It’s the start of the new year. Good time for a Brand Audit.
As business owners, we understand that our branding goes way beyond our logos, tags, or slogans. Branding is reflected in Every Way we touch our consumers, whether the effort is intentional or not. Each of these exposures makes a mental impression. Depending on the strength and frequency of these impressions, they can develop into a belief system about our brands, in the minds of our consumers. Once these brand beliefs are solidified (good or bad), it’s hard to change them. This is why it is so important for companies to have a continuous handle on all their branding
The Brand Audit is an effective Strategic Tool for this effort.
Marvel utilized the Brand Audit as one step in building its brand equity. Prior to its purchase by Disney, Marvel comprehensively evaluated all the ways their brand touched consumers. Through the audit, they recognized that while they had an extensive collection of Characters (~8K) and Stories (~32K), the connection between characters and stories were so disjointed & convoluted that it would be difficult to digest, for new audiences. This discovery began the path to the Connected Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Take the time to assess your brand. You may be surprised by the knowledge gained and where it may take your business. See the following 5 Tips to help you get started with your brand audit.
Five tips to begin conducting your own brand audit:
1. Do your best to robustly and completely define the following about your Brand
What are the tangible Brand Benefits? These are benefits that occur from the use or exposure to your brand, that can be perceived by any of the five senses.
What feelings should consumers associate with your brand? E.g., when I use Brand A, it makes me feel…
2. Identify and Gather Together all Your Brand Elements
A branding element is any element that represents or reflects the brand, across audience touchpoints. Branding elements include items such as – Brand Name, Logo, Brand Promise, Slogan, Color Scheme, Website, Social Pages, Creative Assets (video, images, gifs, interactive ads), Core Narratives/Primary Messaging, etc.
3. Display all the items together, as visually as possible
Digital Mood boards are great tools for this exercise when coordinating online.
Large brands, with many elements and a history of advertising, may want to dedicate an entire wall in a room, or maybe an entire room itself to housing and displaying these branding elements. This is sometimes referred to as a War Room.
4. Answer the following questions. Take note as answers should influence your next steps:
Where is there cohesiveness?
Where are there inconsistencies?
Are the elements truly reflective of what you envision for your brand?
Which elements are on track for where you want your brand to be, and which are not?
5. Ask yourself how well your brand elements achieve the following. Then course correct.
Do your brand elements help communicate brand benefits? If no, look for solutions to adjust. If no solution is available, then eliminate the branding elements that are “Off Brand,” from the communication mix.
Are your brand elements a true reflection of your brand personality? Again, if no, look for solutions to adjust. If no solution is available, then eliminate the branding elements that are “Off Brand,” from the communication mix.
Once you complete your Brand Audit, you’ll have the knowledge to take action in building a cohesive and integrated collection of elements, that truly communicate your brand benefits and reflect your brand personality. You may also find an opportunity for new innovation, like Marvel.
Happy growing, from BrandHrt!