Saturday, November 23, 2013

Brand Audit

Brand Recipe for Success
Just as any healthy firm reviews its financial health in terms of value, it is critical to audit your brand. Such an audit will not as well-defined as generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) or the formal requirements of publicly traded companies. A thorough evaluation of your brand is necessary and requires a close examination of all ingredients. Here’s a recipe:       

Start with a pinch of Strategy - Look at your business, marketing plans, brand positioning, creative briefs (internal and agency) and media plans.

A generous amounts of Research - Positioning, brand asset studies, brand equity measurement (awareness, preference, usage, value, accessibility, relevance, differentiation, vitality, emotional connection, loyalty, associations, personality). Concept testing and customer recall & recognition. Mine big data in social media and inbound marketing for clues. Leverage research to better evaluate strategy. Carefully assess brand asset, equity, positioning research. Include qualitative and quantitative initiatives. This will help you deliver your unique flavor.

Season with external information - External forces will always have an impact on your brand. Review competitors’ press releases, advertising and promotion. Read industry analyst reports. Solicit and learn from customers, business partners, marketing vendor relationships, shareholders, investors, key customer segments/prospects, associations and trade groups.

A dash of Communications - Presentation will help to assure your brand is appetizing. Advertising and promotion materials; brand marketing elements: pricing, packaging, merchandising, distribution, direct marketing, sponsorships, flagship stores, etc.; public relations: press kits, press releases, sales collateral materials, internal communications, business cards, web site, employee training programs, employee orientation, manager training and sales force training.

Just a taste of Internal Ambassadors - Interview corporate officer, marketing employees, sales representatives, customer service personnel, front line customer contacts and general employees. These people are among the most critical brand ambassadors you have.

Human resources - The kitchen needs careful cooks with the ability to function as a team with a shared vision. The utensils of proper alignment might be organization charts, recruiting criteria, competencies/assessments, succession planning, resource allocation, systems/processes. The right people make all the difference in putting it all together.

Make sure you organize and manage all ingredients. You have what you need to assure optimal brand equity. Pay attention to components. They come together (stir, simmer, blend) for optimal value. Repeat as needed.

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