How to Audit Your Brand Experience for Consistency — And Why It Matters
Does your brand look and feel the same for a customer who likes your Facebook page as it does for another customer reading your email newsletter? What about for a customer who purchases a product on their mobile device versus one who visits your website from a computer?
Your customers should have the same brand experience regardless of what platform, device, or channel they use to interact with your brand — and this is particularly true across your brand’s different digital channels. Consistency lends itself to brand recognition, which generates consumer trust.
The critical nature of consistency means branding is every team’s job, not just the responsibility of the marketing team. Read on for more about why a consistent brand experience is important for your bottom line, and how you can audit your brand to see if you’re on the right track.
The Importance of Brand Consistency
In 2016, Interbrand charted the cohesiveness of renowned brands like Apple, Google, Honda, Sony, General Mills, and Xerox against their revenue compound annual growth rate. It found that customers reward cohesive brands by buying from them more, leading to greater corporate growth.
Put in the simplest of terms: a consistent brand equals greater revenue.
If your company thinks of branding as the domain of the marketing team alone, that mindset may be holding you back from achieving maximum revenue. Take Apple, for instance. The company delivers seamless, consistent brand experiences across all its products — whether it’s the Macbook or the iPhone — and in all its locations where customers purchase products or receive customer service, whether that’s in person, at an Apple store, or online. This type of holistic experience requires everyone in the company to be on board; not only the marketing team, but also their customer service team, product design team, sales team, and more.
A seamless brand experience across channels can help encourage customers to share their personal data, because they know it will lead to increased personalization in their interactions with your brand.
How to Audit Your Brand for Consistency
The first step in ensuring a consistent brand experience is to take stock of where your brand is now.
A brand audit can be a simple, in-house assessment, or an in-depth evaluation conducted by an outside firm. If you’re thinking of conducting your own brand audit, we recommend taking the following steps:
1. Evaluate Branding Materials
Collect anything and everything your company has that’s related to branding. This includes style guides, color palettes, logos, editorial guidelines, and so on. Look at your company’s mission and vision statements, as well as all existing content to evaluate your brand's voice.
Some questions to ask in your audit:
- How effectively do your branding materials reflect your mission and vision?
- What kind of gaps do you notice between your branding materials?
- Is your voice the same across channels — or perhaps, do you have a defined voice?
2. Talk to Employees, Customers, and Potential Customers
Ask employees, customers, and potential customers what they think of your brand. What mental or emotional associations come up when they hear your company’s name or see the logo? Do they understand what your company offers, and why that product or service is needed? How do they feel about your brand?
Whether you conduct interviews, send surveys, or assemble focus groups, your research can reveal some surprising insights about how your brand is perceived. The goal is to uncover where your brand is strong, and where it could use improvement.
3. Review the Data
Take a look at all the marketing and sales data available to you — this includes data on email marketing efforts, social media campaigns, sales in the last quarter, website visits, etc. Examine your most and least popular content and products or services. Compare this to the interviews you conducted. What does all of this information together tell you about the strengths and weaknesses of your brand?
4. Compare Digital Channels
Pretend to be a customer and journey across all of your brand’s digital channels. What is consistent about the brand experience? What is not? Does anything jump out at you as feeling “off-brand” or as a potential missed opportunity? Where does the brand shine through and where does it need strengthening? Again, take these insights in conjunction with the interviews and data you’ve collected.
By the end of your brand audit, you should have a strong idea of your brand’s current strengths and where your brand experience can be more cohesive. You can now start to strategically move forward with this information to help get everyone in your company on board with brand consistency.
If you’d like a partner to guide you through a brand audit or help you build a strategy after your audit, RelationEdge can help. As a digital marketing consulting partner, our expert marketing team will collaborate with you to ensure your brand experience is consistent and strong across all of your digital channels. Reach out to us to start a conversation today.