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Brand Audit

Brand Audit

Brand Audit

Use this framework to improve the strength of your brand

There are dozens of brand models offered by marketing companies, all aimed in some way at tracking the key components of awareness, use, satisfaction, recommendation and value. Some require inputs from proprietary databases and to that extent they are "black boxes" in that they can't be applied by just anybody.


Sophisticated brand audits are carried out by the likes of Interbrand and Brand Finance. They aim to measure brand strength based on the drivers of demand that lead to the purchase of a product as well as the anticipated future brand revenue and profits. These brand audits seek to put a dollar value on a brand as well as show its strength.

Many companies want a brand audit that simply shows its strengths and weaknesses. Here there are four important things to think about:

1. Awareness and usage: A strong brand achieves high scores on the components of the AIDA model - awareness, interest, desire and action. These measures would be assessed by market research for brands in the competing sector. Awareness and usage are important measures of brand strength but on their own they are not enough. It is possible to have a well known brand that is failing because it is suffering quality problems or because a competitor's product is seen to be much better.

2. Brand position: A strong brand should stand for something. It should have values that make it distinct from other brands. It should have "brand essence". For this take a look at the Bullseye for brand positioning. The strength of a brand position can be assessed by testing word associations with the brand and assessing to what extent it is differentiated from other brands in the market.

3. Brand delivery: A definition of a brand is "a promise delivered". The brand delivery strength is measured by asking customers who use the brand, their satisfaction with it on various dimensions and also their likelihood of recommending the brand (a measure of advocacy leading to the Net Promoter Score).

4. Internal brand alignment: External measures of brand strength are important. However we shouldn't forget that it is also crucially important that people within the company are aligned to the brand for otherwise they won't ensure its consistency. They also need to be trained and empowered to apply the necessary branding rules.

The various scores in the four components of the brand health wheel can be added up to produce an overall brand score (where the maximum is 100). The scores shown in the diagram are by way of example. The awareness and usage score of 75% is an average of the two components of awareness (90%) and consideration (60%). The brand positioning score of 63% is an average of the value associations and differentiation. (And so on). The score of 73 in the centre is an average of the four main metrics around the edge. You can see how a brand wheel such as this could be produced for different brands competing in a market to show which is strongest. The scores will indicate what a brand needs to do to improve its position.



All the components of the brand audit are important. However, if you have to choose the most important metrics they are:

  • Unprompted awareness 

  • The position/associations of the brand 

  • Its loyalty score. 

 

These three measures are critical to a brand’s success.


There have probably been more developments in the brand audit model than any other business framework. This reflects the massive differences between toothpaste and microchips. Toothpaste brands will be strongly driven by awareness, values and emotion whereas microchips (think Intel inside) may be driven by technology, patents, and commercial deals. The model for assessing the brand of breakfast cereal is likely to be quite different to that which is used to measure the brand name of a corporate enterprise. Brand models need to be flexible to accommodate these different requirements.


A brand audit provides valuable strategic insights into the current state of the brand, helping to identify areas that need improvement and opportunities for growth. It ensures brand consistency by examining how well the brand is communicated across various touchpoints, including marketing materials, social media, and customer interactions.


In carrying out a brand audit there will be a thorough analysis of competitors, allowing the brand to understand its competitive position and identify areas where it can differentiate itself. It also helps gauge customer perceptions of the brand, uncovering strengths and weaknesses in how the brand is perceived in the market.


A problem associated with brand audits is the dependency on quantitative metrics. Qualitative aspects, such as emotional connections with customers, should not be overlooked. Intangible elements, like brand culture, are challenging to quantify but they are a valuable part of all brands.


Despite the challenges, a well-conducted brand audit can provide significant value to organisations looking to enhance their brand presence, align with market trends, and improve customer loyalty. It's important to approach a brand audit with a clear understanding of its limitations and to use it as a tool for continuous improvement.


Some things to think about:


  • All the components of the brand audit are important. However, if you have to choose the most important metrics they are:

    • Unprompted awareness

    • The position/associations of the brand

    • Its loyalty score.

  • These three measures are critical to a brand’s success. How does your company perform on these measures relative to your direct competitors?

  • Is your brand big enough and strong enough to be measured in financial terms?

  • The bullseye for brand positioning may also help. See https://www.b2bframeworks.com/frameworks/bullseye

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