When and How to Audit Your Brand

How to keep your brand fresh.

Wendy Ruyle 1.07.2014

You went through all the proper steps to brand your organization. You put in the work to figure out the strategy and you created an identity system that sings. Now, how do you maintain it? A regular brand audit will help you keep it fresh.

When

It’s been awhile

If it has been more than a year since your brand launch, it’s time to review. How has the launch gone? What benchmarks did you set? Did you reach them? At least once a year you should take a fresh look at your marketing efforts and see what progress you’ve made.

You’ve changed your offerings, leadership, or vision

Do you have a new product? Are you offering a new service? Is your market evolving and is that changing your customer? If your business is shifting, you may need to make a shift in your brand. Review your communications to identify if they still resonate with your audiences.

Your staff is getting “creative”

If your staff is making new PowerPoints using Comic Sans and adding 20 colors to your palette, you probably don’t have the right tools in your toolbox. A brand audit will help you figure out what forms, presentations, web pages, and other customer touchpoints you need to add to your arsenal.

How

Review your collateral

Take every piece of paper or electronic file that you share with your customers and lay them all out on a table. Do they look like they all belong to the same organization? Do they all live up to your standard of quality? Do they all have the same key messages? Do they follow the brand guidelines you established when you created your brand? What’s missing? Upgrade the pieces that fall short of ideal and make a plan to add the pieces you need.

Review your online presence

Do a careful review of your website, blog, social media pages, and directory listings. It’s easy to create content on the web and just as easy to get off brand. Is your logo and avatar consistent from site to site and page to page? Do all your blog post topics fit your area of expertise? Is your online presence compatible with your offline brand? Is the tone of voice consistent? Are all your photos up-to-date? Is your contact information listed correctly in the online directories? Take the time to review and refine on a regular basis or it will become too overwhelming to tackle.

Get some feedback

Do a survey of your staff. Ask them what tools they wish they had. Ask them what your customers are asking for. And ask them what your competitors have that you don’t have. Do the same thing with customers or clients.

Make a plan

The findings from an audit will mean nothing if you don’t take action. Make a plan for upgrading out-of-date material and adding new approaches where necessary.

Regular audits and, more importantly, the work you do in response to the findings will help you keep your brand fresh as the day you launched it.

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