Effective Brand Audit via Marketing & Communications Audit

What is brand audit?

A brand audit is an overall analysis of the company’s brand, management and marketing effectiveness. It assesses strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the brand. It also recognizes growth opportunities like those which can happen through changing brand positioning and extension.

Why do you need a brand audit?

The cutthroat competition has narrow the ways to stand out and survive in a big competitive market. For this reason, every brand need to sort out issues and develop such strategies which will keep it running for a long period of time. The best thing is to perform an audit and get a quick overview on what’s going on and around. Moreover, it is a great way of refining all the elements which could be helpful in taking a brand to a higher level. In short, a business success or a brand success is only possible if management keep on updating the purpose of the brand regularly.

There are hundreds of reasons to perform a brand audit. Thus, the main is to check the performance of your brand. It is helpful in giving you;

  1. a) Right image
  2. b) Position of your business
  3. c) Developing exact strategies for brand growth
  4. d) Highlight strengths and weaknesses
  5. e) Align accurate offerings

Elements of Brand Audit?

Step 1:Market OverView:-

This is the section where big picture needs to be brought out.

What is happening in your market?

What drives the sector?

Has the economy changed?

The Market Performance section of a brand audit starts with the market overview below:

1) SIZE & GROWTH OF MARKET.

Look at the macro environment in which you operate. Identify those changes which are most likely to affect your brands and customers in the short, medium and long term.

Political

What political short, medium and long term issues may impact your brand?

Economic

What economic short, medium & long term issues will have an impact on your brand?

Technological

What technological short, medium and long term issues effect your brand?

Social

What social short, medium and long term issues may have an impact on your brand?

2) GROWTH OR DECLINE?

Is the market in which you operate in growth or in decline?

When markets are in decline, it offers short term prospects for the businesses that remain but in general, a strong marketing plan relies on propelling with rather than against the tide. This also needs to be broken down into the sections to highlight which areas may become more important in the future.

3)NEW MARKET OPPORTUNITIES

Which are the emerging markets?

Can you extend your brand into new markets?

Should you develop new products within other markets?

List and prioritize the opportunities that you are already aware of will have a dramatic effect at arriving at your marketing

4) COMPETITOR STRATEGY

You need to review the activity of each of your competitor brands or manufacturers for the previous year. You need to summarize competition share, distribution and spend. Do a regular check up on what they are doing will allow you to see what else your customers are being offered. Mystery shopping could be way ahead for you

Questions to ask about each key competitor are:

What are new products/services that has been launched?

What marketing activities has been done?

What promotions have they done?

What looks like their overall strategy?

What is the likely impact on your brand if they became more successful? Is there anything you can do/should be doing to counter this?

This needs to be done for top 3 competitors

The whole data needs to be fit in SWOT Analysis as shown below

Brand Audit

Step 2:SALES PERFORMANCE

 The summary of your historical sales performance is critical part of a brand audit that will show what worked well and what did not previously. This information when broken down in different ways will help highlight the key gaps and key opportunities

1) Percentage of sales product wise

2) Business broken customer segment wise

3) Overall business broken down as Percentage of distribution channel?

Step 3: CONSUMER DIAGNOSTICS: Understand the customer pulse

This is your chance to understand what people think of the service or products you offer.

Is your customer happy?

How do you know find this out?

How many complaints did received over the last year?

How many referrals? What is the % of new versus repeat customers?

What is your average spend per customer?

This happens through Marketing Audit & Communication Audit

Marketing Audit Elements

1)BRAND IDENTITY

Are you happy with the identity of your brand?

Is it clear? Is it consistent?

Do you need to refresh your corporate image?

What bits of your branding are inconsistent or and what can you do about it?

2)PRODUCT/PACKAGING QUALITY

If you have a product, could your packaging or product be improved

If you are in the service industry, are your “products” clear to understand

 3) PROMOTIONS & DISCOUNTS

What promotions and discounts have been done in the previous 12 months and what was the result?

4) PRICING

How much do you charge for what product or service?

Is it clear?

Is it simple to calculate and how does it stack up against your competitors?

Pricing is a vital part of your marketing mix that you have to get right.

5) PRODUCT

Review your product change completely

Are you doing too many things?

Is there a chance for increasing your new product development?

Are you investing in loss making products and services?

6) SEGMENTATION

Segmentation is how you decide to size up your market

Will it be better to segment the market by geography?

By industry? By business size etc? How do you do it now?

7)TARGETING

You need review how you have been targeting your customers.

Who is your ideal customer & how are you targeting them?

8)POSITIONING AND PERCEPTIONS

What does your target market perceive of you?

How your business is perceived is critical & not necessarily?

Communication Audit:

Communication Audit will determine which of your communications tools are working well and points out the weakness areas which your  needs to strengthen

5 Steps for Communication Audit:

Step 1

Analyze the communications vehicles.

Get samples of all communications vehicles (newsletters, press releases, your website, blog, social media strategy, etc.) that you use to reach your target audiences. Understand their effectiveness, accessibility and timing. Analyse your social media strategy. Findout the usefulness of various communication vehicles. Find out whether your audiences got the key messages and what communication they didn’t grasp.

Step 2

Gather internal employee feedback from all.

For this interview top management and collect feedback from employees and staff. This should help in understanding

  • Ideal communications strategies as per Internal employee
  • Any concerns that they have
  • Their view of the purpose of internal communications
  • Their understanding of their role

You can gather feedback from employees through surveys, interviews and focus groups. This step will help you in figuring out whether all communications methods were understood & satisfied your internal audiences.

Step 3

How does external Audience perceive your communication?

Understand voice of customer through  audits & evaluate how your organization is perceived on social media in order to determine what your community knows and thinks about you.

Step 4

Organise finding into a SWOT table.

Work out a  SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) of your communications efforts.

SWOT will help you to find:

  • Methods that work well for your organization
  • That do not work
  • Opportunities to improve your communications efforts with target audiences
  • What is a threat to your successful communication with its stakeholders

Step 5

Make changes to your current communications plan basis all data collected and analyzed.

Communication Audit  should be done every couple of years for your communications plan to be up to date and satisfying your external and internal audiences’ communications needs.

 

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