November 30th, 2012
By Guest Author
When conducting a brand audit, the simplest models often work the best – BCG’s Growth-Share matrix, a SWOT analysis, an organizational chart. These models work because they distill tons of information, identify what’s important and are easy to grasp.
Our favorite model for identifying brand strengths and weaknesses – the 3-Circle Model – is stunningly simple, too. It involves just three overlapping circles representing the brand, customers and competitors. Mapping the intersections of customer desires, brand capabilities and competitive strengths allows strategists to classify and prioritize different types of ‘value’.
The health of a brand needs to be critically maintained and managed if it’s to contribute sustained value to customers and brand owners over the long term. Of the many tools available for brand owners and managers to assess the well being of their brands, the brand audit is the most widely used and misunderstood.
When brands reach the inflection point where revenues begin to slide because customers no longer resonate with the brand’s value proposition, it’s time to put your finger on the pulse of your brand and determine the long-term outlook for brand health.
When brands reach the tipping point where sales begin to slide because customers no longer resonate with the brand’s value proposition, it’s time to put your finger on the pulse of your brand and determine the long-term outlook for brand health.
Brands have life cycles. They begin with excitement and promise, enter their growth phase, reach a plateau, and then slowly lose relevance as customers move on to the latest and greatest new thing. This is as natural as life itself. That’s why it’s a good idea to monitor brand health along the way–before sales slip.
Brand managers these days are heads down managing the urgent daily business of the brand. Rarely are they offered the opportunity to step back and make an informed high altitude assessment of brand health.
More thoughts on brand audits and auditors. Brand auditors should assess the strength of an organization’s mission and vision and the strength of its brand’s essence, promise, and personality (especially in relationship to the organization’s stakeholders’ perceptions of the organization). As part of the process, the auditor should investigate how congruently each of the following groups or sources articulate or manifest these organizational and brand attributes:
Last week I began taking a closer look at brand audits. Picking up the topic again today, you can expect a qualified brand audit company to investigate the following areas of brand management:
- Does this company have a deep understanding of its consumers’ values, attitudes, needs, desires, hopes, aspirations, fears and concerns?
- Has this company rigorously analyzed its competition?
- Which of the following types of brand research has the company conducted: brand positioning qualitative and quantitative, brand asset studies, brand equity measurement and monitoring, brand extension, logo recall, and recognition?
- How robust is each of these research studies?
- How are the company and each of its competitors positioned in the marketplace?