What is a Brand Audit? A 6-Step Outline with Tips for Conducting Your Own

Kim Lavia
Kim Lavia
February 20 | 9 min read

Your brand is your most valuable asset.

But sometimes, a brand needs to be evaluated to see if and where there is a need for change. If you’re in this boat right now, you’re not alone. It’s probably unheard of for a company to go through existence without requiring a brand audit at some point. So, if you’re currently considering a brand audit, don’t stress—it’s completely normal.

In this post we’ll be outlining:

  • What a brand audit is
  • When and why you should audit your brand
  • How to conduct a brand audit in 6 steps
  • What to do after you’ve conducted your audit

Let’s get to it!

What is a Brand Audit?

A brand audit is an in-depth examination of your brand to identify what you’re doing well, areas for potential improvement and your current position in the market alongside competitors.

Brand development is an ongoing thing, and a brand audit is a way to look at data to determine how to elevate your business image.

Think of this as a pulse-check that every business will need to perform at least once in its existence. How else will you know if the hard work that went into building your brand is paying off or not?

A brand audit consists of looking at two main pillars: your external and your internal branding.

  • External branding communicates your company’s promise to your customers.
  • Internal branding gives your employees the tools and resources needed to follow through on that promise.

It’s important that your brand’s message resonates with your employees—it’s much easier to fulfill your brand’s promise with a team that fully believes in it. And in the best case scenarios, your team can then become your brand ambassadors.

External branding is made up of your:

  • Visual identity (logo, colors, etc.)
  • Advertising and marketing initiatives
  • Website
  • Social media presence

Internal branding includes your:

  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
  • Positioning
  • Company values and culture

By looking into both of your brand pillars (along with those of your competition) you can quickly identify what areas you are performing well in and others where you can improve.

How to Tell if Your Company Needs Brand Auditing

Well, if you’re reading this post, you’re likely in need of some kind of brand analysis.

Consider running a brand assessment if any or all of these apply to you:

  • You’ve decided to pivot and redirect your business focus
  • There’s a loss in brand identity
  • There’s a need for brand cohesion
  • There’s a loss in or lack of customer loyalty

What are the Benefits of Doing a Brand Audit?

Conducting a brand audit can better help you understand where you stand within your market and in the minds of consumers.

Doing a brand analysis will help you:

  • Identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your brand
  • Discover consumers’ positive and negative perceptions of your business
  • Align your offerings with customer’s expectations
  • Determine where you stand next to your competition
  • Redefine your brand strategy

The following brand audit checklist will provide you with the necessary steps needed for conducting a brand analysis, along with checking in on your brand’s overall health.

1. Set Up a Brand Audit Framework

It helps to have some sort of brand analysis template to guide you in the process of auditing your brand. Before you get started with your audit the first step to take is to build a framework around how you will conduct it.

Particularly if you’re going about this internally, you need a guide to follow so that the data you collect can be put into action—it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers, so focus in on the data that actually means something to your brand.

Define your framework with a checklist of what’s to be examined and the methods you will use. It helps to organize your list to incorporate both internal and external brand elements.

2.  Examine Your Website Analytics

You could have the most stunning website design in the world, but if it isn’t converting or serving your customers the way it should, it’s crucial that you understand where and why it isn’t performing. Google Analytics provides rich website performance data, both historic and in real-time.

Google Analytics

Key website analytics to look at:

Traffic: How many people are visiting your website, and where are they coming from?

Page views: How many times are pages being viewed? Are there noticeably popular pages? Unpopular ones?

Bounce rate: How many people leave your website once they visit it? How long does that take?

Conversion rate: How many goals are being achieved on your website? (Sales, leads, etc.)

You should also invest in user testing to see how customers perceive and interact with your website and/or app. A great tool is UserTesting (they nailed that company name right on the head), which offers video captures of key moments like confusion during tests. And wherever there’s user confusion, there’s drop-off.

Take note of any confusing pages and see if they line up with your analytics data.

UserTesting

By conducting user testing, you’ll gain insight into pages and sections of your website that may be affecting your brand (and your bottom line). This data can help you plan and execute corrective strategies you can then implement to optimize your website.

We’ve even got a blog on remote user testing tips to help you get started.

3. Analyze Your Sales Stats

This should be something you're already doing regularly, however, as part of your brand audit it can provide a ton of insight regarding customer and industry trends.

Here you’ll take notice as to whether or not you’ve stayed true to your brand promise in delivering what it is that customers want, as well as if you’re up to speed with competitors and their offerings.

An in-depth look at your sales data will reveal customer buying patterns and help you redirect your focus. Do you notice any irregular dips in sales? How about a change in the buyer locations? All of these points should be analyzed to understand your brand health and how it affects your sales.

4. Dive Into Your Social Data

Social media contains a wealth of information on your customers that you can’t get anywhere else. What’s truly insightful is the realization that your target customers may not be the customers interacting with your social channels. Actually, this is way more common than you might think.

This valuable demographic data helps you better understand your audience and reevaluate your social communication strategy. It’s easy to get caught up in social vanity metrics such as follower count, or even likes, but if you’re not appealing to your ideal buyer on social, then there’s an issue in your branding and social strategy.

Social listening tools like SproutSocial and Mention can help you:

  • Monitor your brand mentions
  • Track brand-specific or targeted keywords
  • Analyze your audience demographics

SproutSocial

Mention

5. Observe Your Competitors

To get a full look at the competitive landscape, you’ll need to find out how well your competitors are performing from a brand perspective. What content are they writing about? Is their brand getting noticed? Are they forming any brand partnerships?

Some of this work will be manual, but there are tools you can use to dive deeper into various elements of a brand.

Competitor analysis tools like Ahrefs provide SEO-driven data while helping you monitor your niche and research your competitors. Get information on organic traffic and keywords they’re ranking for, as well as how you rank in comparison.

After all, people often stumble upon brands by doing a Google search for topics they’re interested in learning about. If your competitors are showing up for these keywords and you aren’t, there’s a problem.

Ahrefs

From a more creative standpoint, observe the use of competitors’ brand colors and other identifiers. Is the usage cohesive? If you were to see the color on its own would you instantly recognize the brand as we do with Coca-Cola or National Geographic?

It’s important that you keep up a consistent visual identity to solidify your brand. That means from your website design to your marketing emails, your branding must be consistent to establish authority and trust among your customers and over competitors.

6. Get Answers From Your Customers

To best speak to your customers, you’ll need to find out what they think and say about your brand.

Get inside the minds of your customers to find out what motivates them, what makes them tick and what influences their decisions. Polls, surveys and the Net Promoter Score (NPS) are all helpful tools and tactics you can use to obtain valuable customer information when it comes to your brand analysis.

Platforms like TypeForm and SurveyMonkey are easy to use, allowing you to create a survey in minutes. Both offer a variety of survey formats such as text responses, multiple choice and yes/no questions.

Typeform

SurveyMonkey

As for insights into your customer loyalty and brand advocacy, you’ll want to measure your NPS. This is measured by asking customers how likely it is they’ll recommend your product or service to friends and family via an opinion score.

The NPS opinion scoring system is on a scale of 0-10 with 0 being “very unlikely” and 10 being “extremely likely.” Customers are then categorized based on their score:

Promoters: 9 or 10

Passives: 7 or 8

Detractors: 6 and below

SurveySparrow

NPS software like SurveySparrow is a useful and simple tool to collect actionable feedback from your customers.

TIP: NPS scores are a great way to find out the “health” of your customers, particularly if you are running a subscription based service. The lower the number, the more attention and possibly incentives they may need in order to keep them around for longer. With any subscription or recurring business model, you’re always looking to increase the customer lifetime value (CLTV) of your customers.

What to do After Conducting a Brand Audit

  1. Determine how to use the data and information (sometimes data is helpful, but there may not be a need to act on it all).
  2. Put some goals forward before making changes; what do you want to see come out of these changes? Whether it’s an increase in conversions, a more cohesive looking brand or a new customer base, you need to have a clear goal in mind so you know what you’re working towards.
  3. Create an action plan to carry out your brand audit and a timeline of when to do so. That way you’ll have an idea of when to measure your efforts.
  4. At the end of your timeline, track and monitor.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you! We hope you found this post helpful.

And it may just be your lucky day: We’re currently selecting a handful of brands to win a free brand audit, courtesy of our talented creative officers.

How does it work? Complete our brand audit form and a Superside design director will be in touch to book a call and discuss your brand.

On the call, you will:

  1. Receive an unbiased brand evaluation from a qualified auditor
  2. Learn the positioning of your business and how to plan corrective strategies
  3. Uncover visual brand inconsistencies and receive recommendations to elevate your brand

It’s still important to perform some of the above tasks on your own, but we can help provide some design focused insights to help you level up your brand identity. Learn more here.

Kim Lavia
Written by
Kim Lavia
Kim is a writer and content strategist living in Toronto, Canada. She’s fluent in fashion, a dedicated dancer, and lover of handwritten notes.

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