Brand Audit - Do You Pass the Test?

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Branding is one of the keystones to a good marketing strategy. There are so many benefits to building a brand. Strong brands can charge premium prices. They build company value and are more profitable Strong brands build customer loyalty and therefore reduce cost of sales. Perhaps more importantly in the short run, strong brands command customer preference in buying decisions.

How strong is your brand? Here are six key questions to ask yourself:

1. Does your 25, 50, and 100 word descriptions clearly define WHO you are, WHAT you do, WHO you do it for, & WHY they buy from you? Your company messaging needs to be tight, clear, and compelling—but it must be CLEAR before CUTE! Remove the jargon and self-serving phrases (i.e. "leading provider of").

The Elevator Statement (25-Words)
An elevator statement is your positioning statement in 25 words or less that can also be "delivered" verbally in 30 seconds or the time it takes to tell someone what you do in a ride on an elevator. It describes WHO you are, generally WHAT you offer, and for WHOM.

Now add more detail around the single UNIQUE BENEFIT a customer gets buying from you and your COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE. Your 50-word describes WHO you are, generally WHAT you offer, for WHOM, for WHAT result, and WHY you.

100-150 Words
Finally, add more detail around your product/service offering to create your 100+ word version. Your product/service detail should be in a bulleted list, with only a small description of each product IF you have space. The 100+ word version describes WHO you are, for WHOM, WHAT you offer (general), WHAT you offer (detail), for WHAT result, and WHY you.

2. Has it been tested by a small sampling of customers? Perception is your reality (Make sure you find out how your customers see you and what they really value.

Follow these five steps to a successful brand perception survey effort:

Don’t lead the witness. Having a ranking question, followed by an open “comments” box, allows for the best results.

Make response easy. Web-based surveys work best for this purpose but if your customers are largely mail-order, notifying them by email and mail increases response.

Protect the innocent. Anonymous surveys work best for real feedback.

Keep it short and sweet. We’re all busy, so keep each survey to six questions, even if that means rolling out multiple surveys over time. Each survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete and you should let your audience know the time commitment in your invite. Focus on the key questions you MUST answer to identify brand perceptions.

Be thankful. Not only should you thank the participants in advance, you should consider a pre-thank you give as incentive. Consider sending an invitation with an e-gift certificate. They’ll feel more obligated and inclined to help you with this “no strings attached” gesture.

3. Is your brand promise: a) accurate (do you truly deliver this promise in EVERY interaction and business decision you make?); b) relevant (have your customers confirmed this is THE reason they buy from you); c) tangibly and consistently delivered (can you identify at least 5 TANGIBLE things you do to deliver this promise consistently?)

4. Is your brand promise unique to you? If your brand strategy looks like your competitors it isn't working for you. Make sure your brand focuses on your uniqueness, not the me-too features you may also possess.

5. Have you defined your brand personality with no more than FIVE traits? Do these five traits together define your uniqueness in the market?

6. Do all your communication vehicles consistently present your brand elements and brand personality (logo, tagline, fonts, imagery, etc.)? Repetition is key to the success of the branding process.

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