of industry trends, regulatory challenges, and the general health and sustainability of the market in which the brand competes.
An overview of the broad category represented by the brand, including an assessment of where the brand fits in terms of awareness, preference, and usage.
An assessment of the current state of the brand, its development, market penetration, identifying characteristics, and benefits to the consumer.
An analysis of current and potential customers, buying habits, loyalty, wants, needs, and motivations.
A definition of direct as well as indirect competition, including relative share of voice, share of market, and competitive strengths and weaknesses.
Benefits of the Brand Audit
Every company can derive important benefits from taking a holistic look at the health and strength of their brand – from the inside and the outside – including:
- Clearer focus and vision. Clarify the focus and vision of the brand from both an internal and external perspective.
- Stronger competitive advantage. Better define the brand’s competitive advantages and points of difference.
- Deeper customer understanding. Improve the organizations understanding of awareness, attitudes, and behaviour of current and prospective patients and caregivers.
- Communication with all audiences. Develop programs and approaches to communicate effectively with all important audiences of the brand, not just customers
- More consistent messaging. Send a consistent message about the brand in all forms of marketing communications.
- More unified brand identification.
- Develop a more clearly defined brand identity and enforce compliance among the brand’s operating divisions.
- Improved internal alignment. Provide training and encourage internal behaviours that are consistent with what the brand is trying to accomplish.
The basic concept of a brand audit is to determine whether a business’ resource strengths are competitive assets or competitive liabilities. This type of audit seeks to ensure that a business maintains distinctive competences that allow it to build and reinforce its competitive advantage. What’s more, a successful brand audit seeks to establish what a business capitalizes on best, its level of expertise, resource strengths, and strongest competitive capabilities, while aiming to identify a business’ position and future performance.
For Brand audit projects, contact Chipo on Chipomaps@gmail.com