In any typical process-driven strategy, research always precedes analyzing otherwise what exactly are you evaluating? We believe you have to know what you’ve got before you decide on what you want. To do that, you need to analyze your brand.
The Importance of Branding
Step 1: Analyze
Step 2: Research and Planning
Step 3: Implementation
Step 4: Adapting
The first step is to define your brand at this very moment in time. This is a process of self-discovery that could be incredibly enlightening or devastating. It’s not very often you stop and actually process what consumer’s perceptions are, especially for smaller businesses. Put your brand through an intense audit and answer the questions you think are obvious. What is your company’s vision? Who are your customers? What do you sell? What is your promise to the customer? Key differentiator? What do they associate with your company? Okay, so there might be a little bit of research involved in this step, however this step may prove that what your current customers actually think are not exactly aligned with what you think they think.
There are several cost effective ways you can run a brand audit without blowing your entire marketing budget on marketing research. Surveys are a great way to get an abundance of reviews. It is important to audit your brand internally and externally. Start with surveying employees, after all they are the ones who drive home your brand promise. Surveying or interviewing current, past, and perspective customers will give you great insight into what their perspective is on your identity. Identifying inconsistencies among current marketing materials is another helpful tool. Sound like a lot of work? Enlist an agency specializing in small business (cough, cough) to perform an audit at a fraction of the cost of national brand agencies.
If this is the first of your branding efforts, chances are there are some major discrepancies between where your company is and where you want to be in your consumer’s mind, if you are even in your target consumers mind at all. Now is also the time to define your goals. What do you want people to associate with your brand? Who do you want to target? What do you want your personality to be? (These are likely what you thought your company was accomplishing before you challenged yourself to reevaluate your brand). Research will assist in planning a strategy that will fill the void and escalate your brand to what you though you knew and what you always wanted.