It’s especially important to know what’s working and what’s not, before making rash and sometimes costly decisions.
Here’s the deal:
It’s important that you and your team understand where your brand currently stands, before you rip the whole thing up and start again.
A lot of companies seem happy to gloss over this fundamental step and end up wasting a great deal of time and money.
In this post we’re going to outline how you can carry out a brand audit to ensure the decisions you make are meaningful and strategic.
But first things first, let’s find out what a brand audit is.
What is a Brand Audit?
A brand audit is a process that helps you to understand the purpose behind your brand, where it stands currently and where you want to take it in the future.
An audit makes you think about your company on a deeper level – in a way you perhaps hadn’t before.
It’s helpful for companies to run a brand audit, as it helps them understand exactly where they are, compared to where they set out to be.
Sure, having dreams and ambitions is all well and good, but you need to have a plan before you can get there.
This is helpful when engaging a creative agency as it allows them to dig into the brand and develop a deep understanding of your business from the outset.
It offers both parties a chance to look at the brand they’re discussing objectively, and removes a lot of the guesswork.
When and Why Should You Undertake a Brand Audit?
Most businesses go through the process of discussing a rebrand when they want to make a change within the business, and a brand audit needs to happen before undertaking any work on a rebrand, otherwise you won’t know what you’ve currently got.
The easiest way to look at it, is to see the brand audit as “taking stock” of your brand as it stands. You can then use this information to plan a route forward which helps you get to where you want to be.
Your company might not need to rebrand, it might just need a little TLC.
The first thing to do is collect together all of your brand documentation.
This is not every piece of paperwork that’s ever been produced by your company. This is documentation, guidelines and items related to your brand and it’s identity.
Here’s a quick brand audit checklist to help you to pull together the relevant files for your Brand Audit, but as a side note, if you have a Brand Guidelines document, 90% of the following list should be covered in there.
Tone of Voice
Logos and other brand elements
Printed collateral, stationery, brochures, trade show materials etc
Examples of how your brand has been used or displayed in the real world
Social media handles and relevant design work
Content Marketing, blog posts, white papers, content upgrades, case studies etc
News/PR, mentions in the media and other online sources
You need to be confident you’ve covered all bases, and left no stone unturned when it comes to branding.
Brand Audit: Before and After
When we conduct a Brand Audit at Canny Creative, we usually hold them over the course of several meetings.
The result of a good brand audit is usually a PDF document, outlining our findings and recommending next steps.
We expect our clients to be as open as they can be with us, without revealing any sensitive information they’re uncomfortable about sharing (although we do encourage people to share as much as they can.)
The more we can get to know about your business, the better.
The goal of a brand audit is to help you and your business, so we focus on bringing value to our clients as we’re not simply running them through the mill.
You head back to the office and log-on, and bam, you’re hit with popups left, right and centre, and it looks like it was built in the 90’s. There’s even a spinning @ symbol.
You hit the back button, and throw away the business card. Or probably something along those lines
You need to make sure prospects and leads are experiencing familiarity with your brand touch points, as consistency is important.
“How many new clients/customers/projects would you need to win to justify the cost of rebranding your company?”
If you’re a professional services business or similar, losing a job could mean a six figure loss. You could create the strongest brand in your space for less than the cost of one of your contracts.
And at that price, is it really worth taking multiple losses when you could solve your problems and begin building a strong relationship with a professional design agency?
I don’t think it is, and I’m sure you’ll agree!
Brand Audit Services
When it comes to evaluating the health and effectiveness of your brand, professional brand audit services can be an invaluable resource.
These services are designed to offer an in-depth analysis of your brand’s current position in the market and its overall impact on your target audience.
As a comprehensive brand audit encompasses a wide range of elements such as brand identity, messaging, visual assets, and market positioning, you might find it easier to use an experienced professional.
These teams can carry out thorough research, customer surveys, competitor analysis, and more to provide you with a comprehensive view of your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Furthermore, they’re able to offer strategic recommendations and action plans based on their findings, helping you make informed decisions to strengthen your brand’s presence and resonance in a competitive landscape.
Whether you’re an established business looking for a brand refresh or a startup seeking to establish a strong brand foundation, brand audit services can be a key step in achieving your branding goals.
Our Top Tools for Helping with Your Brand Audit
There are several tools we use to help when we’re carrying out a brand audit, and most of these tools are web based, and have a free plan that you can sign up too.
Our three top used tools are as follows.
We use Asana to keep notes, and plan out routes for going forward.
In Asana you have a “Board” view, similar to Trello, and a “List” view, which is great for keeping a to-do list.
This tool allows you to assign people tasks to carry out, and check them off once complete.
It also opens up discussions around smaller tasks, and these discussions form the basis of some great ideas for helping companies move forward.
If we decide to press ahead with a rebrand, we use Pinterest to collate all of our visual research, and we use it to explore ideas for new visual directions and branding for companies.
It’s a bit of a “brain dump” in terms of we throw everything up there and see what sticks, before we then discuss this with the client.
From there, we decide how the brand should move forward, and whether a complete change in visual direction is needed, or whether smaller subtle changes might be the way to go.
InvisionApp is where we pull everything together. We use it to refine the direction of the rebrand, pull in ideas for language, photography, typography and more.
The best thing about Invision is it’s great commenting system.
We can pull together a brand board and direction for a company and hand it over to them. They can then make comments about our findings in their own time, and at the next meeting we can discuss everything together.
Brand Audit: How to Carry Out a Brand Audit
Companies that aren’t yet working towards building a long term relationship with a design agency, should start there.
Once that ball is rolling, the first thing they should do is audit their brand.
A brand audit is the starting point of any relationship we have with our clients. Without it, it’s impossible to get to know the intricacies of our clients’ brands.
We like to conduct brand audits or “Checkups” periodically throughout our working relationship. This helps to ensure we’re all still on the right track and pushing in the same direction.
What do you think? Have you had a successful brand audit? Are you looking to get started? If so, then get in touch!
Founder and Director
Join our newsletter
Our weekly newsletter provides you with an exclusive insight into the world of branding and marketing. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, just fill in the form and we’ll sort the rest!