Like any audit, our goal in a brand audit is to compare what we want to be doing with what we are actually doing. In an accounting audit, we correlate bookkeeping entries with transactions. In a brand audit, we analyze the message we want to communicate with what the public actually thinks about our brand. In other words, we look for gaps in our branding that we can tighten up to create a strong, clear, consistent image in the eyes of the public.
Using the worksheet that follows, we will look at each of the Core Components of Branding (Core Competencies, Target Market, Competitive Position, Brand Messaging, Brand Core Values and Personality, Marketing Strategy, and Brand Execution). We’ll articulate how our brand strives to express each of those components, and then we will rate how well we do on the following three criteria.
Clarity – For each of the seven components, how well does your organization understand the component? Answer the question in the first column. The more specific you can be, the better. Then rate how clear it is in the second (Clarity) column.
Consistency – Review all the ways you communicate with the public, especially your target market. How well do you clearly and consistently exhibit the component (competencies, personality, etc.) in everything you communicate? If you have a lot of materials, or if your materials were produced over a long period of time or by a variety of people, a more formal brand audit might be warranted.
Confirmation – To test the clarity and consistency of our branding messages, we then need to confirm how those messages were received. Would a member of your target market have the same impression of your organization as you want them to? Do they understand your competencies and core values the way you do? In some cases, it makes sense to undertake a deliberate marketing research project to understand how the public perceives your organization.
A quick, simple way to confirm how your organization is perceived is by reviewing the referrals and prospective clients you’re getting. If the products or services people are asking for are not well aligned with your organization’s key competencies, there is probably a disconnect somewhere. This exercise might help you find out where, and discover what you need to do to close the gap.
Download the Kim Schlossberg Designs Brand Audit Worksheet and find your organization’s gaps.