Every day, several questions need to be adequately addressed:
- My business has expanded into new (or complimentary) areas of business and new products/services offer. Are the brand positioning and identity system conveying the new universe of value? Is it still true and relevant? Are customers aware of it?
- Is our brand promise correctly defined? Does it mirror our singularity and difference? Is it conveying the right message and engaging our target audience? Do internal collaborators understand and breathe it? Is it clearly different from our competitors?
- We have acquired (or been acquired by) a competitor brand. How shall the rebranding project be tailored to maximize global value and to handle market compliance and consumer expectations?
As the face and voice of a company, service, or product, the brand is a major selling and differentiating asset. By assuming the role to decode and communicate your offer profile and value proposition, let it be a product, service, or other, brands evolve as a major and key business asset. The brand holds the power to say who you are, how you are, why you are relevant, and last but not the least, how different you are from your competitors.
A new or refreshed offer, business spin-offs, mergers and acquisitions, international business expansion or portfolio diversification are all obvious cues and moments for change but underneath your daily operation, there may be a myriad of not so obvious issues that hold a huge impact on brands and on their expression and relevance.
Being pivotal to maximize business value and differentiation, company leaders shall naturally hold a focus on the brand they manage, and maintain a cyclical, ongoing, assessment on the brand’s strengths and weaknesses.
Brand Audit: the way through to understand a brand current state, to unlock business opportunities and to maximize value
. Brand Audit Relevance: Checking up the brand’s strengths and weaknesses
Exposed to several business and brand environment changes (consumer, society, technology, environment…), brands need to monitor communication coherency in order to assure that their meaning is being conveyed and their relevance maintained. As so, Brand Audit emerges as the key and most efficient approach and analysis tool to understand a brand's current situation. And it shall not be overlooked.
Brand Audit relevance and value is threefold. It amplifies your company/brand capacity to:
- Understand brand and business current situation and have a clearer picture of its strengths and needs;
- Support leadership and top management in business and branding decision processes, while assuring investment efficiency and value maximization (Return On Brand Investment - ROBI);
- Gain reputation and trust in the market, as a company/brand that holds a truly professional and customer-centric approach.
. Brand Audit Scope: Issues and dimensions
Brand auditing processes vary in depth (nature and the number of parameters checked) and scope (brand audit can be internal or/and external), but always respond to the same goal: understand what the company/brand is conveying to the market/stakeholders, how close to goals is and on what it is falling short.
Brand Audit untaps and makes clear the brand current situation on different critical issues/parameters:
1. Brand Identity: is the company/brand purpose, vision, values, and positioning correctly defined and stated? Is its unique value proposition and positioning territory clear and differentiated?
2. Internal Alignment: Is the brand well understood and lived by internal collaborators? Do they know what the brand stands for? Are they true brand ambassadors? What about the brands´ business key partners?
3. Market Relevance: Who are your customers? Why do they buy from your company/brand? What are their perceptions about it?
4. Visual Identity: Does it convey the essence and tone of your brand? Are there misaligned elements (logo, colours, typography, graphic universe) that constraint brand essence communication?
5. Brand Architecture: Is it conveying the way the brand or product portfolio is organised, the level of centralisation and autonomy of each of its parts (products, brands, business areas), and how do they relate to each other? Does it enhance brand visibility and business goals?
6. Brand Communication Consistency: Are brand touchpoints (either physical, human, digital, or other) delivering the right message and observe brand alignment? Are brand values and value proposition being reaffirmed and consolidating the right brand perception? Are they building trust and relation?
Understanding your brand situation is critical for growing your company business. Whether you need to assure distinctiveness and relevance, to maintain the desired perception in the market, and/or to keep in touch and engage consistently with your target consumers and stakeholders, Brand Audit is the first step to unlock the correct pathways for an answer.
Ana Costa Dias
Senior Strategist at Unlock Brands