When was the last time you undertook a brand audit?
Having a strong brand is essential for your business. If your branding is not generating value, you are compromising opportunity.
A brand audit becomes a brand investment:
Any investment into your business will be rigorously considered against a set of parameters and ROI. A brand refresh or undertaking a rebranding initiative is very often considered when a business reaches a milestone. For example, when reaching 10, 15, 20 years in business, or when a new CMO/COO joins the company, presenting reason to rethink the status quo or to make improvements to the brand image.
Whilst these can make for sound courses of action, there is a more analytical approach required to well-rounded brand management.
Brand performance should be assessed and evaluated on a timely basis to ensure that your branding is in line with your vision and values, relevant to stakeholder groups – both external customers and internal – and consistently experienced across all touch points.
The significance of strong, relevant branding:
A powerful brand will inspire and engage your audience and ultimately increase conversions and sales. A strong, consistent brand retains customers and requires less spend to attract new ones. A powerful brand also cultivates referrals and commands a premium.
However, an inconsistent, irrelevant and or disconnected brand will not achieve desired results such as these.
What is a brand audit?
A calculated approach to brand management should involve regular brand audits. A brand audit, often termed a brand health check, is a thorough examination of a brand’s current position in the market, against the competition, providing a review of effectiveness. A comprehensive brand audit will reveal new growth opportunities for your business, and new ways to make your brand resonate with both existing and a new generation of target customers who will represent your brand’s long-term future. Even seemingly successful brands need a regular brand audit or health check to keep them on track to reach their goals.
In short, a brand audit will assess and evaluate the performance of your brand against a series of criteria including:
- Relevance to achieving your business vision and reflecting your established business values
- Your relevance in the marketplace to stakeholder groups – especially your primary target audience
- The integration of your brand’s visuals, services and products in relation to customer experience
- The consistency of your branding across all customer touch points.
A brand audit can be scaled to any business size, sector and customer base, and can be as thorough as required. Most importantly, undertaking a brand audit will deliver solutions that can be transformed into actionable results. Gaps in your branding will be identified (or not!) and investment into your rebrand, brand refresh or customer experience application efforts can be efficiently focused and tailored.
Keeping branding relevant and on track is important in driving brand value and relevance. Similarly to any other asset, your brand requires managing diligently through application, monitoring, evaluation and maintenance.
At IM London, we love branding and pride ourselves in being experts in maximising our clients’ brand value with strategic execution and considered creative solutions. If you need to assess your brand performance, need support with a brand audit or are looking to undertake a brand refresh, we’d love to speak to you about your branding goals.
Drop us a line at email@example.com!
‘Return on Experience’ (ROX) is being recognised as one of the best ways to realise more value from your business; for hotels and restaurants where experience is everything, it is a useful approach to business planning.
The return on investment to be gained from delivering a great guest experience is dependent for the most part on employees. Their knowledge, motivation, energy and know-how are as important, if not more important, than many aspects of the physical product, including technology.
Therefore investing in and measuring ROX, which takes into account employee engagement as well as financial results, guest satisfaction and efficiencies puts the spotlight on ensuring your employees’ experience within the organisation is as it should be.
According to Accenture, employers offering a great employee experience outperform the S&P Index by 122%
To retain fully engaged employees and offer them a great brand experience, taking the time to understand things from their perspective is the place to start.
This includes everything they see, feel, observe and experience throughout their journey within the organisation – not just their career development path. It includes the everyday, the here and now. The company culture and team spirit, the willingness of leaders and supervisors to take time to support their teams as well as providing the tools, technology and resources to excel at serving the guest at every touch point. This kind of support is expected by all your employees especially the most talented – the ones who can move on at any time to new and better opportunities.
Getting the right balance is hard; whilst younger employees may prioritise their development and growth opportunities, others may look for maximum flexibility to help them meet commitments to family, children and parents.
Good hotel leaders are well ahead in retaining great talent through cultures that enable people to be their best, which in itself builds social capital within the organisation and status externally as an employer. This is ROX at its best.
How can the ROX approach help ensure your brand’s ‘employee experience’ stacks up to the expectations of today’s workforce?
The answer is a virtuous circle that aims to embed high employee satisfaction which in turn drives guest satisfaction that results in guest loyalty and higher spend.
For a virtuous circle that embraces the employee brand experience as well as the guest’s brand experience, here are some key goals to frame an action plan
- Self-esteem – make internal brand ownership aspirational
- Influencers – encourage internal influencers to engage others
- Behaviours – recognise the right behaviour in performance management
- Value – identify & reward the creation of value in the guest’s eyes
- Financial – share and celebrate financial success
For help with employee experience, employee engagement, brand engagement, internal communications and Return on Experience: firstname.lastname@example.org
Are your business strategy, growth objectives and brand strategy aligned?
Ideally a firm’s business strategy is debated, developed, executed, measured and justified on an ongoing basis by an ambitious and diligent senior team. If the firm’s business strategy is a working piece and translated into a set of agile plans, then the firm’s brand strategy should provide powerful energy to move this forward. If this is not happening, then the brand management process should, when systematically carried out, be the catalyst to clarifying the aspirations and success objectives.
In either scenario, it may be time to check that the business vision, values and plans are being translated into all branding touch points whilst staying relevant.
If the firm is growing into new markets, sectors and demographics of any difference, you must reach out with tailored relevance. Again, be considered at all levels including branding.
Whatever the size of the firm, vision and values need to be up to date and communicated for onboarding new people. How else will they know how to contribute to the brand in providing a service without any degree of guideline?
It’s all about the people – to deliver on the brand promise, values and services with consistency and enthusiasm requires an understanding and engagement of brand development. Understanding the strategy behind the brand enables partners, managers and teams to bring the brand to life authentically through tangible means, from pitching for a new business to answering phone calls. The end to end consideration of all touchpoints has been part of the brand development process for many sectors for some time, particularly airlines and hospitality. For the professional sectors, we would argue there is much opportunity to stride ahead and create this differentiation.
Is the firm not only communicating what they stand for but also claiming this space as their own? If not, there is probably a need to refresh the look and feel of key brand assets to meet new times and claim their space in the current market.
Seemingly obvious but a brand’s website should engage with their target audience with the best of who, what, how and why. Whether this is to attract visitors or to reinforce a sense of confidence and legitimacy, the site needs to be on-brand and relevant to your clients today and tomorrow…not for yesterday.
There’s no short cut – brand strategy is a part of business strategy you should not ignore if you are aiming to grow a business. Its focus will put pressure on the discipline within our overall business strategy.