Out of college, I worked for the Andrew Jergens Company (now known as Kao Brands). I rose through the ranks quickly to oversee claims substantiation, which is a fancy term for making sure we could legally say what we wanted to say about our products in advertising and on packages… claims like “softens skin” and “lasts 24 hours.” In this role I helped design clinical and market research studies to support our desired claims.
The nature of my role required my heavy involvement in new product launches, one of which was the Bioré skin care brand. This new line of face care products targeted 19–35 year-old females. “I’m in the target audience. I can speak to this,” I said when discussing the latest research results with my boss. “No, you’re not,” he said. “You’re too close to it to see it as an objective target audience.”
Though I was indignant at his accusation, I understand the principle behind my boss’s statement. Sometimes you’re too close to something to see it objectively. This is why some nonprofit organizations change their logo every year or two. I hear people say, “We got tired of it.” AACK! Do you think your target audience is tired of it with all the messages they are bombarded with in a day? No way! They may just be starting to recognize it; if you change it now, you’re starting over with them.
A brand audit is an invaluable tool to help objectively measure your target audience’s true exposure and impression of your brand. Brand audits almost always reveal something surprising, even to the most seasoned of marketers. Why? Because as much as we’d like to think otherwise, we each are given only one pair of eyes to look through. Our familiarity with the brand and its objectives can prevent us from accurately seeing how the brand is perceived in the marketplace.
Here are some elements of brand audits.
Brand audits encapsulate a 360-degree view of your brand, including those within your organization, those you target (customers, donors…) and your end users.
Brand audits – like any other audit – are performed by an outside party to ensure objectivity from both sides. If someone knows you work for a company, they are less likely to be honest with you about their true opinion of that company (“The service is terrible,” “No one knows who you are at all,” “People think you do this, not that.”). If you try to conduct your own brand audit, you will inadvertently skew the results.
Involve open conversations with select stakeholders and other key parties.
Involve online research and the study of all other touchpoints of your organization, from the receptionist who answers the phone and the footers in your emails to the signage on your building.
Include an objective report interpreting the results.
If you are interested in a brand audit, give a shout up to Girl on the Roof. We’ll take advantage of our clear view to bring you valuable insights for moving your brand forward.