If your brand was a cup of coffee what type of coffee would it be?
Imagine stepping into your favourite coffee shop, where a welcome smile awaits and the familiar aroma reminds you this is the place where you are delighted to spend the next ½ an hour simply relaxing.
You know the coffee experience will be perfect, just as you like it, because it always is. The smooth, rich flavour sets you up for the rest of the day. One thing’s for sure, you’ll be back again and again and again.
But, life’s not always full of the perfect coffee experience, is it?
Along the way you’re subjected to dishwater masquerading as coffee. At least you have a suspicion it’s going to be dire, so you can choose to refuse. Unlike the cup of coffee that’s full of promise, but the first bitter sip sends your taste buds into a frenzy of disappointment.
Just as your expectations are set from the ambience of the coffee shop, the design of cup, the look, smell and taste of your chosen latte, cappuccino or espresso, so do your customers have an expectation as they familiarise themselves and interact with your brand.
Where along the coffee scale does your brand sit?
It’s a serious question to consider. Depending on how eye catching, inspiring and dependable the interactions your prospects and customers have with your brand will determine how successful your business is.
How do you know where your brand is on the coffee scale?
The answer: A Brand Audit.
Conducting a brand audit is a worthwhile exercise. There are many benefits to gain. You can:
- Double check that your brand accurately reflects the business as it is today (not how it was when you first started out)
- Determine how outsiders perceive of your brand (it may be different to what you think)
- Make small adjustments to correct misalignments and avoid misunderstandings
- See how you stand up against your competitors. What do they do well? How can you counteract that?
- Check that your brand will take the business into the future
- Ensure your brand encourages loyalty from your customers
- Retain and attract the best employees
Gather the evidence
The first steps of a brand audit is to gather and list the evidence.
Start with the obvious:
- All tangible marketing materials including business cards, flyers, brochures, letterhead
- Your business plan
- Your business story
- Brand guidelines (colours, fonts)
- Website including a list of all domains
Then the less obvious:
- Key words
- Email signature
- Vehicles (wrapped, clean)
- How is your telephone answered and what is your voice message?
- What is displayed when you pop up on the Internet? Check your Google account and on-line directories you registered with many years ago.
A useful way to build this list is to think about all the touch points a prospect has from first becoming aware of your business through to when they become a customer and a returning loyal customer.
Review your list
Having gathered the evidence, the next step is to review. You may scatter the hard copy marketing material on a table. What does it say? Dishwater or strong and robust? Is it consistent?
When was the content on your website last updated? Does it reflect an accurate image of the business? Are all other on-line instances consistent.
How do your employees perceive your brand? Ask your customers too, if you can?
Write a brief report of your findings. The framework of a SWOT analysis could be helpful here.
You may be quite attached to your brand, after all it’s your baby, but it’s important to keep an open mind throughout the review. This is when a third party’s opinion will be most useful. Of course, you can do a DIY brand audit, but when you consider the benefits that this review brings to the business the opinion and advice of a brand specialist completes the job properly.
We invite you to take the Brand/Coffee test?
By now you’ve probably realised we are just as passionate about our coffee as we are about creating strong brands.
If you’re serious about creating a strong and trusted brand that will stand your business in good stead over the coming years, get in touch and let’s arrange a chat over a nice cup of coffee.
You can call us on 01293 886805 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
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