Every year organizations invest in a financial audit to assess their financial health. No one questions the good sense of a financial audit.
It’s also important to know the health of the asset that brings in the money – your brand. If you’re a for-profit company, then your ability to make money is directly tied to your brand’s strength. If you’re a non-profit or charity, then a strong brand brings good will, donations and volunteers. Even public sector organizations need funding partners, strong employees and citizen good will.
If you don’t deliberately manage your brand with care, then the open market will do it for you. The results are never good. A brand audit is the first step in managing your brand to build awareness, control reputation and drive better business results.
How do you know it’s time to audit your brand?
A brand can “drift” away from its intent gradually before anyone really notices. To make sure that your brand is always distinct, relevant and compelling, don’t wait until something goes wrong to do a brand audit.
There are nine (9) warning signs to look for:
- Strategic planning is constantly being delayed and/or any resulting marketing and communications plans are tactical, not strategic.
- Revenues (sales, donations, funding) have been slipping and money is harder to find.
- Staff can’t explain what the organization does or why.
- You’re juggling sub-brands like product brands or brands for divisions in the company and it’s all getting confusing.
- It’s getting harder to attract talent and strong employees are leaving more often.
- You don’t have a differentiation that your customers and stakeholders actually care about.
- Your messaging keeps changing because you’re never sure it’s right.
- You look and sound just like your competitors. In fact, everybody in your sector look and sound the same.
- Your market has changed. Mergers, new players, technology disruption and breakout brands – all can create a new arena that demands a change in how you position.
Ideally, a regular brand audit will uncover trouble spots before they become business problems. But even if storm clouds are already overhead, a brand audit is the first step in identifying the solution.