The brand audit

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In this episode, I talk about the brand audit. What it is, why it's valuable and how I approach it.

Show notes

The Twitter thread that started it

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Assess the brand both internally and externally, which means:

Internally

  • Looking at the current brand strategy, if one exists
  • Understanding how the brand management team works, if there is any, where does the brand live in the organization? Who is responsible? What are the KPIs related to the brand?
  • Looking at the current insights around consumer and category: what do they know about their customers? About the perception and reputation? About the competitors
  • Looking at the marketing funnel: how does the organization structure its marketing efforts? What channels are used? What channels aren't? Why? How does that affect brand awareness?
  • Legal protection

Externally

  • Actually looking at competitive space and seeing how the brand is positioned, but also visually distinctive
  • Share of search
  • Looking at the consumer and trying to understand their specific views of the category, of the company, etc...
  • Looking at the visual identity both internally and externally, how consistent is the style applied? What are the main distinctive assets? How do they hold up against competitors? What are the current brand guidelines and how do they hold up against the actual living brand?
  • Looking at the verbal identity, the messaging: what is the tone-of-voice? Is it consistent? What are the key messages? Do they match the underlying business strategy and brand strategy?
  • After a thorough analysis of all these aspects, I usually also include a bunch of recommendations, very often these can very specific but also top-level
    • for example in a lot of organizations, marketing is mostly focussed on in-market buyers, on conversion. This is an evolution we have seen in a lot of organizations. Digital is more easily measurable so very often a lot more popular. In this case, recommendations around 'brand-building and the KPI's involved such as salience, fame, etc... can be very valuable to the organization
    • The work of Les Binet & Field is very interesting in this area, but also a lot of the work from the EB institute is crucial to show a different perspective on marketing
    • it's also very often about giving the brand team some solid, externally validated fuel they can use to get more resources internally to build the brand
    • so work with the team - don't be opposed, make sure you truly understand their frustrations. I usually do a bunch of interviews with different people involved on the brand level
    • obviously, very often, there can be a follow-up project if the conclusion is that the brand is not distinctive enough, the messaging is not aligned, etc... BUT. In the brand audit phase, it's not about lining up a sale, I try to detach myself from any pure execution ideas and give recommendations that can be solved in different ways
    • So no: 'your brand sucks - let me fix it' conclusions
    • the service and value is in the assessment - if you take this serious
    • Another interesting follow-up can be setting up a baseline measurement for things like awareness, distinctive assets uniqueness (the grid) - so the brand team can keep working and measure those KPIs along the way.
  • Five questions from JWT
    • Where are we today?
    • Why are we here?
    • Where might we be?
    • How do we get there?
    • Are we getting there?

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