How to Conduct a Brand Audit: Step-by-Step Guide + Template

Written by:
Orana Velarde

Conducting a brand audit is a great way to find out why some things in your business are doing well while others are not. It’s also used to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of a brand.

If you’ve been wondering how you can improve your efforts, reach more potential customers, get more sales or increase brand awareness, a brand audit might be just what you need.

Follow along as we show you the steps to conduct a brand audit by yourself or with your team.

Let’s get started.

 

Table of Contents

What is a Brand Audit?

How to Do a Brand Audit In 6 Steps

Brand Audit Example: Nestle

A Brand Audit Template to Help You Get Started

 

What is a Brand Audit?

A brand audit is a process used to analyze how a brand is performing in the market and against the competition. It's an analytical strategy that studies the aspects that make up a brand.

For example:

  • The target market and the ideal clientele
  • The overall strategy and goals
  • Innovation in the products and services the brand provides
  • Visual messaging and storytelling through marketing efforts
  • Advertising strategies linked to marketing goals
  • Customer experience and success, including user experience of websites and apps
  • Brand awareness and positioning in the marketplace
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The magic of a brand audit is to uncover hidden roadblocks that are stopping the brand from growing or moving forward. It pinpoints internal and external strengths and weaknesses.

The analysis then helps ideate how to change things that aren’t working and improving on the things that are. There are several reasons why a startup or company would need to conduct a brand audit.

  • Marketing efforts aren’t giving results
  • Traffic to the website is low
  • Emails aren’t being opened
  • Sales are low

On the flip side, brands with good ROI and good traffic to their website might still need a brand audit. For example:

  • If the startup grew before a brand strategy was cemented
  • If a visual identity isn’t clear
  • If the website was designed early on and wasn’t redesigned as the company grew
  • When it’s time to rebrand
  • To have a broader picture of how the brand is performing against the competition

If you have been considering a rebrand, watch this video first.

Large companies might hire a brand specialist that offers brand audit services, but it’s not always necessary. A marketing officer can also do the job. In small companies, a team can conduct a brand audit together and learn a lot about their brand along the way.

Not all brand audits are the same, as you saw in the example scenarios above. But what they do have in common, is the way they are conducted.

Below is a list of steps to follow so you can conduct a brand audit of your own business. We’ve taken tips from brand and marketing pros like Neil Patel and the teams at Score and Brandwatch.

Let’s dive in.

 

How to Do a Brand Audit in 6 Steps

The first thing to do before conducting a brand audit is to keep an open mind.

When you start encountering roadblocks and think of possible solutions, don’t just stop there. Go all the way with the brand audit process to really see the results.

Consider a brand audit like a course of antibiotics. Doing it halfway might help, but the effects won’t last till you finish it.

According to Score.org, a brand audit must cover three essential areas.

  • Internal branding: Core values, company culture and mission.
  • External branding: Logo, visual assets and brand messaging.
  • Customer experience: Sales processes, customer support and user experience.

Take all these things into consideration when following the steps below as each one is important to getting solid results from your brand audit.

 

Step #1: Brainstorm the purpose of your brand audit.

The first step when conducting a brand audit is to brainstorm what needs to be analyzed. Maybe it’s your website, or your social media efforts. Maybe it's everything!

Use the mind map template below to jot down ideas and questions about your brand.

Customize this mind map template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Think of your mind map as a brand audit questionnaire. This will form the basis of your brand audit framework, and will help you find the right information.

Here are some examples of questions to ask when brainstorming with your team:

  • What do users find when they search for our brand on search engines?
  • Is our website easy to navigate and conductive to conversion?
  • Are our emails being opened? Are our links being clicked?
  • What do people think of our brand? Are our customers recommending us?
  • Is our visual branding coherent with our message?
  • Does our logo really represent us?
  • Are our storytelling efforts fruitful? Should we maybe change our perspective?
  • Are we advertising through optimal channels?
  • How are our physical products selling?
  • Is the packaging of our products representative of our brand values?
  • Do our employees recommend us to their friends and family?
  • Do our employees feel proud to work with us?

 

Step #2: Define the ultimate goal of the brand audit.

Once you’ve brainstormed the topics you’d like to fix or improve in your brand, it’s time to set some goals for your brand.

Depending on what you want to achieve, the goals can be wide and far-reaching, or very specific. Whichever it is, pinpoint what you want out of the brand audit and start getting organized.

Here's a goal-setting template you can customize for your brand.

Customize this goal-setting template and make it your own!Edit and Download

In your brand audit, this is where you take note of what’s not working in regards to your brand. When you have done all the work, you come back to this stage and revisit what you had envisioned at the start.

Sometimes, the process will be simple and you’ll notice straight away what needs to be done. In other cases, you’ll have to test several possible solutions until you find the best one.

 

Step #3: Set up a plan according to your goals.

This is the stage where you put together a plan for your brand. Create a checklist to follow with your team or on your own if that’s the case.

Here's a checklist template to use for your own brand.

Customize this checklist template and make it your own!Edit and Download

It can also be a good idea to add different levels to your checklist — one main list with tasks that stem from it. Assign tasks to team members and explain how to do them if necessary.

Another part of your strategy and planning stage involves setting deadlines for different tasks. You can create a table or a Gantt chart to help your team stay organized and focused.

Below is a brand strategy and planning template with a simple Gantt chart that you can customize and use as part of your brand audit.

Customize this planning template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Also, consider conducting a SWOT analysis for your brand.

A SWOT analysis is a system that will help you find the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to general or specific areas of your brand.

Here's a SWOT analysis template to add to your brand audit.

Customize this SWOT analysis template and make it your own!Edit and Download

 

Step #4: Collect, organize and review the data.

It’s time to start collecting data for your brand audit. Formulate your own questions, and give yourself enough space to take down notes and data.

You should also create a survey to conduct with your customers, and people who might have heard of your brand but aren’t customers.

Make sure to go through all the steps and take down as much information as you can on your findings. If it makes it easier, use a whiteboard with sticky notes to keep the results on hand.

Use the template below to keep things organized for yourself and your team.

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Answer all the questions and organize the answers in a way that will be easy to analyze later. Use spreadsheets for quantitative data and documents for qualitative data.

If working with a team, compare results as you work through the tasks. But remember, don’t start changing anything until you’ve gone through all the pertinent questions of your brand audit.

This stage could take some time, depending on how much data you need to collect and how many people are working on it.

 

Step #5: Analyze results and ideate solutions.

Now that you’ve collected and organized the data, it’s time to analyze the brand audit results so you can come up with appropriate solutions.

One way to analyze your results is to visualize the data and present it in an easy-to-digest format, such as by using the template below.

Customize this data analysis template and make it your own!Edit and Download

The next part is thinking of solutions to your brand's problems.

If you’re doing the brand audit by yourself, you might need help at this point. Ideation is not easy to do by yourself — you need someone to brainstorm with.

In the ideation and brainstorm session with your team, consider all the things you learned during the brand audit. Remember the three important aspects we discussed earlier:

  • Internal branding
  • External branding
  • Customer experience

How do each of those relate to the data you've collected in your surveys and research?

This is where you’ll notice your brand’s strengths and weaknesses. Create two main lists with the strongest strengths and the weakest weaknesses.

Use this strengths and weaknesses template to jot that information down.

Customize this comparison template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Now, think of ways in which the strengths of your brand can help improve its weaknesses.

For example, let’s say your visual graphics are doing great on social media, but your storytelling and messaging isn’t getting good results. This would be the case if your text emails aren’t getting clicks, but your Instagram stories are.

A possible solution would be to add visuals to your emails and minimize the text. Use the visuals that work on other channels to fix the areas in your emails where that aspect is missing.

Using a similar process to the example above, write down all your solutions and ideas in the template below. Have your team members input their own ideas as well.

Customize this ideation template and make it your own!Edit and Download

 

Step #6: Take action and monitor.

With your list of ideas in hand, consider which are the easiest and fastest to implement.

For example, you might have noticed that your social media profiles are different to your domain URL. That might be a reason why people aren't finding you. A quick solution is to change the social media profiles to match your brand name or domain.

Maybe you noticed that the stock images in your blog posts are getting lost in a sea of sameness. Try customizing the images, creating your own graphics or hiring a photographer.

Why not try two options and set up A/B tests?

Start implementing changes and monitor any changes in ROI, brand awareness, conversions and customer feedback.

Consider adding a feedback survey to your site to keep getting answers to a question like:

How likely are you to recommend us to your friends?

Here's a solution checklist template to use for your own brand.

Customize this checklist template and make it your own!Edit and Download

 

Brand Audit Example: Nestle

Business and marketing students often conduct fictional brand audits on known brands. These projects prepare the students to create real brand audits in the future, and can also help business owners conduct a brand audit of their own.

The brand audit example below is a PDF brand audit of Nestle. It’s not an official brand audit by the company; it's a student project. But that doesn’t take away its value.

Look through the slides below and you’ll see how the student conducted the brand audit for Nestle much like we explain above.

The first part of the PDF is the “known data” about the brand, and then come the value proposition and goals.

The student then conducted surveys to analyze customer satisfaction and brand awareness for the brand. Finally, a list of solutions was offered in order of importance.

Your brand audit can be as elaborate as this if you have to share a brand audit presentation with results and solutions to stakeholders who don’t know every little thing about the brand. If you’re doing it internally, you might not need to go all out.

 

A Brand Audit Template to Help You Get Started

Conducting a brand audit is much easier with an easy-to-follow template. That’s why we created this printable brand audit document template to help get you started.

Customize this brand audit template and make it your own!Edit and Download

You can customize this brand audit template as much as you'd like. Change the look and feel of your document, and even upload your own brand assets like logos and fonts.

Here are some tools and pages you’ll find inside the Visme brand audit template.

  • Mind mapping and framework flowchart
  • Goal-setting and brand audit questionnaire
  • Strategy and planning tables
  • Checklist to go through with your team
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Survey to ask your customers
  • Table with links to Google spreadsheets
  • Data visualizations for analyzing results
  • List of strengths and weaknesses
  • Ideation worksheet
  • Solutions checklist

The final length of your brand audit document will depend on how much research you do and how many ideas you come up with for solutions. You’ll have no trouble adding, removing and rearranging the pages of your template in the Visme editor.

Easily duplicate pages or blocks to create more space to work with. You can then download it as an editable PDF to work on digitally or print out with extra empty pages to fill in by hand.

 

Ready to Conduct a Brand Audit?

Now, it’s your turn!

Are you ready to conduct a brand audit of your company, business or startup?

Use the brand audit template above to get you started in no time. You’ll be able to change pretty much anything on the template and make it yours. Changing colors, fonts, text and images is easy and fast using the drag-and-drop editor.

Begin your brand audit today and find the roadblocks you need to overcome in order to grow. Ask any questions you have in the comments below.

If you are looking for other types of templates for your business, such as Gantt charts, graphs, infographics, reports and others, visit our template library and browse through 40+ categories.

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About the Author

Orana is a multi-faceted creative. She is a content writer, artist, and designer. She travels the world with her family and is currently in Istanbul. Find out more about her work at oranavelarde.com

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