If you are a professional brand manager, brand director, or brand management consultant, then you fully understand the importance of periodic brand audits. In this article, we are going to discuss the following topics:
- What is a brand audit?
- The purpose of brand auditing – why should you audit your brand?
- Primitive brand auditing techniques
- Professional brand auditing techniques
- Cost and timeframe of brand audits
- Doing your own brand audit with Brand Auditor
Let’s get started!
1. What is a brand audit?
In a professional context, brand audit refers to either or both of the following:
Brand awareness measurement
The research and measurement of how many people know about a brand among specific groups of people. The industry-standard way of brand awareness measurement is done through market research and public surveying. As market research might be too expensive for small businesses, alternative but significantly less accurate solutions measurements based on social media reach, website traffic, and unreliable estimations based on these metrics.
Our Brand Awareness & Perceptions Audit is also based on mass market-research and surveying.
When measuring brand awareness, collecting maximum amount of feedback is recommended. If your market consists of 10,000,000 potential customers, you can get indicative insights based on asking 1,000,000 (10%) of your audience. If let’s say 19% out of 1,000,000 respondents know your brand then you can safely expect similar results from the other 90%. Working with small number of responses makes the brand awareness measurement results unreliable.
Customer perceptions analysis
Analyzing the perceptions, opinions and feedback of a large group of people from your target customer segments can answer the following questions:
- What your potential customers like about your brand?
- What your potential customers dislike about your brand?
Customer perception analysis can research several aspects of branding and marketing communications. Brand Auditor has specialized audits for:
2. The purpose of brand auditing – why should you audit your brand?
The primary reason for evaluating a brand is to find out how people in various segments of the target audience perceive the company, its brand, products, and marketing. Depending on a number of internal and external factors, such as market complexity and competition – large corporations invest in regular, or even continuous brand evaluation campaigns.
Brand auditing has several purposes, as insights can answer a multitude of questions.
Brand auditing to troubleshoot marketing issues
Startups and growing businesses often face negative market responses when entering new markets. To eliminate guesswork and optimize marketing strategy based on data, doing a brand audit can reveal mission-critical insights, such as:
- What potential customers like and dislike about the company
- What are the reasons potential customers would buy / not buy from the company
- What changes potential customers would welcome from the company?
As you see, evaluating a brand is very similar to a market research campaign. Depending on the level of audit and research framework, audits can be configured to examine specific aspects of branding and to answer specific questions.
Brand auditing to optimize marketing communications
Marketing communications is a core part of brand management. Companies with extensive campaigns regularly optimize their strategy to reach their target audiences more smoothly and connect with their ideal customer in a seamless way.
As social trends and communication techniques are changing increasingly fast, getting feedback from target audiences is an excellent practice to learn what people expect from a company.
Brand auditing to get feedback from the public
Recognized brands have an enormous responsibility to maintain a good public opinion. Starting from the late 2010s, startups and small businesses also recognized the importance of corporate goodwill and public opinion.
Companies with a positive public opinion sell easier, as their trust, reputation, and social values have been already established.
Brand auditing for strategic rebranding
When a brand gets old, and marketing communication strategies become obsolete, rebranding is necessary.
When preparing the rebranding strategy, companies carry out a number of brand audits and brand evaluations to identify the valuable and outdated aspects of their current brand.
Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a brand is the basis of a rebranding strategy, even for small businesses.
3. Primitive brand auditing techniques
Large companies and international brands have tailor-made brand auditing procedures that are mostly based on one industry-standard market research framework.
As market research is often too expensive for small and medium-sized businesses, entry-level marketing consultants and branding freelancers came up with their own brand audit “solutions”.
Among many others, these brand evaluation practices include the following:
- Essay-like documents reflecting the sole opinion of the auditor
- Conclusions made on the website and social media statistics
- Presentations based on publicly available market statistics
- Brand audit based on social listening statistics
- “AI” based brand audits
The main problem with such brand audits is the lack of useful information value. These audits offer little to no consumer perception insights.
4. Professional brand auditing techniques
Industry-standard brand audit frameworks have several things in common, but all are based on extensive market research insights.
Basic website and social media statistics can only show data that has been recorded, therefore cannot answer questions like why most people did not engage with the brand?
If a campaign had 1,000,000 views and 10,000 engagements then it means that 99% of the targeted audience ignored the campaign.
Professional brand audits can target millions of people in the same audience, and reveal answers regarding how to improve the success of future marketing communications.
5. Cost and timeframe of brand audits
Brand audit prices vary from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Depending on the professional level, the auditor, market research details, and the target audience, brand audits can be split to 3 major categories:
Unprofessional brand audits by freelancers
Freelancers and amateur brand consultants will offer brand audits for as low as $50. These can be found on Fiverr, Upwork, and similar freelance marketplaces. The information value of these audits is close to nothing.
Semi-professional brand audits by consultants and small marketing agencies
More established brand and marketing professionals will offer brand audits typically between $1,000 and $5,000 – depending on the scope of the audit, and how much they guess a client can pay.
Despite being better formatted and more well written, these brand audits offer similarly low information value like basic freelancer-made audits.
Market research-based brand audits
Market research-based brand prices are linked to market research costs. Market research costs depend on the number of respondents, response rate, and survey distribution cost that is influenced by the survey region, size of the audience, and other market characteristics.
As these audits are offered by professional market research companies, a $10,000 starting price for a 10,000-response brand audit can be expected. Costs between $0.75 – $1 per valid response are considered to be industry average. The advantage of these brand audits is that customers know what they pay for, and can configure their scope based on their requirements.
At Brand Auditor, we also offer the same system, however, our business model was tailored to fit the budget of small businesses – with a basic price of $500 for 2,000 responses.
6. Doing your own brand audit with Brand Auditor
If you are interested to use Brand Auditor to evaluate your brand and marketing communications, you can learn more about the procedure here:
Audit selection and configuration
The process starts with selecting your audit type and configuring the scope, targeting, required insights, and market research size. You are most welcome to contact us for further information at any time before placing your order.
Placing your order, submit your requirements
Once your brand audit configuration is done, you can go ahead and place your order by completing your payment. Your brand audit configurations will be automatically picked up by our system which will pre-configure a number of market research campaigns on the platforms of our surveying and data collection partners.
Human review and approval of your research
Each audit configuration is reviewed by a market research expert before launching. In case of any errors or issues, like not enough respondents available as per your config, our colleague will get back to you. It is recommended to contact us before placing your order so we can check and confirm your requirements before making a payment.