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?
- Is there a marketing plan?
- Is there a brand plan?
- Are those plans aligned with and integrated into company business plans?
- Does the company have a future vision and a well thought out plan to get there?
- Is it clear which marketing objectives, actions, and vehicles will provide the greatest leverage in achieving the long-term vision?
- Is there a brand positioning statement? Does it include the following: target consumer, differentiating brand benefit, brand essence, brand personality?
- Do most employees know the brand’s positioning (verbatim or paraphrased)?
- Was the brand’s key differentiating benefit based on an analysis of consumer needs, organizational strengths (core competencies), and competitive weaknesses?
- Does the brand own a benefit that is highly differentiated, compelling, and believable?
- What are the brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
Brand Identity Standards & Systems
- How robust is the company’s brand identity system?
- How easy is it for the company’s employees and business partners to use?
- What brand identity controls does the company have in place?
- Is the company’s brand architecture simple and understandable?
- Which of the following brand identity components does the company use in its system: name, logo, icon, tag line, type style, colors, shapes, symbols, visual style, mnemonic (sound) device, brand voice, music, animation, etc.?
- Does the company have co-branding standards?
- How accurately and consistently have these standards been applied across all internal and external communications?
- Do the ads break through the marketplace clutter?
- Do they powerfully communicate the brand’s promise and personality?
- Do they include the “reasons why” (differentiating benefit proof points)?
- Do they connect with the target consumer on an emotional level?
- Do they tap into the consumers’ beliefs, values, aspirations, hopes and fears?
- Do they include components that are “ownable”?
Organization Design and Internal Brand Building
- Is the company market driven or does it have a traditional manufacturing company design?
- Does the company’s culture support the brand’s essence, promise, and personality?
- Is the company’s marketing function centralized or distributed?
- What mechanisms has the company put in place to integrate its marketing?
- Are all of the required marketing functions present?
- Are brand objectives integrated into company and common objectives?
- Do the company’s recruiting, training, performance management, compensation, succession planning, business planning, budgeting, resource allocation, and other systems support brand building? Are they designed to help the company deliver upon its brand’s promise?
- Does the company screen job applicants for their alignment with the brand’s essence, promise and personality?
- Is the organization a “learning organization”?
- What are the brand’s assets?
- Is the brand over or under-extended (or both)?
- What are the most promising areas for brand extension?
- What processes does the organization have in place for brand extension? How does it safeguard against inappropriate extension?
Marketing Employee Competency
- How competent are the company’s marketers?
- Which skill sets do they possess and which ones are missing?
- Has the company augmented missing internal skill sets by augmenting them with external sources?
- What are its external marketing vendors’ strengths and weaknesses?
- Do the company’s marketing employees (and it senior managers and all of its employees) exhibit a marketing mindset? That is, do they profoundly understand its customers and sincerely and passionately strive to meet their wants and needs?
You can find more on brand audits here.
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Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education