A brand delivers an experience at each interaction with the marketplace. This is front-and-center in April 2023 with the Bud Light controversy, wherein influencer campaigns are receiving both praise and protest, and company leadership is claiming that some of the marketing decisions were not approved by executive leadership.
Understanding how the market responds to the key elements of your brand strategy – the emotional benefits that your brand delivers, the three things that your brand means to your market, your brand personality traits, your promise, your brand story, your brand name – will enable you to understand whether you’re communicating effectively and which areas need improvement.
Following this step-by-step brand audit process will enable you to understand how your market feels about that brand experience – both your internal market (your stakeholders) and your external market (your customers and prospects).
The first step in your brand audit process is to create a brand summary. If you’ve completed a written brand strategy, this is simply a list of the key components. You’ll use this to compare to the results of your internal and external surveys.
If you’re not sure how to answer some of these questions, you may want to take more time to fully define your brand strategy before conducting your brand audit. Or, you may want to have your team work together to complete the brand summary.
Here are elements you may wish to include:
The survey complexity and the number of participants will depend upon your company situation. You’ll want sufficient detail to evaluate the true perception and a sample that is large enough to ensure that the results are relevant.
First, list the people who can participate in your survey. Then, determine your survey format. You have a number of options to choose from.
Some suggested questions are below. They’re designed to be open-ended rather than multiple choice or ratings, so that you gain true unsolicited, uncolored feedback. These work well with a fairly small group of survey recipients (as you’ll need to manually evaluate each response and assign it a rating afterward), but it will lead to more accurate, actionable results.
If you have a large survey sample, use a rating system from 1-10.
You don’t need to collect a survey from every recipient. Instead, you’re aiming for a “statistically valid sample size,” or the number of responses you need so you can confidently apply those results to your entire group of customers. Statistics is a complex field, and consumer marketers must take into account all sorts of calculations to accurately measure and apply their results. There are a number of key metrics for a marketer to consider, including:
When your “total number of people” (A) is very small, you need a higher percentage of them to respond (B) so you can be confident in your results. If A is very large, you can confidently use a smaller percentage. Statisticians and researchers use the term “confidence rating” to indicate how statistically accurate a survey’s results can be considered. Ninety-five percent is a standard confidence goal.
Here’s how to calculate:
It’s very difficult to estimate a response rate if you haven’t conducted a similar campaign with a similar group of people. Here are some tips:
As you get ready to launch your survey, here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:
After you’ve collected your survey results, it’s time to analyze them. Your end goal is to determine whether your existing brand matches the market’s perception and your team’s perception of your brand. If it doesn’t, you’ll want to identify the disconnects.
If you’d like to create analyses and reports for separate groups (such as customers, prospects, vendors, employees, etc.), complete this task for each group. The first step is to determine how you’ll rate the responses. This depends upon the survey type and the volume of responses, but your end goal is to evaluate how well the majority of the responses reflect your brand summary.
If you used open-ended questions, read through all of your questions and determine the average rating for each question. Rate the response to each question based on the following scale:
5 = the response is an extremely strong match to your brand strategy
3 = the response is a general match to your brand strategy
1 = the response does not match your brand strategy at all
Now, take a look at the different groups you sent the questions to. Record the average rating for each group. Do you see any trends? What can you conclude from the data?
For each group, determine your results. If your audit matched your brand summary, congratulations! Keep up the good work. If not, continue to determine how you can strengthen your brand. Then apply those changes to the materials and messages you use in the market, along with your operational requirements (because your brand is an experience – not just a logo or creative).
If you want additional guidance, check out our comprehensive brand strategy toolkit.
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