The Softer Side of Brand Analysis

We’ve written multiple posts on how to evaluate your brand, the fact that your brand is largely out of your control because it’s defined by your audience, and how to effectively manage your brand. Brands are subjective and live in the minds of your consumer, or business, audience. It can be tough to quantify the strength or weakness of a brand, which can be endlessly frustrating for numbers-driven marketers and business owners.

Writing for Brandwatch, Kit Smith discusses a process for evaluating a brand that includes some useful objective processes and metrics that may help you get your arms around your own brand’s value. In a blog post titled, “Marketing: The 7 Step Guide to Performing a Brand Audit,” Smith shares four goals of his brand audit process:

  • Establish the performance of your brand
  • Discover your strengths and weaknesses
  • Align your strategy more closely with the expectations of your customers
  • Understand your place in the market compared to the competition

As the title of his post suggests, Smith’s audit consists of seven steps. Let’s take a brief look at each.

Create a Framework

If you want to have an objective look at your brand, start by setting up an outline for how you’ll think about your brand. Think about your target audience, the competitive landscape, your product/service portfolio, your pricing strategy, etc.

Question Your Customers

If you know where to look, there is plenty of data available about your company, your industry and your target market. Think social media data, Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Census Bureau data, etc. All of this data is certainly useful. But, keep in mind that these hard numbers won’t provide insight into some of the soft elements of your brand, such as how customers view your business at each touchpoint, what type of image you conjure up in their minds, etc.

Review Your Web Analytics

As Smith notes, “81% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase (going up to 94% in B2B cases), [so] the traffic to your website is an important, if obvious, place to start your analysis. Look at how your paid and organic channels are performing, which marketing platforms are performing best with which markets, etc. There are a number of very effective tools to do this analysis, such as Google Analytics.

Review Social Data

You probably have a target audience in mind, but is that the audience you’re actually reaching? Social data can be used to find the answer to that question, among others. Who is linking to your website? What types of words do people associate with your brand? There are plenty of great tools out there to help simplify this process—like SEMRush and Ahrefs to name just a few.

Review Sales Data

This sounds obvious, but when conducting a brand audit, sales data should be looked at in the context of the rest of the audit. What channels are doing the best job in terms of driving sales? Which demographics are most likely to purchase your product or service? At what point in viewing your website are potential customers most likely to leave your site without making a purchase?

Look at Your Competitors

This is part of a standard competitive analysis. Where do you fit relative to your competitors? Are most competitors seen as higher quality than you? As the less expensive option? As the company offering superior quality service? Avoid taking a “me too” approach to positioning yourself against the competition. Competitive positioning is about positioning yourself relative to the competition in ways that are appealing to your target audience.

Take Action and Monitor Results

The results of your audit, like any data, are only useful if you are prepared to take some action. Before you start your audit, you should have an idea of what insights you want to get out of it relative to potential actions. Should I focus on a different demographic? Should I put more resources into this marketing channel over others?

 

Keep in mind that your brand audit should be a recurring process, not a one-off event. Depending on your industry, your business, the results of your initial audit and the steps you plan to take, determine the appropriate frequency of your brand audit. Maybe it’s quarterly; maybe it’s annually; maybe less frequently.

Because brands can be difficult to measure, using a tool like Smith’s brand audit process can help provide a concrete framework for analysis. What’s most important, though, is that you recognize the importance of analyzing your brand regularly with a mind towards taking action to improve our shift your brand as needed.

 

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About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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