Determining the degree to which a brand is performing, its brand relevancy, reputation perceived by customers, and whether its communication goals are satisfying and meeting business goals through brand audits is essential for a business to succeed. Brand audits consider every area the organization or brand interacts. Brand audits are a consumer-focused and extensive external analysis of a brand as a whole to determine its sources of brand equity, evaluate the brand’s health, and recommend ways to leverage and improve brand equity.
Brand audits help businesses evaluate the brand’s position and recognize its strengths and weaknesses in the marketplace. Moreover, brand audits aid businesses in discovering ways to stay relevant and generate opportunities for businesses to improve and sharpen the brand’s image to gain a competitive edge by standing out among its competitors. Additionally, organizations can understand customer loyalty and perceptions, brand identity and culture, and the consistency of the brand’s voice and message.
Brand Inventory vs. Brand Exploratory
Brand auditing entails two key steps, brand inventory, and brand exploratory.
A brand inventory entails compiling all of the brand’s components and evaluating their worth both individually and as a whole. It provides a current, complete summary of how the business brands or markets all of its products and services sold. Brand inventory also involves cataloging each product or service by identifying its brand elements, including names, product attributes, characters, promotions, communications, pricing, distribution, logos, symbols, slogans, and packaging.
A brand inventory aids businesses by providing information to identify consumer’s current perceptions of the brand and decipher follow-up brand research. Brand inventory helps recognize opportunities for growth, see the bigger picture, and find weak links. It helps determine and fill gaps to make marketing more effective and the part of the brand that needs updating, influencing more people, and working for and against the brand.
Brand exploratory considers how and what customers feel about the brand and their perceptions of the brand. Brand exploratory entails comprehending the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors consumers have about the brand and their actions towards the brand, its product category and identify the barriers and sources of brand equity. It provides a clear and complete depiction of the target market.
Marketers use quantitative research techniques for brand exploratory to acquire a more definitive representation of the brand based on the analysis and collection of numerical data to produce more defensible and confident tactical and strategic recommendations about the brand. Quantitative research techniques include evaluating the breadth and depth of brand relationships, brand responses, brand awareness, and brand image.
Additionally, brand exploratory utilizes qualitative research techniques that supply initial insight to recognize sources of brand equity and potential brand associations such as projective techniques, neuromarketing, free and core associations, mental maps, open-ended responses and collages, adjective checklists or ratings, Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation, and experiential methods and ethnographies.
In 2003, Duracell, an American manufacturing company, experienced a period of a decline in sales of their hearing aid batteries in the pharmacy, retail, and mass merchandiser outlets. Hearing aid battery sales were a critical source of profits for hearing care professionals at the time. Hearing care professionals believed hearing aid battery sales made up approximately 10% to 15% of their earnings.
Duracell conducted a brand audit utilizing brand exploratory to determine consumers’ perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about the brand. As a result, Duracell discovered their decline in hearing battery sales resulted from their competitor’s lower prices and the brand’s generic packaging. Furthermore, in conducting ethnographies, a qualitative research technique, on consumers the age of 55 and over, who were suffering from reduced dexterity and deteriorating eyesight, found it difficult to remove the tab from its hearing aid batteries packaging.
Consequently, Duracell developed a new product, the Duracell EasyTab, and Duracell Activair Easy Tab, with a new packaging innovation and design to improve the consumers’ experiences and satisfaction with the product. The new packaging innovations and design for the latest products provided ease of insertion due to the longer, extended tabs, and the convenient dispensing case made it easy for consumers to carry and remove the batteries. The value-added feature provided a simple solution, and the design was most favorable with consumers.
Brand auditing is vital to evaluate a brand’s health, identify consumers’ perception about the brand, and determine the next steps organizations must take to develop the brand further and better position the brand in the marketplace compared to its competitors. Brand auditing enables businesses to establish a consistent brand, increasing their ability to build brand equity among their target market. Furthermore, building brand equity also helps businesses keep their current customers and attract new customers at a lower cost. Brand auditing ensures that a business’ brand communication meets its goals efficiently and effectively and that the organization maximizes its potential and achieves optimal results.