A brand audit is a checkup that evaluates your brand's position in the marketplace, its strengths and weaknesses, and how to strengthen it. A process to discover its source of brand equity.
A brand audit should cover 3 important aspect:
Internal Branding - Your brand's mission, vision and workplace culture.
External Branding - Your communication with the outside world. It includes your advertisements, logo, product brochures, public relations, etc.
Customer Experience - It includes your customer support processes, sales processes and grievance solutions.
When to Perform a Brand Audit?
A loss in revenue, profitability or loss of customers to competition brand.
Loss of visibility on search engine and organic traffic on your website.
Unwanted or unexpected traffic leads on the website. Non Target group traffic on your digital assets.
Change in business priority. Change in company mission/vision.
Which data points your need to perform a successful brand audit?
Competition Intelligence: Where does your brand stand in comparison to competition? Pros and Cons of your competitions. Details matrix comparison of competitors on various Key Performance Indicators.
Market Performance: Study the latest trends of the market. What new product evolution has taken place recently. How are business models are evolving? How is market size movement of the industry.
Brand Perception: What is the perception of your brand among stakeholders. (Users, Influencers, Shopkeepers, Distributors, Agencies, Shareholders)
Brand Alignment: How much in-sync your brand is with the growth expectations? Are you taking all the actions which reflect your brand's willingness to achieve growth numbers?
3-Circle Model of Brand Audit (especially helpful in benchmarking with your biggest competition)
Brand's Strength ( Your Point of Difference ): Most brands work on create niche in POD. They spend their R&D on satisfying customer needs which competition is yet to serve. Larger this are is, better your brand's loyalty and hence more revenue it can dictate. E.g. Hindustan Unilever has the best distribution among FMCG companies in India. It is brand perception Unilever succeeded in creating among the stakeholders.
Mutual Strength ( Point of Parity ): These are things which has become industry standard and everyone provides it more or less the same. You need to ensure that your POP features are most customer friendly. E.g. Unlimited talk-time is common among all the operators, whether its VI, Airtel of Jio, it is ubiquitous in India.
Competition's Strength ( Their Point of Difference ) : These are attributes in which your competition have honed perfection. E.g. Volvo's brand perception is safety. As a competition brand it is really tough for you to dethrone customer's perception. Airpods by Apple created such a following of Apple that even after competition Samsung launched their buds, customers were still hung up on the original Airpods.
Example of Apple's Ipad Vs. Amazon's Kindle:
Here are two annexure that will come handy while performing brand audit:
Annexure 1: Must have information sources.
•Company vision, mission and value statement
•Financial performance and trends
•Customer service records
•Patents and other Intellectual property
•Third party research about competitors
•Company’s own internal research
•Current and past advertising records of your brand and that of competitors
•Social media reports and metrics
Annexure 2: Brand Audit Framework.
1. Situation Analysis
(Interview top management)
• Strategy, Mission & Vision
• Strengths & Weaknesses
• Key success Factors
• Resources & Capabilities
2. Competitive Analysis
(Research & interview top management of the company)
• Competitive Landscape
• Competitive challenges
• Industry Trends
3. Internal Analysis
(Interview key customer-facing personnel)
• Understanding of company’s Vision
• Relationship with company
• Internal Assumptions
4. External Analysis
• Perceived Quality
• Association & Personality