This post walks you through how to perform a brand assessment so you can clarify what’s working for your brand experience and where there are opportunities for improvement.
When a potential client visits your website or social media, you’re providing them with an experience and giving them a preview of what it’s like to work with you. From the graphics that you share to the way you communicate, each touch point either adds to the desired brand experience or detracts from it.
Imagine this: You’re looking to outsource your bookkeeping so you go to their website and the graphics are bright and playful and attention-grabbing. Then, you navigate over to the Instagram feed and find dark and moody pictures with captions that don’t mirror the voice on the website. Given the discrepancies between those two touch points, how do you know which one is the real bookkeeper?
It’s worth noting that the goal of creating a cohesive brand experience isn’t something that will happen overnight. Here at Witt and Company, we consistently talk about your brand being an evolving entity that changes and grows right alongside your business. That being said, there’s a difference between not giving a shit about each brand touch point versus putting in effort with the understanding that it’s not going to be perfect.
So, where does one begin in order to create that consistent, cohesive brand experience?
Say hello to the brand assessment.
All you need are ten to twenty minutes to gain clarity on where your current brand stands and how you can make some quick and easy updates to bring in more brand consistency.
In this article
What is a brand assessment?
According to Merriam Webster, an assessment is the action or an instance of making a judgment about something: the act of assessing something.
So, with that in mind, a brand assessment then, is the process of judging the effectiveness of your overall brand experience.
This means both internally and externally, because what happens behind the curtain is just as important as what your community is seeing on your website, social media and in email newsletters. This is especially true if you have any sort of team in place, working with your brand on your behalf.
Conducting an internal brand assessment
Performing an internal brand assessment means evaluating how you understand your brand and how you’re communicating that understanding and experience to your team.
The best place to start is to identify whether or not you have clarity around your brand and how you want it to be experienced.
Said another way: In order to effectively communicate your brand to your community/following/audience, you have to be clear on what you want to communicate and how you want to communicate it.
Cool, cool. But what does that even mean?
It means you should have some understanding of your brand’s strategy – you know, the communication plan for your brand. (This is where you have full permission to sarcastically say something along the lines of, ‘Of course brand strategy comes into play.’)
Before we jump into the actual assessment process, here’s the two-second brand strategy rundown:
Know the four brand story foundation basics, which are who you serve, why the work matters, what you offer and how you want people to feel.
So, circling back to our internal brand assessment. Are these four questions easy and quick to answer? Not just for you but also for your team.
My friends, this isn’t complicated. Oftentimes, we like to make brand-related things harder than they need to be. But here’s the deal. If you and your team can clearly rattle off an answer to these four foundational elements, I promise you’re halfway there to creating a consistent and cohesive brand experience.
Assessing the external brand
Once you evaluate how much you understand from an internal perspective, you can then shift your focus externally. And when we talk about your external brand, we’re referring to everything written, visual and spoken across the various brand touch points. Your website, social media channels, interviews on podcasts, email communication – really any opportunity someone may have to possibly experience your brand.
When we audit these touch points, we’re looking at the consistency and cohesiveness of the communication. We refer back to your brand foundation and then see what’s actually happening out in the ‘real world.’
Start with your website.
This is your home base and ideally the top of your marketing funnel. Meaning, all traffic and potential clients are funneled through your website, so it plays a pretty pivotal role in your brand experience.
First, ask yourself if your website clearly answers the four brand foundation questions – is it clear who you serve, what you’re offering, how you want people to feel and why the work you do matters?
From there, you can jump into the nitty gritty details of brand visuals.
- Are your fonts consistent?
- Are the images the same editing style?
- Are the accent colors the same or within the same family?
- Is your communication style and tone of voice consistent?
Then, move it on over to social media
After the website, hop on over to the social media accounts you’re active on.
Again, ask yourself if the content you’re sharing clearly answers the four brand foundation questions – is it clear who you serve, what you’re offering, how you want people to feel and why the work you do matters?
Then, take a look at the brand visuals.
- Is your profile image the same on every channel?
- Are the images the same editing style?
- Are you using the same fonts and colors in your graphics?
- Take a look at the captions and see if your communication style and tone of voice is consistent.
Next steps after the brand assessment
Once you’ve taken an inventory of your website and social media channels, how does your brand experience stack up?
First, it’s okay if there are inconsistencies. That’s part of the brand-building process and why we do assessments in the first place. You need to know where you’re at in order to learn where you need to go.
I want to emphasize something real quick: Fixing those inconsistencies does not need to be done overnight and should not be overwhelming.
So, where do you start?
The path of least resistance – were there any glaringly obvious inconsistencies that would take maybe five minutes to change? A common one is the profile picture – simple swap in a logo or brand photo and call it good. Quick and easy!
If you’re seeing a lot of inconsistency in your colors and fonts, do you have a brand style guide that you’re working from? This is a document that lists the standards for your fonts and colors, and is a great way to maintain visual consistency, especially if you have a team member designing for you.
Often the most challenging is the brand voice and communication style. To help with this, create a list of common words and phrases that are used within your brand, that way you always have a bank to pull from and can keep the overall style the same. It’s also worth saying that this piece is something that really gets better over time. If you’re relatively new or haven’t been actively communicating on your brand’s behalf, just know that communication style is a work in progress.
A quick reminder: your brand is fluid
As your business changes, so will your brand. When we talk about cohesive branding, it doesn’t mean rigid and stale – it’s about sticking within a set of guidelines so that if someone visits your website and then hops over to Facebook, they see the consistencies and build a connection. Because, at the end of the day, that’s what matters – creating a relationship with your audience in an authentic way.
All my best,
Need a style guide template so your visuals stay consistent? Click here.
Not sure about your brand’s strategy? Check out this post, detailing all the brand strategy basics.
Looking for ways to implement your brand into your website? This post walks through five easy ways to brand your website.
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