Visual Brand Audits Help Organizations Gain Perspective

A brand audit is a 10,000 foot view of all that an organization does within the context of the competitive landscape and consumer perceptions. If you are looking to revitalize your organization to better achieve its goals but aren’t exactly sure where to start, you’re probably in need of a brand audit.

Too often, marketing firms present brand analysis books that demonstrate a lot of rigorous work — but do little to impart true insights and inspire action. At MSLK, brand audits are always visual, in-person meetings. All the organization’s print and online collateral, competitor materials, research from consumer & stakeholder interviews, and recommendations are all organized and tacked-up on our walls for all to see. It’s always an eye opener.

Team members will view their company in a way they’ve never have before, leading to key insights that could not have been drawn from a book or traditional slide presentation.

With all of our brand audits, we follow a four step process to ensure success:

1. Analysis of all current communications
Is there a consistent voice to all of the materials?
Is the brand reinforced visually in all of the materials? Is it done so consistently?
What materials are most effective and which need improving?

2. Analysis of all competitor communications
This helps us find the white space in the market. How are similar organizations presenting themselves visually and verbally? What are they doing effectively and what can we do that’s different and more effective?

3. Conduct stakeholder interviews
We ask targeted questions and interview people within the organization as well as customers, which helps uncover what is being done effectively and what isn’t. This interview process of looking both inwardly and outwardly addresses the gap between the goals of the company and how it is perceived by consumers.

4. Make recommendations.
Based on all of the gathered visual and verbal data, we come up with best practices of how items can be improved and clearly define next steps. This could include the creation of a marketing plan, new identity design and/or creation of a site map.

Below are some glimpses from our recent brand audit with Friends of Animals, an animal rights advocacy organization.

An assessment of existing communication materials reveals strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.

A competitive audit reveals threats and exposes opportunities in the market.

These best practices examples showcase opportunities and ideas for improvement.