The Brand Audit provides a detailed view of the brand’s current position in the market, customer perception, and the industry as a whole. It determines the effectiveness of the brand and helps to detect its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for further development and to propose corrective measures if there are any inconsistencies that could be harming the brand now or in the future.

As we all know, many brands in the market offer similar products and services, but some of them have some crucial elements that differentiate them from the competition, giving them a significant competitive advantage. The brand audit process will help the company define that competitive advantage.

When conducting a brand audit, the simplest approaches are often the most operational. A mapping of customer desires, brand capabilities, and competitive strengths will make it possible to classify and prioritize different types of “brand equity.” That’s why I defend this 3-step system:

  1. Internal Audit: A Look at Why.

It is important to start from the company’s own founding history. Try to understand to what extent it may have deviated from its original raison d’être. Next, we should review each of the aspects that make up the brand strategy today, with a special focus on how the brand is adding value at the moment. In addition to dissecting the different aspects that make up the brand’s DNA in order to examine them, this exercise will help in the reflection on the way in which all these elements work together, detecting the degree of coherence and consistency between them.

This analysis exercise cannot be carried out unilaterally, it is important to have different team members, distributed among different areas of the business. They are the ones who really bring the brand to life, so you need to have their vision.

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  1. External Audit: A Matter of Perceptions.

I have repeated on other occasions that a brand is not what you believe, but what others think. Perceptions are critical to building a brand, so once you’ve done the previous step, it’s time to make sure that what you think you are matches what your target audiences actually perceive. The external audit will review the insights gained with respect to all the elements that were addressed in the internal audit. This will provide direct points of comparison that will show all those gaps that are distorting the health of the brand. It is advisable to prioritize these audiences of interest, that target market, as well as all those channels through which they come into contact with the brand. This weighting will make it easier to draw conclusions in this regard.

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  1. Competitor Analysis: Enhance Value.

Markets are more than saturated and are, in general, highly competitive. This means that achieving a prominent place in them is really difficult. Everyone aspires to be the leader in their category, although sometimes it may not be the best strategy.

Competitor analysis (benchmarking) will provide the necessary framework to help assess where the brand stands against its goals, in a given market, allowing you to discover which areas need improvement, while also helping to develop a plan to achieve those improvements or goals. It is worth mentioning here that benchmarking should not be limited to the closest competitors and it is very appropriate to take a look at market trends, even detecting those possible best practices that can be taken as a reference example.

When carrying out this research, it should be noted that the point of view of the competitor (usually very critical) is not as valid as the point of view of the customer, which is the one that really matters.

Next Steps

This benchmarking is a great tool to help spot opportunities for improvement. Next, a SWOT analysis can help lay the foundations that will define the next strategy, identifying the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities of the brand, in relation to the business strategy.

Based on this assessment, there are 5 questions that should be answered:

What should you stop doing? It includes all those initiatives taken that do not support business objectives or that do not reinforce a clear value proposition. If they don’t serve the strategic purpose, then you should eliminate them entirely.

What aspects need to be diminished? These are all those initiatives that don’t serve a great purpose in the overall ecosystem, even though they may make some sense. You should focus less on them in the future.

What should you continue to do? Something that works well and is aligned with the business and the brand’s purpose will always be welcome. These are the kinds of activities you need to keep investing in or even go beyond.

What do you need to increase from? Maybe there’s some part of your strategy that you’ve underestimated so far, these are the kinds of activities that have served the strategy well, although they need to be enhanced.

What should I incorporate? Throughout the evaluation process, new opportunities are sure to be revealed. Surely these are initiatives that have not yet been explored and it is time to give them a chance.

Finally, it should be mentioned that everyone can see through a magnifying glass but not everyone knows how to find what they are looking for. That’s when you can count on an external partner , a brand consultancy, which will surely be much more objective. Let’s think that the value of a brand audit is not in the data collected, but in the measures that are adopted as a result of the information obtained.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

CEO of Branward