Truth be told, auditing your brand is a practice that is completely vital to ALL businesses, no matter what stage of growth it’s in. It’s something that needs to be done on a regular basis if you’d like to keep your business on the up and up. So what is a brand audit exactly and why would you do one for your business? Let’s dive right in with our first reason and explanation:
1. Establish the performance of your brand
At least once a year, it’s important to step back and access how your business and what you offer is being perceived by your target audience. As business owners, it’s so easy to get preoccupied with working in the business rather than on it. However, our businesses change and evolve just like we do. Growth can happen, and you can even take a new direction based on customer feedback. These are all good things, except when you suddenly look up and notice that your logo, color palette, voice ect. in no way convey what you’re selling! Take Starbucks, for example. As their reach expanded outside the U.S., they recognized the need to simplify their brand. They kept the recognizable siren and dropped the text; making it much easier to expand to any market in any language.
You should expect growth in your business. And with growth comes change. They’re all good things if you allow them to be. Another example- ourselves. Steeplechase Collective started out as branding and bridal. Within our first year of business, we discovered that the wedding industry is not where we needed to be, we were not only more successful in working with businesses, but truthfully, we liked it better. And so even in our first year we decided to re-evaluate what we were doing and have since rebranded.
2. Discover your strengths and weaknesses
Understanding your strengths is vital. After all, knowing what you do well and focusing on that is the foundation for growth - and what got you into the business in the first place!
Identifying your weaknesses is often much more difficult to pinpoint. However, once you’ve outlined areas in which you need to improve, that’s when growth can happen! Whether it means bringing in an expert in an area where you need help, or just improving your own skills, it can feel daunting at first. But, as one of our favorite mentors, Marie Forleo, says, “Everything is figureoutable!” And it really is.
The best and and most efficient way to do this is to get customer/client feedback. If you’re not doing this already, definitely start there! Their opinions are invaluable and it’s so easy to do. When you understand them (your clients) more clearly, you can serve them better- which leads us to our next point.
3. Align your strategy more closely with the expectations of your customers
Whatever your strategy was in the beginning, chances are it’s going to change as you come to understand or discover your customers better. You may have first thought your demographic was Millennials, only to discover that your target market is actually women in their early 40’s. And that’s okay! There are many people that start to freak out when they niche down their business to a very particular demographic. Hear us when we tell you that is a GREAT THING. There are riches in niches people! Customers will visit your website with the expectation that what you are offering will be exactly for them - like you’re reading their mind. If this doesn’t happen in the first ten to twenty seconds, they’re gone. That’s another reason why niching down is better than trying to serve everyone. It’s important to understand the pain points of your audience and communicate strategically so they know you can solve those problems for them.
4. Understand your place in the market compared to the competition
One of the first things we do in brand development is access the competition. You need to stand out - or differentiate yourself - from others doing the same thing in your market. There are thousands of toothpaste brands out there, which do you remember off the top of your head? Why? What makes that brand your go-to? Price? Quality? All of these things encourage your loyalty... your brand loyalty. And loyal customers are gold!
And just a word of advice on this subject- once you evaluate the competition, walk away from it. Don’t copy it, don’t compare yourself to it. See where they’re at, determine where you’d like to be (hopefully surpassing them all) and then execute. Take steps to finding where your authenticity lies and run with it. There is so much to be said about originality- it’ll sell itself.
We hope this helps shed a little light on the importance of brand audit. If you’re feeling at all doubtful about your current brand, or need help evaluating where you’re at, we’d love to chat! Contact us, we’d be more than happy to schedule a time to talk and give you some FREE feedback to help evaluate your needs. If you know you’re ready for an update, we’d love to help take your brand to the next level! Go ahead and book with us now!