5 Key Insights on Why and How You Can Use a Brand Audit to Manage & Leverage Change to Achieve Higher Revenue
The world has been on a rollercoaster in the past couple of years, the impact of which is visible in any properly executed brand audit. There has been more disruption than many people could have envisaged in their lifetime. As a business leader, owner, or brand manager, change isn’t necessarily good or bad on its own. If it is outside your control, it is simply a given whether you wanted it or not. What is critical is how you leverage change or in some cases, have the foresight to plan for it using a brand audit.
Confronting change head-on enables you to make change work to your business’s and brand’s advantage. You can also identify and nurture opportunities for increased revenue even when the market outlook might otherwise look gloomy. But to do this effectively, so you need to stack things in your favour, so you know exactly what you are working with — your baseline.
What are your brand assets, who are your target customers, what permission does your brand have to engage with them and similar questions help set your brand up for success in the midst of rapid change and market adversity? That’s where a brand audit comes into its own as a robust tool, enabling you to leverage change to your advantage.
Here we’re sharing 5 key insights on why and how you can use a brand audit to manage and leverage change to grow your business.
Related: How Healthy Is Your Brand? 7 Vital Signs to Measure Today Using a Brand Audit Health Check
1. In Fast-Changing Markets, a Brand Audit Reveals Opportunities to Grow Revenue as Well as Threats
Change doesn’t come evenly distributed. That’s one reason it often seems like a threat. But in fact, it can also be an opportunity. The thing is, it is sometimes only after something happens that one can look back and appreciate it for the opportunity it was.
Humans naturally go into a mode of self-protection when sudden changes occur. Consequently, that basic instinct of self-preservation comes to the fore with the focus more on threats than on opportunities.
Equally, when something seems like a positive change, it can be easy to underestimate the possible difficulties it could also bring. That is why using a structured analytical framework is important.
It filters out more emotive biases and enables you, as a business leader and brand owner or manager to take an open-minded but also a realistic overview of what a change could mean for your brand, both good and bad.
As a brand owner or manager, it’s ultimately up to you to decide how to respond to change. What makes sense? What do you want to do? Sometimes, when there is widespread social change, spending more time thinking about work can be a welcome escape – but equally, it can be one more concern when it’s least needed.
A brand audit isn’t about taking or making your brand decisions for you – you are the right person to do that as the brand manager, business leader, owner, or entrepreneur. Instead, it is about being able to have a clear-eyed, objective view of the situation even when things are changing rapidly.
A case study is the world’s oldest English language newspaper – Glasgow’s Herald. Faced with the broad trend of rapidly declining newspaper sales, it also had increasing challenges serving the needs of a balkanising Scottish political landscape.
Part of its publisher’s solution was to launch The National, a multimedia platform that pooled some news resources but presented them in a manner and for a target audience increasingly distinct from that of the main brand.
Related: 5 Red Flags That It’s Time For A Brand Audit Health Check
“Lorraine Carter has been the catalyst and an inspiration for MGI Learning to clearly define our brand.
Working with Lorraine has been both enlightening and enjoyable. Her blueprint for defining a brand is extremely comprehensive and challenged us to think very deeply about what we offer to our customers and really understand what underpins our success.
Lorraine is extremely knowledgeable, very focused and supportive and leads you through the process and ensured we got maximum benefits from the investment we made.”
We know that sometimes it’s a struggle to build a brand strategy that really engages your ideal customers effectively, particularly in adversity, so we’ve developed three different ways of working with us to help you build your brand, depending on your preferences, so if you’d like us to:
- Build your brand for you – find out more here or get in touch [email protected] or ring +353 1 8322724
- Empower you to build your brand – check out the Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Programme here. This is a live, interactive program online where you work on your brand with us codifying and mapping out your brand strategy to differentiate more strongly and achieve higher revenue. Alternatively, join our online half-day Branding Accelerator Masterclass for a fast-injection of brand-building essentials. Ask about our Personal and Corporate Leadership Brand Alignment Masterclass
- Want a DIY solution? Check out our how to build a brand eprogramme here and our how to audit your brand yourself eprogramme here
2. How a Brand Audit Helps You Leverage Change to Work With Your Brand to Achieve Commercial Growth
As a person, it would be entirely normal to receive a rundown on your strengths and weaknesses. Whether a health checkup, a roadworthiness test for your car, or feedback from a manager at work, getting fairly objective data points is part of most people’s life experience. The same should be true for brands. Just as a health checkup informs you about how to get the most from your body and mind without damaging it, a brand audit enables you to identify how you can grow your brand and revenues in the right way.
By understanding what brand assets you have and what their potential value is, a brand audit enables you to step out of the constraints of what has worked for you until now.
Instead, you can consider whether that will be the best way for your brand to keep moving forward as times change. Sometimes it will, but often in a time of increased disruption and change, there will be adaptations or new initiatives you can implement which will improve your brand performance.
As a case study, consider Fujifilm and the brand’s pivot into skincare. Fujifilm was well known as a maker of camera film. But as photography went digital, mass demand for camera film slipped into terminal decline. Fujifilm assessed that some of its brand assets included a trusted brand name, expertise in collagen-based film coatings, and also an understanding of the interplay between light and skin. Put that way, it’s easier to see the logic in its move into skincare and cosmetic products.
Related: Top 5 Ways to Build Profitable Brand Relevant Consumer Tech in a Storm of Massive Change
3. Brands Need to Evolve to Thrive and a Brand Audit Pinpoints the Optimal Form of Evolution, so You Can Leverage Change Profitably
Sometimes when circumstances change, it is obvious a brand also needs to change. But knowing that something must be done is not the same thing as knowing the right thing to do. Pinpointing exactly how a brand needs to change can be challenging. From the speed of change to the scale, this can be loaded with risk. The wrong change can be more damaging than no change at all.
Even familiar tools such as user personas can be challenging in this scenario. Often they focus on the current understanding of users, not those users’ future needs. That means they can struggle to reflect change.
Related: Using Buyer Personas to Increase Your Business Profitability
Crafting user personas in the right way can help ameliorate change and future needs. But a brand audit is also an essential business tool. Just as if you are unsure where you are, you would look at a map and try to triangulate to known landmarks, a brand audit enables you to be clear about key issues such as your brand’s purpose, vision, brand mission, and brand values and value proposition.
Understanding what is fixed, what is flexible, and where you want to get to, ultimately helps you evolve in a way that drives growth for your brand and business. A business and brand are much more likely to survive and grow by embracing change in a way that is relevant to its primary target audience, and the market, whilst staying consistent with its brand purpose, vision, and values, rather than undermining them.
Related: Brand Audits, 10 Things Successful Brand Owners and Managers Must Know
“I really appreciate Lorraine’s energy and passion. Although good branding includes so many facets, Lorraine is able to simplify the process and make it so much more tangible for any company to put into practice.”
Marketing Communication Specialist
Are you a business leader, manager, or entrepreneur who wants to re-evaluate or build your brand strategy, so you can match your user personas to the changing market to increase your sales? Are you curious about how to build or scale a highly successful standout brand? Join one of our branding masterclasses because they empower you to build your brand, enhance customer experience, expand your market impact and create higher perceived value, so you can command a premium and achieve higher revenue.
In fact, the Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Programme is all about fast-tracking you, your brand, and your business through the brand building, agile branding strategy process using professional big-brand know-how with proven systems that get results, so you can grow your business faster and more effectively.
The programme enables you to make your brand highly differentiated, visible, credible, trustworthy, memorable, and much loved amongst your ideal customers, so you can become more profitable and leave your competitors way behind. Be The One — your ideal customers’ favourite brand of preferred choice commanding a premium.
If you want a tailor-made solution specifically for your brand then we also provide in-house bespoke Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Intensives™. Working specifically on your brand and organisational needs, the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ framework is used to work collaboratively with you and your team, so you can grow your business faster and more profitably. Contact us to discover more [email protected] or +353 1 8322724
4. Brand Audits Reveal Your Brand Strengths, so You Can Leverage Change
Success can be its own worst enemy sometimes. If you met a Nobel Prize-winning author, you probably wouldn’t ask him to play the piano. But he might be better at that than writing, for all you know. It’s the same with brands – establishing a clear brand identity that succeeds with customers is great, but it can also serve to stunt growth even if they are potentially a good match for the brand.
A brand audit is a structured approach, a tool that allows you to understand what your brand strengths are. Sometimes they are what you would expect. But often a brand audit is revealing in a couple of ways. First, there may be strengths you are not currently exploiting fully to grow revenue. Secondly, sometimes your success is partly about luck, so it doesn’t exactly mirror your brand strength.
Identifying and validating your true brand strengths and being more disciplined about questions such as what markets to target and what the right tone of voice is for your brand are more likely to lead to long-lasting, sustainable brand and commercial success.
A case study to consider on this point is Virgin. The well-known brand has tried to work in all sorts of businesses, jurisdictions, and verticals with wildly different results. While it works as an airline or mobile brand, for example, its fun-loving, convention-breaking brand identity didn’t work in areas such as bridal dresses or cola.
The Virgin brand is about cheeky fun, independence, and iconoclasm, as typified by founder Sir Richard Branson donning a wedding dress. Such brand attributes are not an obvious fit for a wedding dress business.
A simple brand audit could help flag such a mismatch before it ever reaches the market. Similarly, the cola market has two deeply entrenched competitors with well-known cola brands, both highly motivated to maintain their strong position. It is hard to imagine that a brand audit of the Virgin brand wouldn’t have flagged up in advance that it had less relevance to the mass carbonated beverage market than Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Related: Brand Audit, When the USA Took the Branding Bull by the Horns
“We participated in the Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Mastermind Programme online. The 12-week program suited us as the weekly accountability spurred us on to get work done between sessions.
We found the flow of the course appropriate for the development of the brand through the various areas of the business. Already, we have developed our Customers Personas and our Brand Persona adding value to the business.
The course has helped us make more astute decisions in the business such as restructuring our product offerings, so we grow more profitable lines and remove those with lower margins.
Lorraine is very helpful and accessible as a tutor with follow-up after each live working session and the half-day masterclass. Most of all the clarity achieved has been most invaluable.
In the first two weeks of March 2020, before Covid-19 required us to close, we were 300% up in our online sales compared to the whole of March 2019. By the end of May 2020 [after being completely closed for 6 weeks with our 150 staff furloughed] we were back to 69% and by end of June 2020 back at 108%, January 2021 we’re up four-fold on January 2019
— results achieved from applying our brand strategy.”
If you’d like to discover more about building and maintaining a thriving, high-performing, highly profitable standout brand, then get in touch because we’d love to help you make your brand into a profit powerhouse.
- Schedule a chat — we can meet in person online
- Let’s consider a customised plan for you
- And perhaps implement the plan together
- Contact us [email protected] or ring +353 1 8322724 (GMT Dublin/London time 9:00 – 17:30 weekdays)
Lorraine Carter is a branding expert and international speaker delivering talks that inspire and motivate along with masterclasses and workshops online and offline that inform and support transformational outcomes fast, and consultancy expertise that solves problems — using agile branding strategy underpinned by professional big-brand know-how — so you can outshine, outperform and leave your competitors way behind.
She enables you to differentiate, achieve higher revenue, expand your market share, build IP brand asset value — make the complex easy as ABC, so you can Transform Your Brand & Increase Your Sales — Be The One, the brand that’s most credible, trusted and commanding a premium, so you’re highly profitable and leaving your competitors way behind.
Ask about the Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Programme™ — live, interactively, face-to-face online.
“An excellent programme that provides an informative guide on how to structure your brand’s development whether you are launching a new brand, refreshing an existing one and/or conducting a review of your brand to ascertain possible weaknesses.”
5. Identifying New Revenue Opportunities for Your Brand Using a Brand Audit to Leverage Change
Sometimes the way your target audience feels about your brand, or how they perceive it, can differ from you. The misalignment between the internal and external perspective is a common vulnerability strongly evidenced from our experience through conducting brand audits for many organisations and brands in different verticals and jurisdictions, product and service, B2B and B2C. While you might be too close to be objective, a brand audit typically identifies opportunities you may have missed.
A brand audit can help you understand which areas you have the right permission to expand into. This could be about extending your portfolio of products or services. But it could also be about growing revenue by expanding your share of usage occasions with existing users, for example, or improving profit margins by moving your pricing in line with your brand positioning.
A case study is Essentra, a B2B supplier of items like rivets to industrial manufacturers. By making its brand focus on small components which nonetheless are essential to their customer’s businesses, they have carved out an ownable niche that allows them to use their brand positioning to break into new markets.
Related: Brand Audits – How to Use One to Grow Your Profits
“An exceptionally talented individual. Lorraine Carter, Persona Branding and Design has a wonderful ability to ‘horizon scan’ for any business and then bring them on a journey that delivers value to their Balance Sheet.”
Technology Ireland & ICT Skillnet
Change is inevitable – but the way you engage your brand to respond to it is not.
Before deciding how best to respond to change, it is important to get as clear-eyed a view as possible on what your brand stands for, its strengths and weaknesses, and how your brand assets could be best used.
A brand audit is a structured tool that enables you to do this with objectivity no matter how close you may be to the picture — your brand.
By revealing your brand strengths and weaknesses, a brand audit shows you the lay of the land. That in turn enables you to decide on the optimal way for your business and brand to respond to changes, and help it embrace change and increase revenue.
Questions to Consider
- When was the last time you conducted a brand audit, so you could re-establish your baseline, leverage change, and identify opportunities to achieve higher revenue?
- How clear are you on what brand assets you have and what their role is in driving customers to your brand?
- How do you currently assess how well your marketing and commercial activities align to your brand purpose, vision, and values to leverage change and achieve higher revenue?
- Does your brand have untapped strengths? What might they be?
- Do you have a structured way to assess new revenue and profit opportunities for your business and brand?
“If you’re interested in the brand strategy that will take you to the next level, that will put you on the market in a premium position, Lorraine Carter is the person to assist you in getting there with specific elements and with specific tools that simply work. All you have to do is focus and know what you want — she provides the tool kit you need to accomplish your goals.”
Founder, PR, Communications & Media Relations Consultant
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- When you work with us, we’ll create a customised brand-building plan and strategy with clear investment for you tailored to your specific requirements and preferences
- You’ll know each step of your brand building journey before we start because we’ll discuss it, document it, and agree on it with you before work commences
- You’ll have timelines, key milestones, and deliverables to evaluate and approve for each stage and part of your brand building process
- Because we know the unexpected sometimes happens we can make adjustments along the way if you need it and if something extra is requested we’ll ensure you’re fully appraised about what that entails before committing
- As we achieve pre-agreed objectives you’ll be able to evaluate your brand building work and strategy in progress, coupled with the outcomes to ensure return on investment
Get in touch today because we’d love to enable you to re-evaluate and build your standout, powerhouse brand, so you can Be The One — increase your profits and leave your competitors way behind.
Email us [email protected] or ring us +35318322724 (GMT 9:00-17:30) and ask about our VIP Brand Strategy Re-Evaluation.