Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Brand Audit – Identifying Growth Opportunities

Fotolia_25783435_XSBusiness owners often struggle with perspective when it comes to their brands. Living and breathing business day to day makes it hard to step back and identify marketing and branding blindspots, which could be severely limiting brand growth.

In order to identify opportunities to improve a brand’s marketing strategy, I developed a templated diagnostic tool (a ‘Brand Audit’), used to gauge the strength and weakness of the brand proposition and its competitiveness in the market (sometimes with the assistance of an objective, external partner). A brand audit, once completed, provides a roadmap to significant improvement for a business owner or general manager. This tool can be easily adapted to any product or service offering.

The key elements of the Brand Audit are:

  1. Market Assessment and Business Performance – a brand is accountable for results, and the most telling indicator of the brand’s strength is how well it performs in the market versus its competitors.
    • Historical Growth and profitability – overall brand sales and trend.
    • Market segments – definition and growth trends of the individual segments of the market.
    • Competitive strength – sales and market share metrics of the brand versus competitors
  2. Branding and Positioning Overview – this is a set of descriptions and metrics that allows for the careful understanding of the power of the equity in a competitive setting
    • Consumer Target Definition – clarity and insight around the identified current and future consumers;
    • Brand and Positioning – degree to which the brand has a compelling statement of brand promise versus others in the category;
    • Brand Conversion – measurement of metrics from first awareness through loyalty and repeat;
    • Brand SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) – A tool that provides clarity on the big picture opportunities and watch-out.
  3. Marketing Tools Evaluation – this section evaluates the strength of the marketing plan elements including:
    • Communication – Looks at how compelling and consistent the outbound messaging are and to what degree customers are participating in conversations with the brand;
    • Pricing – opportunity identification of brand pricing versus category trend and competitive strength;
    • Product Expansion – Identification of opportunities for range expansion, replacement and improvements;
    • Distribution / find-ability / placement – Looking at channel of distribution power and opportunity.

    Summary of Brand Strength and Opportunities – here is a short, succinct wrap up that outlines the set of opportunities to refine the plan for greater impact. While it takes a bit of time to do this exercise correctly, it is not meant to be an exhaustive review, but broadly touch on the most important aspects of the marketing plan to determine the key strengths and weaknesses of the plan. It can quickly identify what is missing, and prioritize the strongest opportunities for improvement and growth in a business.

A single blind spot drags business performance down to a far greater degree than management believes. Turning blind spots into opportunities can ignite growth.

Let me know if you are interested and I can share the actual templates. Anything you think should be included?

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