Marketing from the Inside Out

In order to make your company, its services and products, more valuable a business must identify their customers, locate them, then show them how they stand out from the crowd – and nothing is more crowded than today’s marketplace.

Businesses that align their messaging with the marketplace increase their value and market position. That’s why it is imperative to always start a project by conducting a brand audit and developing a strategic plan, which is the backbone of any marketing initiative.

Establishing an effective marketing strategy with materials that are focused and produce results is a process. This process is imperative, as it creates a solid foundation off of which the business can be built and growth can be measured.

This process gets results — high-caliber results that come from focusing on strategy, opportunity and foresight. One-off designs and emergency campaigns leave businesses spinning their wheels while money goes out the door and produce no measurable results. Building and sustaining a strong brand can only be done with a true understanding of your brand and how to manage it.

What is a brand audit?

A brand audit is an in depth examination of a brand’s current position in an industry compared to its competitors and a measure of its effectiveness.

The following questions are typically addressed in the brand audit process:

  • How well is the business’ current brand strategy working?
  • What are the business’ established resource strengths?
  • What weaknesses does the business struggle with?
  •  What are its external opportunities?
  • What external forces threaten the business?
  • How competitive are the business’ prices and costs?
  • How strong is the business’ competitive position in comparison to its competitors?
  •  What strategic issues is the business facing?

The main goal of a brand audit is to uncover a business’ resource strengths, deficiencies, best market opportunities, outside threats, future profitability, and standing in comparison to existing competitors.  A brand audit identifies the strategic elements needed to improve brand position and competitive capabilities within the industry.  Once a brand is audited, any business has a benchmark with which to measure financial performance and market position, and is more likely to have a properly conceived and effectively executed brand strategy.

What is does a brand audit do for a business?

A brand audit examines whether a business’ share of the market is increasing, decreasing, or remaining consistent.  It determines if the company’s margin of profit is changing, and how it compares to the profit margin of established competitors.  Additionally, a brand audit investigates trends in a business’ profits, the return on investments, and its established economic value.  It determines whether or not the business’ entire financial strength is improving or getting worse.  This kind of audit also compares a business’ image and reputation with its customers.  A brand audit seeks to determine whether or not a business is perceived as an industry leader in technology, offers product or service innovations, delivers excellent customer service, among other relevant issues that customers use to decide on when selecting a company to do business with.

A brand audit usually focuses on a business’ strengths and resource capabilities because these are the elements that set it apart from the competition.  Competitive strengths include skills or expertise in the industry, valuable physical assets, valuable human assets, valuable organizational assets, intellectual property, competitive capabilities, achievements and attributes that position the business into a competitive advantage, and alliances or cooperative ventures.

A brand audit seeks to ensure that a business maintains a distinctive competence that allows it to build and reinforce its competitive edge.

What is involved in the brand audit process?

The brand audit process involves us going into your office and conducting a series of interviews with executives and personnel. During these interviews we ask specific questions that are designed to identify the business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and competitive advantages. We also conduct extensive industry research to determine industry trends and help establish a business’ position in relation to their competitors. The audit also involves evaluating a business’ marketing strategy and budget, branding standards and marketing materials. Furthermore, an external audit may involve interviewing a business’ customers for feedback on products and services.