In order to be successful at committing to the development of your brand, I suggest a regular brand audit.
“Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.” – Sir Richard Branson, CEO Virgin
How to complete an online brand audit
Set aside a couple hours, make yourself your favourite drink, revisit your brand guidelines, and dig in to these 5 steps. Use your favourite note taking tool like Evernote or Onenote and screenshot the heck outta your online presence. You’ll be analyzing it in the last step:
1. Get curious and visit your website
From a different computer, using a different browser, with a different mindset. Pretend you are your ideal client and you are visiting your website for the first time. Read all of your copy, notice where you drift off or skip over. Click each link, including social media links and pictures, notice where they lead. Fill out your contact form, read the response email.
Does it reflect your brand? Are you promising anything that you no longer deliver? Are you delivering something that you don’t even advertise?
2. Sign up for your email list
Use your opt-in form on your website to subscribe to your own email list. (Don’t have an email list yet? This post’s for YOU!) Read all the copy, look at each image, and click every link on each landing page and email in the subscription process. Take screenshots and record them.
Does it still reflect your brand? Does your opt-in offer still reflect the content that you share on your list? Does the design of each page still reflect your brand image and voice?
3. Visit all your social media profiles
Visit each social media profile and take a look at your profile name, messaging, and imagery. Is your profile picture unified across platforms? Do your “About Me” descriptions in your profiles match each other? Take screenshots of your most popular posts and of your profile pages. Are they reflective of your brand voice?
4. Purchase your product or service
Have you ever gone through the process of purchasing your own product or service? It’s kinda fun! It’s also a great tool that will help you understand what your client’s experience will be like. So go ahead, buy your own book, and notice the voice, imagery, and messaging in each sales page, cart option, and email. Take a screen shot of each step and record them.
5. Analyse, refine, and repeat!
Now it’s time to analyze all the data you collected. Look at those screenshots and compare them. Contrast this to your brand values. Use this data to enhance your brand style: choose one profile image across social media platforms, harmonize your tag lines, align your social media profile about me statements, re-write calls to action, refine your voice when posting to social media.
If anything doesn’t fit, remove it.
If anything doesn’t support your brand goals, send it packing.
Clarity and simplicity are refreshing.
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