What do you do best? What are you passionate about doing? What can you make money doing? Answering these three key questions will lay the foundation for your Hedgehog Concept. They are also a great jumping-off point for you to start taking a closer look at what your brand is, and what you want it to be. Enter, the Brand Audit.
A brand audit takes an organization’s current brand temperature from its personnel, existing communications, clients and competition or similar category set. There are a number of tools you can use to measure that temperature, including focus groups, market/audience surveys, internal workshops or deep interviews. Each works to determine perceptions of the organization, its goals, its audience, brand awareness and value, evaluation of past branding activities, knowledge of key corporate or brand messages and other key points.
A real value of doing this exercise up front is that it gives us a starting point for a brand proposition, especially in getting a handle on the various brand features and benefits. It also helps point us in the direction we need to go to articulate the brand and functions as a "gap analysis" to direct our research and brand workshop.
Some quick tips about the audit:
► If you can, complete these exercises from the perspectives of a broad range of employees (customer service, production, managers, etc.) so no information is missed or skewed. You want the right answers, not just the boss’s answer.
► Try to complete the audit in one session so your motivation to do so stays high — it’s hard to get back to the same headspace you were in once a few days go by
► Once complete, let it sit for a week and revisit it with the same team. Does it feel accurate? Did you miss anything?
► When all is said and done, flag which issues you want to work on in order of priority: Immediate, High, Moderate, Low. Not all of your staff will agree on which issues are priority, so the need to balance all your issues is important when making those decisions.
► Just because you think your brand is one way, may not make it true. Be open to all opinions and try not to get defensive–you need to create a nurturing environment so that the truth can have room to breathe.
► While you can go on to articulate the brand you aspire to, then position it in the marketplace, your current brand is no more than what people think of you, both those inside and outside your organization. The fruit of your brand audit should be focused primarily by what they think and say.
Coming out of this exercise, you should be able to analyze the data to see where the holes are in your brand management, communications and media strategies. You should also be able to fill in this blank: “When I’m not in the room, this is what my target audience says about my brand ______________________________.”
If you don’t know what to fill in — or if you don’t like what goes there — get in touch. It’s time for some brand clarification and management.
Fill out the form below and we’ll send you our free Brand Audit Questionnaire that you can use as a starting point in your brand clarification.