In the current business landscape, ensuring your brand stays at the front of the pack and attracts your desired audiences is becoming continually more difficult. Whether it’s ever changing technologies, the prevalence of social media or the call for more social responsibility, customers are evaluating companies on more than just price, service and quality. They want an authentic, connected experience. Conducting a brand assessment will allow you to take a step back and get a more holistic view of how your brand is performing and give insight into what you can improve in your overall strategy. It will give you a clearer picture of how you are perceived in the marketplace and provide you with answers to how you can improve your brand positioning.
1. Do you have a solid brand framework established?
A brand framework is essentially the blueprint to your brand. It helps to define what your brand stands for and will serve as a guide for audience engagement as well as your overall go-to-market strategy. The brand framework will consist of your mission and objective, your brand promise and personality, your value proposition and positioning. Ideally, this will all be spelled out in a company’s brand guidelines, along with logo, color and font usage, to aid in educating employees as well as maintaining brand consistency for all communications.
2. Do you have a clear vision of who your target audiences are?
Knowing, and even more so, understanding who your target audiences are is key to establishing your go-to-market strategy and creating communications that will resonate and connect with your customers. Creating customer personas is an effective way to define a clear picture of who that person is and how you should engage them. Most of the time, there are multiple audiences that a company is catering to. Therefore, it is crucial to identify them and market to them uniquely.
3. What are your company’s goals and objectives?
Perhaps you would like to increase your visibility with a particular audience or attract a new audience. Or maybe you would like to expand your market share. You may have started a new initiative or launched a new product for which you would like to build awareness. Regardless of the objective, it’s good to put some thought into what your short-term and long-term goals are, prioritize and then start modifying your brand and marketing strategy to accomplish them.
4. How do your audiences perceive you, and does that align with your brand framework?
Your audiences can provide the most accurate look into how your company and brand are being perceived. Getting their input will help to either validate what your company feels is its most crucial differentiator or potentially show gaps between what you think is important to your audience and what they truly value most about your company. You can conduct surveys to gather qualitative and quantitative information that helps you better understand your audience’s experiences with and views of your company. Ideally, you would include both internal and external stakeholders in your data collection. Once you receive feedback, you can determine what adjustments you may need to make to your branding framework and/or communications.
5. Do your company’s communications clearly reflect your brand framework?
Take an in-depth look at all your external-facing marketing materials, including your logo and identity, collateral, website, email marketing, social media profiles, website and content marketing pieces. Do your communications have a consistent visual presence and voice? Do they define your products and services in a way that highlights the benefits of working with your company as opposed to your competition? Do your materials speak to each of your audiences and give them a clear call to action? Are you connecting with your audience across multiple channels, taking into consideration what is most convenient and applicable to them?
6. How is your website performing, and is it attracting the right audience?
Your website is one of, if not the, most important customer-facing components of your brand. Take a deep dive into your website analytics to discover how effective your site is and what you may need to change in order to attract the right audience and improve your conversion rate. Examine where your traffic is coming from and if it aligns with your target markets. Take time to review your bounce rate, and if it seems high, inspect your content to determine if your posts and pages are:
- Loading Quickly – Speed affects visitor behavior. If your site isn’t loading in under two seconds, visitors will likely leave and look elsewhere.
- Scannable – Consider breaking apart heavy text with headings and imagery to make the content easier to digest.
- Relevant – Does your content offer real answers to customer questions or is it vague and full of industry lingo that the prospective customer might not understand?
Improving these three factors will also help to improve your search engine rankings. Google searches for easy-to-use websites with relevant, digestible content. Sometimes, a website may just be suffering from content bloat. Looking at your bounce rate will help you determine what content may either be ineffective and therefore unnecessary as well as what topics you may want to expand upon. Don’t be afraid to review and remove content that is no longer valid that can potentially be dragging down your site’s performance.
7. Does your social media presence connect effectively with your target audience and does it clearly reflect your brand values?
Whether you are B2B or B2C, social media has become a crucial component of a marketing strategy. Your social media presence should project your brand voice and image, and the messaging should effectively engage your visitors and make them feel connected to your company. You also want to make sure you are posting often and with content that is of value to your customers. Your posting frequency will be determined by what social platforms you plan on using. Posting once or twice a week on Facebook is sufficient, but for something like Twitter, you will want to engage more often. Creating a social media strategy with a content calendar will help you plan ahead and make certain that you are connecting often and with purpose. You should also review your social media analytics regularly to assess the performance of your campaigns, ensure you are engaging the right audiences and identify opportunities for improvement.
8. How does your brand measure up to your competitors?
Take a look at what your competitors are doing in their branding and marketing. Review their websites, advertising and social media. How do they position themselves in the marketplace? Does your brand clearly differentiate itself from these competitors, or are you using the same selling points they are? You may see that many rely on common statements such as the best price, quality and service, but it’s important to lead with a benefit that your competitors don’t offer. For instance, you may be a manufacturer who provides engineering guidance or a distributor who also services the equipment you sell. You want to make sure that your brand stands out from the sea of companies that are operating within your same market.
9. Is your sales process aligned with your customer journey?
You can learn a lot about how to market and sell to your audience by examining your customer’s buying journey. A sales process that is informed by each different buyer persona and how they engage with your company will strengthen your brand by presenting a consistent experience for your customer. This consistency will help instill trust in your company and aid in client retention.
10. What steps do you take next?
Going through these questions and taking a deep dive into all aspects of your brand should help you identify areas of improvement. The next step would be to create a detailed plan of action with specific goals and targets – and a timeline. Once you make changes to address the areas of improvement you identified, the work doesn’t end. It’s important to understand that the business landscape will continue to change and your brand will need to continually adapt and innovate to stay relevant in the marketplace and stand out from the competition. If you need support getting started, contact The Agency at Sikich.