We recently completed a brand audit for a startup. Our brief was to find out how internal and external stakeholders perceive the brand as it figures out what it wants to be and where its opportunities lie.
What an enjoyable experience! We talked to employees, partners and investors, diving deep into the company’s psyche, and preparing a report that detailed where the brand is now and where it could be.
Conducting the audit proved to be invaluable in helping the brand spot its weak spots as well as its strengths, and while most of the information wasn’t surprising to the business owners, there were some important aha! moments and the audit confirmed their instinctual understanding of what needs to happen for the brand to take the next step in its growth.
Having us conduct the audit for them provided their team with an external perspective on internal workings, and it gave stakeholders an opportunity for honest conversation about challenges and barriers, conversations they may not have had with the business owners unprompted – or even if asked directly.
Should you hire an external expert to conduct a brand review for your business?
Yes, for that important external perspective. Looking from the outside in provides a clear, unbiased analysis.
Should you conduct a brand audit yourself?
Absolutely! We think you should do so at regular intervals, depending on how fast your business is changing and what your growth goals are.
We’d recommend surveying employees (through blind surveys or in person conversations, or both) as well as key clients/customers and key partners (suppliers). Ask them all the same key questions.
- What people perceive as your brand history and story (versus what you think or express it to be)
- What they think your brand promise is
- Whether you deliver on your brand promise
- What customers really want from your brand
- What problem your customers, suppliers and partners think your brand solves
- How your stakeholders perceive your brand value versus the competition (pricing)
- Who your competition really is versus who you think they are
- Whether your key messaging accurately reflects your brand
- If your logo represents your brand well
- If your brand’s visual elements and story resonate with the intended audience
- What you’re doing well with your marketing and communications strategy
- Where you can improve
- And likely some great ideas for future growth
We recommend Brand Story Online as a starting point for questions, and we encourage you to be curious and open-minded about the process.
Though you’ll ask the core questions you’ve decided on, let the conversation take itself where it wants to go – that’s where you could learn the most about what’s holding the brand back and what it needs to grow up.
As Steve Forbes once said, “your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” Regular brand audits keep your business healthy, wealthy and wise.