What is a brand audit outline?

What is a brand audit outline? Most would say it’s a long checklist of questions that force you to assess how consistent and effective your messaging is?

In truth, a brand audit is much more. Especially if you’re a relentlessly self-improving entrepreneur.

The definition of a brand audit outline. (Let’s get existential)

Once you get past the mundane (yet necessary) bits – are your logo and design consistent, does your writing have the same tone across all media, does your messaging resonate with your target audience – you get into existential territory.

That is, are you building the brand you want?

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you have a hard time balancing your flurry of business-building activity with feet-up-on-the-desk time for reflection. Before you launched the business, you may have thought about what it could be in a few years. But when you’re running out of runway, distributors are questioning if you can deliver, and payroll is Friday, you aren’t getting much quiet time to ponder.

A brand audit forces that quiet time on you.

You’ll clearly see if you’ve been chipping away at your values in order to secure orders; if you’ve been diluting your message to reach a broader audience; if you’ve been taking too much advice from too many people, creating a mish-mash of messages.

Far from being an indictment of your business or leadership skills, these meanderings are a natural result of trying to make it all work. A brand audit is simply the mirror you hold up to do a gut check and see if things are wandering off course.

The definition of a brand audit outline should be…

Check the literature, and you’ll see the most common definition of a brand audit is a checkup that evaluates your brand’s position in the marketplace, it’s strengths and weaknesses, and how to strengthen it.

For relentlessly self-improving entrepreneurs, that definition should be lengthened a bit. Not only is it a checkup, but it’s a moment to pause and reflect if you’re building a company that reflects your values and vision, or a company that is taking the easy road to short term gains.

It’s a critical addendum. Short term gains are necessary, but if the compromises necessary for them become habitual, you may find the company you started beginning to disappear.

Here’s what that looks like.

In one of my larger projects (reimagining healthcare for an entire province), I saw how our foundational healthcare institutions (hospitals, public health insurance, etc) were originally conceived to solve traumatic health problems – that is, broken bones and illnesses. Over the years, however, the population had gotten older, necessitating a system that focused on chronic health problems – diabetes, heart disease, cancer. The ‘solution’ was to simply bolt new features onto the old system, making it more bureaucratic and byzantine.

Nobody is comparing your entrepreneurial venture with a 100 year old health system. But the analogy is worth keeping in mind.

Why is a brand audit necessary?

A regular brand audit is vital to any business because it catches inconsistencies that, if left unchecked, could lead to confusion and counter-productive messaging in the marketplace.

But the moment of pause is an equally important reason for conducting a brand audit.

Treat it as a an opportunity to reflect on the direction your business is headed. Are things on track? Does it pass the tummy test? Or are you starting to see inconsistencies and compromises creep in?

Now’s the time to ask the tough questions, reflect on them, and recommit to the vision of the company you’re trying to build.

A brand audit doesn’t need to be hard

I’ve done hundreds of brand audits for companies. Based on my experience, I’ve created a free brand audit I give to qualified prospects. You can check it out here, and drop me a line if you’re interested in doing the audit. Look forward to engaging!

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