Brand Strategy 101: Five Signs it’s Time for a Brand Audit

By David Card

How can you tell your company is in need of a brand audit? Well, the early signs are often easy to spot if you know where to look. Act quickly, and you’ll be able to re-engineer your brand for the here and now.

The growth of digital marketing has changed the way brands grow and develop. Markets evolve at light speed, and brand identities need to evolve with them.

While your brand identity and strategy may have delivered exceptional rewards a few years ago, it might be unfit for purpose today. And the only way you’ll be able to identify brand issues before they do damage to your business is with a diagnostic exercise — undertaken by brand and marketing experts.

Five Signs it’s Time to Audit Your Brand

1. Your Business Has Grown Substantially and Very Quickly

Any market has its budget and premium offerings. A company that grows quickly and develops a bond of trust with its customers often ends up upgrading its products or services — and charging a premium for them.

It’s not unusual for a growth company to transition from the budget end of the market to the premium end. However, many companies make the mistake of not re-engineering their brand identity to reflect this new status. And when the brand doesn’t keep up with the balance sheet, it’s usually not long before customers start to question whether or not the product is worth the expense.

2. Your Company is Confused for Your Competitors

If your brand identity has been victorious over the years, the chances are many of your competitors have imitated your approach. When this happens, consumers can confuse your brand with less reputable or effective companies in the same industry. You’ll be able to pick up the early signs of this phenomenon by closely monitoring and analyzing your marketing initiatives. It’s also important to continually solicit feedback from customers — both current and prospective.

3. Your Business Model Has Evolved

Differentiating your business model from your brand model is essential. While you should continually modify your approach to doing business, your brand needs to reflect those changes from the moment they’re implemented.

Businesses change in several ways. Frequently, they evolve gradually in line with consumer demand. Some companies change their offerings based on advances in technology, while others are continually modifying or replacing their products to maintain market share.

If you didn’t make the necessary changes at the time, there’s a reasonable chance that you’re not connecting with your target audience effectively.

4. Your Brand No Longer Represents What You’re About

Social attitudes, consumer habits, and the politics of the market economy are continually shifting. Whether it’s your brand name, your logo, or the language you use in your marketing communications, getting left behind by a changing world has been the death knell for many companies over the years.

While some detailed investigative work may be needed to get to the bottom of this problem, there will be some anecdotal evidence of this phenomenon. For example, social media comments and reactions related to your marketing initiatives should be continually monitored. This empirical data pinpoint any potential disconnect between what you think your company is about and how your customers perceive you.

5. Brand Strategy Is All About the Customer

Your organization’s brand is a massive part of your business — whether you’ve consciously developed that brand or it has evolved on its own. Be honest: Unless you’re selling a patented product, your customers can probably go elsewhere for what you’re selling. And in these cynical times of consumerism, they won’t give you their unquestioning loyalty in the way they once might have done.

The essence of an effective brand strategy is all about how you want your company to be perceived by consumers. Get to know your typical customers in detail, and engineer your brand from there. If you’re not sure whether your brand reflects the needs and preferences of your customer, a professional brand audit from a branding agency will tell you all you need to know.

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