Brand Audits

Our last blog covered some of the benefits of nurturing your brand. This installment will go into more detail about the top benefits of having a strong brand, then how a brand audit helps you develop a marketing strategy that will build on your strengths and address your weaknesses.

The Top 5 Benefits of Maintaining a Strong Brand

1. Attract and retain top talent

2. Attract investment

3. Spend less money keeping customers and finding new ones

4. Charge a premium price for your product

5. Insulate (at least a little bit) yourself from competitors and bad publicity. Your customers will forgive you a little easier when you make a mistake.

Those five reasons being said, brands should be managed like assets. Effort should be given to measure and quantify the impact of the brand on customers and on financial performance.

There are four steps to follow to execute your brand audit and develop a marketing strategy that will nurture your brand.

1. Brand discovery process

2. Framework- brand equity pyramid

3. Measurement- return on brand investment (ROBI)

4. Brand Strategy– built on the blocks of numbers 1-3

Step one involves many tasks as you evaluate your internal brand arsenal to gain an understanding of the brand from the perspective of your customer, employees, suppliers, distributors, and other stakeholders. You should uncover from this research the answers to the following questions:

1. What can be capitalized on or corrected?

2. How familiar are customers and prospects with your organization and your competitors.

3. How favorable or unfavorable are perceptions about your brand?

4. How deeply are views about your brand held? What are the emotional responses?

5. What barriers or opportunities exist for strengthening the brand?

Tons of primary and secondary research goes into the execution of the brand audit, including industry, consumer, and competitive analysis. When all of the research is completed and the questions answered, you will be able to discover your “brand pyramid”, which will showcase your brand through the framework of awareness, function, and relationships.

Next you will create a SWOT analysis based on the 4-P’s of your primary products and services. You will detail product strengths and weaknesses, pricing strategy and competitive position, distribution strategy, and promotion strategy and spending relative to competition.

Before you develop your brand strategy from your findings, we recommend that you set up how you will measure your ROBI. Many factors influence sales and profitability, many of which have little to do with marketing. Most companies know that their marketing efforts are clearly a variable that makes a difference in sales, but they don”t know how to measure their return on marketing. Knowing what worked and what to do differently can help you grow your business more efficiently. While there is no overnight, turn-key process to measure your ROBI, we recommend the following steps:

1. Identify relevant measures/data (many businesses use raw sales, while others measure impressions or profit. Depends on what your goals are.)

2. Incorporate measures into ongoing management decision-making through use of long-term goals. Short-run marketing goals may look attractive, but they rarely pay off in the long-run.

Finally, your brand strategy development begins. Some of the following areas will be part of that strategy:

1. Brand Elements- logos, symbols, trademarks, packaging, slogans, and design elements like colors and schemes.

2. Create Value- for your customer by building on strengths and addressing weaknesses. This can be manifested in product innovations, graphic designs, store layout, and customer service policies.

3. Brand Vision Development- articulate a specific, relevant and memorable brand positioning.

4. Brand Target(s) and Positioning-which aspect of the vision to communicate to which audience. Differentiating, compelling, address the SWOT findings.

5. Brand Elements and Identity System- what elements can bring the brand to life?

6. Brand Communications Plan- identify and prioritize what messages to deliver at each touchpoint.

Happy Branding!