A brand audit is an evaluation of everything that makes up a firm’s identity and the impression it leaves. It’s a close look at the firm’s look and feel, messages, voice, marketing materials and online presence. Determining how your brand is being perceived in the marketplace and by your clients is an important step toward improving your marketing strategy.
While solid, effective branding should withstand the test of time, virtually all firms should at some point take a step back to look at and listen to how their brand is being perceived, as well as how the firm may have changed or needs to change to keep up in the marketplace. Maybe the firm has evolved to serve a different demographic; maybe what’s important to the demographic it serves is different than it used to be. Often, firms change or move in different directions than they’d originally planned, yet don’t take the time to update how they communicate those changes. Just as often, firms’ brands become outdated, and no longer serve their market.
The stronger your brand, the more you’ll attract your target market, because you’ll speak directly to what’s important to them. A strong brand resonates with its audience.
What are the components of a strong brand?
Brand message. Your brand should be based on three to five key messages that speak to your target audience,. Your entire firm should be well versed in those messages so everyone speaks similarly about the firm. Knowing who your target market is and communicating about what’s important to them forms the base of your brand message platform.
Visual identity. Your visual brand identity is the look and feel of all your collateral including your logo, colors and design of all your materials.
Materials and communications. It’s imperative that your website and all of your materials look like they come from the same firm, speak your brand messages and adhere to your visual identity.
Online presence. In addition to having a quality website that speaks your messages, adheres to your visual identity and lends credibility to your firm, a solid brand carries over to the voices your firm uses on social media sites such as LinkedIn.
Taking advantage of a brand audit can help you determine whether you need to update your messaging or visual identity, your materials and/or online presence. You may determine that you’re right on track and doing just fine, you may decide you need to rebrand the firm or just refresh certain components of your marketing. A brand audit can help you decide what direction to take with your marketing strategy.