How to Audit Your Brand in 3 Easy Steps
So your online business is finally up and running for a couple of months now. But are you struggling to grow your online business and make more money? Or perhaps it is not going well as you would like?
If so, it is about time you do a brand audit for your business.
First off, I want to take this chance to wish you a massive congratulations for starting your online business! It truly takes courage to create something extraordinary that you can be proud to call your own.
But the thing is, starting an online business is easy and especially in today’s digital age. Growing a successful and profitable business is where the challenges come in.
According to Small Business Trends – more than 50% of small businesses fail in the first four years and 46% showed that the cause of failure is due to incompetence.
The only way you can grow a successful and profitable online business is through sales.
Yes, of all ways you can make money online these days, you chose this PARTICULAR business because you love what you do! I understand it is your passion and honestly, that is amazing because it gives you a compelling reason to keep you motivated in the long run.
But ultimately at the end of the day? If you are in business, you need to make money. Not a hobby that takes money. And it is as simple as that.
Ok, I hear you asking already, “Sera, so tell me how I can grow my online business and start making more money already!”
Enter brand audit.
What exactly brand audit is all about?
A brand audit is a process that helps you to bridge the gap between where you are currently at and where you want to go in the future. In other words, it allows you to uncover and dive deep into truly understanding of your business inside out objectively.
The insights you collect through this brand audit process will help you to understand how your brand is being perceived and whether or not still align with your brand purpose. (I.e. your mission and vision)
Why and when you should audit your brand?
Most businesses get confused between a business and a brand.
Thinking they are two separate entities but in fact, they are one. To put it simply, think of your business as the “body” and your brand as the “personality”.
Our personalities and characteristics are developed over a period of time. Who we are as a human six months ago (or even three months ago) have gone through experiences that shaped to who we are today.
Do you go through a self-reflection process at the end of each year? Well, I hope so and it goes the same for your brand too.
If you were to Google along the lines of “when should you evaluate your brand?”… you will see the majority of the articles (or at least the ones I have read) said to check-in with your brand once every 3-5 years.
Which I completely disagree with.
Your brand is just like who you are as a human. We are always evolving and it goes the same for your business. Each and every business is different and there is absolutely no way to determine what is the timeframe should you actually be evaluating your brand.
That being said, I encourage you to check-in with your brand once per quarter or at the very bare minimum, once every six months.
Think about it… so many things can change in a short span of three months.
Why wait till 3-5 years later to evaluate your brand? Which could potentially be hurting your business that you don’t know even know what the problem is?
The key benefit of a brand audit is to find out if you are headed in the right direction based on the goals and the vision you have set for your business. And if not, it will help you to identify the key areas of where you are going wrong and how can you improve it moving forward.
How to audit your brand
Pre-Work: Collect all brand documents
Before you can even begin with the audit process, the pre-work is to collect all of your brand documents which include (but not limited to) brand strategy guidelines, brand style guide, digital design, content creation materials etc.
Once you have gathered all your materials, now onto the actual steps!
To make it as simple as possible, I have created a 3-step brand audit framework which is past, present, and future.
Step 1 | Past (how was your brand perceived before)
If you have been in your business for quite some time (at least six months and up), you should have a clear understanding of your past. In terms of how your brand was being perceived by others.
If not and/or your business is less than six months old, you can jump straight to step 2.
Step 2: Present (check-in how your brand is currently being perceived)
The ONE most important mistakes I see most business owners making are assuming what they think other people think about their brand.
Please do yourself future favor and actually start surveying how other people really think of your brand. As you should know this by now, your brand is not what you say but what other people say that matters.
In order to collect accurate results (even if the truth hurts), is to start surveying people like your past clients/customers, your followers, your online friends, your team members etc.
Surveys can take place in many different ways such as via online survey forms, in-person meetings, phone/video calls, and social media.
Here are some of the basic questions you can include in your survey:
- Why did you choose [your business] over others?
- What do you know and think of when it comes to [your industry]?
- How does [your brand] make you feel emotional?
- How would you describe [your brand]?
- What problem does [your brand] solve for you?
One tip I would love to share is that when it comes to surveying other people, try asking as many open-ended questions as possible to really understand from their perspective and what language they are using.
Step 3: Future (Evaluate and start taking strategic actions)
The last step is to gather all your insights and start identifying which are the biggest (and common) issues that are stopping you from growing your business or slowing you down to achieving the results you are hoping for.
Before you start making any strategic changes to your business, just make sure that it supports your business goals and aligns with your brand mission and vision statements.
Once you have undergone this process, it will help you to bridge the gap between where you are currently at and where you want to go in the future.
Last but not least, as I have mentioned earlier, a brand audit is not something that is done once and dusted with. You still have got to check-in with your brand on a consistent basis to ensure you are on the right track to growing your online business.
What are your thoughts on brand audit?
Are you struggling to attract your ideal clients, turn them into paying clients and grow your income? Then, check out my Private One-on-One Brand Coaching.
Targeted at your specific needs and your current struggles. I meet you where you are at and come up with a personalized game plan to help you achieve your goals.
Spots are extremely limited to just x5 clients per quarter and so I would love to invite you to jump on a free 30-minute brand clarity call with me (before any commitment) and during our call, we will do some actual 1-1 coaching to help you achieve your goals.
Let’s stay connected
Are you on Instagram? Follow me @seralodesign where I post all about branding, entrepreneurship, BTS of my business and everything in between!