A brand audit is a detailed analysis of a brand — what it does well, where it can improve and how it compares to the competition. This kind of audit may also examine other factors, like how customers view your brand. At its core, a brand audit allows you to gain insight into your brand’s strengths and weaknesses and highlight growth opportunities.

Shannon Hilson, a contributor to the Rock Content blog, says that brand auditing is an essential part of any ongoing business strategy because these audits can help you stay on track toward your goals.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Hilson’s guidance on how to conduct a brand audit.

Know why you’re auditing. Are you planning an audit to address something specific, or do you simply want to make sure everything is working as efficiently as possible? Once you know your reason, Hilson says you can create a framework for your audit.

Know what you want to achieve. It’s important to outline clear goals for your brand audit. For example, you might want to clarify your target audience and their primary challenges. Or, you may want to uncover ways you could grow more awareness for your brand. Hilson says once you answer questions like these, you can begin to pinpoint your goals. Just be sure to keep your goals realistic when it comes to how fast you can achieve them.

Check in with your audience. Remember that a brand is only as strong as its audience says it is, Hilson says, so it’s important to consider what others think. She recommends interviewing internal stakeholders like company leaders and key staff members and then approaching an external audience, like clients and vendors.

Review the data. You can gain many useful insights by looking at web analytics and social media. For example, are your social campaigns attracting the prospects you want to reach? Are your emails driving traffic back to your site? Hilson says that looking at these numbers attached to your branding efforts and comparing them to what you learn from talking to your audience can tell you a lot about your public brand image.

Track results. When you conduct a brand audit, you’re trying to discover improvement areas and whether you’re getting the results you want. Make sure you put together a plan of action, Hilson says, so you know how to address each issue revealed by your audit. It’s also helpful to set a timeline complete with milestones for each task. And lastly, she recommends monitoring your progresses to assess the effectiveness of your action plan.

Your brand is what sets you apart from the competition. Whether you’re a one-person shop or you work for a large company, you can benefit from a brand audit. Consider the points above to make the most out of your next audit.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Shannon Hilson is a full-time freelance copywriter, blogger and content producer who contributes to the Rock Content blog.