This time of year, we are looking to the holidays, hoping to survive and all the while setting our sights on a successful 2018. The end-of-year pace makes it difficult to allocate the time necessary to plan for a successful new year. But it is an important time to evaluate, organize and streamline our processes to make our businesses run smoother. It is also a perfect time of year to apply these same practices to our brand stories through a brand audit. We are not talking a major overhaul but an opportunity to review how your business and customer base has evolved in the last three quarters, fine-tuning those things necessary to help your brand story stay current and authentic.
A Mini Brand Audit
One great tool for accomplishing this task is a Mini Brand Audit. Ask these six questions of yourself, staff and others to find out whether you need to refresh your brand.
- Is your brand messaging consistent across all platforms and does it echo the values of your company?
- Have you evaluated the analytics of all your branding platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc. to see if the demographics that you are currently marketing to are the same people coming to your social media platforms? Does your target market need adjusting?
- Are you still able to differentiate your brand from the competition? Can you articulate your distinctive selling points?
- Do your current logo and tagline reflect the current state of your business? Are they outdated?
- Have you added new products and/or services that are not reflected in your overall messaging? Would this change the consumer’s perspective of your brand?
- Have you asked for customer feedback on your brand? Knowing what works for your customer should be at the foundation of any change to your brand. What feedback are you getting from your customers on social media and your website?
- Do you have the time and bandwidth and/or perspective to do this on your own? Might an outsider’s perspective of your brand help get you where you need to go?
Do You Need a Full Brand Audit?
If any of the items above need to be addressed, it might be time to take your company through a full brand auditing process. Do not freak out and run through your office or store screaming, “I don’t have time for this!” It does not need to be a laborious task, though quality of input in = quality of the end-product. Do not try to take on a full brand audit completely on your own, as you will run the risk of skewing the data with your own biased opinions of your brand. Instead, work with a team of individuals inside or outside of your company that can help you gather information, evaluate, and form an objective conclusion. If you want to take a serious look at your brand messaging and overall brand strategies, seek out a firm that specializes in that area. For the most part, you get what you pay for. True experts in this area will make your job much easier and you will end up with an actionable plan that will save you money in the long run.
Saving Time and Money
The bottom line is: if you know how to tell your story through strong and impactful brand story, you will save time and money with those you hire to do your social media, public relations, graphic designers and the like. In other words, this brand audit and messaging exercise is the conversation you must have before you attempt any new advertising, PR, or social media strategies.
Finding planning time may be difficult, but you will thank yourself as you launch into the new year with new confidence in your brand.