A brand audit is the process for evaluating the effectiveness of your internal and external brand experience. Today we’re sharing what it is and why it’s important.
When your business is brand new, more often than not, you’re DIY’ing all the things. Your business, and brand, are duct taped together. You’ve got a lot on your plate and you’re doing what you can to get clients, get money in the door and create some semblance of balance and bearings.
There comes a time when you finally feel like you catch your breath and it can feel like waking up in the twilight zone. You’re able to take a step back and evaluate. You’ve gained perspective because you have some business consistency and you’ve also gained clarity because you’ve done the work.
What often happens at this time is you realize how hodge-podged your branding can feel but you aren’t sure what to do about it.
My friends, let me introduce you to the Brand Audit.
Let’s define it – what is a brand audit?
According to Meriram Webster, an audit is a formal examination of an organization’s or individual’s accounts or financial situation.
So, with that in mind, a brand audit then, is the process of evaluating the effectiveness of your internal and external brand experience.
I say both internal and external 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 a team, or even just one contractor, in place, working with your brand on your behalf.
Taking a closer look at the internal brand audit.
When we think about internally auditing the brand experience, it’s about evaluating how you understand your brand and how you’re communicating that understanding and experience to your team.
We’ll dive into the specific and how-to’s in a future post but for now, I want you to think about 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 externally, to your community/following/audience, you have to be clear on your understanding of it behind the scenes.
What does that even mean?
It means you should have some understanding of the way you want to communicate your brand – your brand’s strategy. (Of course, of course, brand strategy comes into play!) If this is the first time you’re hearing these two beautiful words, click here to check out all the posts I have on brand strategy.
The two-second brand strategy rundown? Know the four brand story foundation basics:
Who are you serving?
Why does the work matter?
What are you offering?
How do you want people to feel?
These four pillars should be easy questions to answer, not just for you but also your team. It’s not rocket science and making sure these answers come quickly and easily is the first step in auditing the effectiveness of your current brand.
Auditing the external brand experience.
Once you evaluate how much you understand from an internal perspective, you can then shift your focus externally. This means looking at how the internal understanding is being communicated to your audience and community.
See what I mean about why we start behind the scenes? It’s the foundation and starting point for ensuring every communication touch point is consistent and cohesive.
Okay, so 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 look back to your internal audit, the responses to how you want your brand to be experienced and then see what’s actually happening out in the real world.
Why brand audits matter.
Inconsistencies in your brand can cause confusion with your audience. A brand audit will help you pinpoint where those inconsistencies are happening so you can make the necessary changes or updates.
We’ve all heard the saying: you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you are. Well my friends, that’s the beauty of a brand audit – it helps you understand your current situation so that you know what the next right step is for you and your brand.
Next week, we’ll dive even further into how to perform a brand audit but, if you’d like to pull in a pro for this, I’d love to connect! Check out the Brand Audit + Intensive package – we’ll work through the auditing process AND create a plan for your next right steps in creating a consistent and cohesive brand.
All my best,
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