Conducting a brand audit is an essential step for all marketers, whether your organization is a burgeoning startup or an established enterprise. Reviewing your online (and offline) performance gives you a bird's-eye view of things that are working well and areas that could use some attention.
Additionally, a review of your brand can help you:
- See where you stand competitively
- Determine who your customers are
- Meet your customers' expectations
- Refine your strategy moving forward
Your priorities will dictate your approach to the brand audit. If you're focused on a digital presence, you might want to emphasize analytics; meanwhile, brick-and-mortar operations may stand to gain more from robust customer surveys. Either way, every marketer should attempt to examine the following areas during a brand audit.
Your Google Analytics account can provide important insight into your website's performance over time. Traffic is an obvious metric to monitor, but make sure to also look at traffic sources, bounce rates and time on page to determine how engaged your audience is with your content.
Start by comparing these metrics to those from the previous year. If you see a significant difference, try to narrow it down and figure out if there was any period when traffic dropped or spiked — and what event may have caused it. Mysterious lulls in traffic may be attributed to changes in search algorithms, new competition, market saturation or a stale brand, so be sure to explore all possibilities.
If you made any updates to your site in the past year, look at the "before" and "after" performance figures to see if there was any effect on your web metrics. This is a key step because it lets you see ROI. It's important to always record baseline metrics and conduct quarterly audits to measure efficacy.
The best way to find out what people think of you is simply to ask. Businesses in possession of customer email addresses can send surveys directly to the source. If you choose this approach, consider adding a discount or promo code as a reward for filling them out.
A survey gives you the opportunity to ask very specific questions of your customers, but not all companies will be able to cull significant information from a survey. To cast a wider net, consider an online poll, social media poll or Net Promoter Score survey. These ask short, standardized questions that may be easier to answer (and are therefore more likely to be completed) than a detailed survey.
Sales and Conversion Data
Finally, a brand audit will help you determine the conversion rates for each of your marketing efforts. Distinguishing sales by source — including outbound, organic, ads, email and social — is essential for any business. If you're already set up to measure ROI by area, you should be ready to crunch the numbers.
If you're not sure where your sales stem from, then it's time to start keeping track. You can see sales on a granular level by using a customer relationship management (CRM) system such as Salesforce or Oracle, or by soliciting help from experienced marketing professionals. You can maximize your most effective channels and improve — or eliminate — those that aren't bringing in new customers. The more you know, the better off you'll be.