Matt Crouch

Are you thinking about rethinking your brand? Or maybe you need to build a new one? Before you do, take a moment to reflect and ask yourself this – how do you hope to build a brand that works for you and for your audience in new and engaging ways unless you have insights and context?

I am talking about conducting a brand audit. Traditionally this has centred around the review of the assets (logo, website, packaging etc) built within the brand hierarchy of an existing brand. Sure, that is still important, but there is so much more to it than that.

For example, if your business manages multiple brands, an audit needs to consider how your brands play together, where they are heading respectively and whether they serve the same, similar, or varying audiences. There is no singular ‘right approach’ to this stuff. The key is to make decisions from the most informed position.

For example, let’s say that you operate in several different fresh produce categories and have a couple of brands in each. Keeping your brands completely unique is tough and expensive. Uniting them all under one singular brand is affordable but can deliver a ‘corporate giant’ perception at consumer level. As a middle ground, uniting at a category level can bring the best of both. It can also bring risks too.

At the end of the day, you have to work out which level works for you. Then you need to constantly audit your approaches to ensure they continue to champion the benefits of your chosen direction and avoid the risks therein.

At Soto Consulting we follow a three-step process in auditing brands.

Firstly, collate and review all incidents of brand use; from billboards to bookmarks, signatures to sponsorships. You are checking for consistency of use and strategic alignment. Ask yourself, are you on track?

Secondly, how does the brand resonate? Are your step one insights matched by feedback from internal and external stakeholders, customers, and consumers? If not, then give some thought as to why not. Consider what interventions you could make do rectify this.

Finally, and this is where the bigger picture thinking comes in, is the brand increasing in value? Are your efforts driving brand affinity (awareness, engagement and equity)? How is this tracking against other brands that you manage? Are they supporting or hindering one another?

There’s lots of questions to consider but if you take the time to answer them then you’re in a better place than before. It is not always the answers that are important, more the pause for thought to consider them. Your goal is to make informed and thorough brand decisions, rather than spontaneous and ill-conceived ones.