From time to time it’s worth taking yourself away from your work and having a think about your brand. Does it still “work”? Is it still serving you? Does it still resonate with your customers? How has it changed? Have you done (or not done) something which isn’t “on brand” and needs fixing?
These are important questions and also the reasons why it’s worth taking a long hard look at what you’re doing and being really honest. You don’t want to sway off plan or forget something crucial.
A brand audit is pretty much you and a notebook asking yourself some crucial questions. Make it more fun and order lunch at the same time or ask someone to join you and help you out with an unbiased viewpoint and a slice of cake. Give yourself a chunk of time. An hour will do if you’re in a rush. Enough to assess if things are as they should be. The longer you give yourself then the more improvements you can think of and more ideas you can have and plan.
So what do you do once you’ve had your first cup of tea and demolished your Victoria sponge? Here’s your action plan:
First, you can start by asking yourself some questions. Yes you’ll want to look at all the visual stuff – but not yet. How can you know if it’s doing the job well if you don’t know what it’s meant to do? So take your time and consider these:
- What do you do?
- What are your brand values?
- What’s your brand personality?
- How do you make people feel?
- What’s your USP?
- What do you promise people that you will do for them?
- Who is your audience?
- What do they think of you?
- What matters to you about your business?
- What is your vision for the future?
Once you’ve identified the answers – and this can take some time and maybe even research to answer – decide if…
- how you appear is inline with how you are?
- if how you make people feel is as expected – or not?
- if you are fulfilling on that promise?
- if your audience is the right audience?
- if they think the right things?
- if what matters to you is evident through your business?
- if your values and personality shine through?
Once you’ve identified any areas for improvement, you’re ready to think about your touch points.
Touch points are those moments when another human being has a connection with your brand. When they experience an interaction with your business. This could be when they visit your website to read your blog. Maybe they arrived there from Twitter? Perhaps they followed a link through Facebook and ended up at your group? Maybe they saw an advert in a magazine, met you at a networking event, received a recommendation from a friend, read your comment on someone else’s blog, heard your Podcast or radio interview, found you on Google, saw your book on the shelf, received your product as a gift, heard someone else talking about you on the bus… there are a LOT of possibilities and these are ALL touch points.
So make a list. Pull out the visual designed bits. Your logo, your stationery, your website, your Facebook page cover, your Instagram posts, your banner, your uniform, your printed ribbon, your advert, your logo printed cakes and balloons, your postcards, your logo, your style sheet, your wardrobe. Be aware of the non “designed” elements – the way you write your emails, your voicemail recording, meeting people in real life, your workspace, the corridor outside, your videos, your client talking to her friend in the school yard about you, your policies, the systems you use, your customer service, your testimonials, your affiliations…
If you get stuck with this then first think of all of the things that you’ve had designed, the obvious items. Then think about the process your clients go through before they know who you are, through working with you to what happens once you stop working together. This should help you to create a spider diagram of touch points that you can look at.
Once you have this, then you can look at each touch point in turn and determine if it’s aligned with what you’re all about – and if it is, how could it be improved? If it isn’t – what can you do about it? Does it demonstrate at least one of your values or tie in with your personality, or create a certain feeling?
Look at all of the visual stuff. Does it look like it belongs together? Is anything out of date? Is there anything key missing from anywhere? Is there consistency between all items and are you using your logo, fonts and colours consistently?
If not, what changes do you need to make?
Does your website and social media reflect your brand? Not just in visuals but in the way that you talk, the words that you use, the way you come across to others.
Then finally, pour yourself another cup and make a brand new to do list to help you improve your brand. Include everything that needs to be done – and break it into individual actions so you can achieve it.
Ta dah! That’s your brand audit complete 🙂
Let me know what changes you’re going to implement..
If you feel that you need more information and help to get your brand rocking, then why not join us in Love Your Brand? It’s a five step programme to help you go from a brand that you don’t feel passionate about to one that makes you feel amaaaaaazing. Or from nothing to something marvellous. Find out more…