When you take a look at your business and start stripping things away, the processes, the products, the offerings, what are you left with? The answer should be your brand.
A good brand communicates who you are, what you stand for, why you do what you do, and the personality of your business. It’s the difference between buying a Rolex or a watch that was bought in the poundshop. Both of them tell the time but… one of them is a Rolex!
I would forgive many of you for thinking that your brand is fine and doesn’t make a difference. However, experience tells me you’d be wrong.
Pick any sector and look at the companies that are on top. I’m willing to bet that the VAST majority of them take their brand seriously. When there’s little difference between the products and services from two companies, it’s invariably the brand that splits the difference (and often your competitors are commanding a higher price point into the bargain).
What’s doing all that? The answer is probably the brand.
Despite what most people think, your brand ISN’T your logo. No, your brand is every single visible touch point in your business. From your website and advertising to the appearance of your staff and the way they talk to customers. All of that is your ‘brand’.
With so much of your time going into delivering results, the brand can sometimes get stuck. Old collateral, a logo that’s been around since ‘95. It can really pay as a business to take a step back to see what you are actually conveying about yourself through your branding.
And we call this self-reflection ‘The Brand Audit’.
The Brand Audit is a way of looking at your business and taking appropriate steps to ensure that you are still relevant to the market. It keeps you from becoming outdated, outperformed, and out of pocket.
So what steps can we take in order to keep yourself IN pocket?
WHAT ARE WE LOOKING AT:
- Social media
- Internal material
- Web analytics
- Employee surveys
- Client surveys
- Novelty branded pens
- Xmas card mail out
- Your dog
Ok so maybe your dog isn’t on our list of priorities (but #officedog is worth checking on social media!) when we’re double checking your material, but it really emphasises the point that your brand is created through a combination of all your brand’s activity. Yes, even what you have decided to send out as merchandise or a Xmas gift to clients. All of these formats are the blocks that you use to build your brand and influence how others perceive you.
How we’d do that: Gathering as much information and examples as we can to fairly assess your current brand.
IT’S WHAT YOU SAY AND HOW YOU SAY IT:
First and foremost, we want to make sure that your language is appropriate for the market you are in. B2B businesses have a very different way of talking to their clients than a B2C brand.
A simple analogy: explaining something clearly and in detail to someone who is looking for directions… only to realise they only speak Greek.
We’re not looking just at the effectiveness of your language but also how your tone of voice is coming across. Are your customers feeling bored? Patronised?
This isn’t purely down to just your copy or perhaps videos. The use of logos, websites and graphic design is adding to the quality being conveyed in your message. We want to make sure that the cumulative decisions made around your brand pull together to actually create the characteristics that you want for your brand.
It’s much more reassuring to deal with a brand that is clearly communicating their message in a desirable manner.
And in Greek (unless you’re fluent… but still… no need to be so short).
How we’d do that: Are you speaking to your audience in a way that they can understand? And are you saying it in a way that builds up a reputable character? We’d review your messaging and suggest where it could be improved.
IS YOUR BRAND CLIENT FOCUSED?
You know that one person in the group chat that only talks about themselves –
I am this. This is what I do. Aren’t I great?! – Don’t be that guy!
Now consider those qualities in relation to your brand and you can see it’s a trap that’s easy to fall into. You are focused on what you are, instead of what you can do for your customer.
Ensure that your messaging is geared towards the benefit you can bring to the customer and make the conversations about them. Your impression is going to be far more persuasive and less like a hard sell.
Engagement over advertising.
How we’d do that: Ensuring you are communicating information that resonates with your audience, rather than talking at people who don’t care.
HOW OLD IS YOUR CONTENT?:
Often, it’s the case for many companies that growth is the priority. But as you explode onto the market your brand somehow can get lost. It feels less of a priority to update something that has previously worked so well and brought you this expansion.
But repeat this back to me:
“What got you here is not going to get you there.”
Think of it as putting expired dog food back on the shelf. Providing recycled content that appears out of date decreases your apparent value and your prospective clients are almost certainly going to put it back.
I’m not feeding that to the office dog and neither are your clients going to invest in using your service/product if it looks out of date.
How we’d do that: Looking at the age and current relevance of your content.
HOW DO YOU LOOK ON THE MARKET?:
“You have 10 seconds to make the right impression.”
You want to ensure you are suited for success, giving your clients the reassurance that you can do the job. But when you walk out of the boardroom and you see your competitors in the exact same suit…
It’s not enough to just look the part. You have to understand your brand positioning. What separates you from the crowd and can people understand this quickly enough?
How we’d do that: Looking not only at your product but how it looks on the shelf, physically or virtually! What are your competitors doing? Where is your differentiation? Do you even know?
There are various things that we are assessing about your brand and how you have chosen to represent yourself to date.
It’s an incredibly vulnerable process to go through. As individuals we attach a lot of self-worth to what we do. So, having your livelihood put under a microscope can be very exposing.
But with tact and an expert eye, there is trust that your brand will reap the benefits of an audit, creating a starting point for your new brand story.
And if we ask to see pictures of your dog. Trust us… It’s purely professional 🙂
Saltwell – Designer