A big mistake most small business owners make is clearly defining who their brand is. A brand is separate from the company – a brand is the personality and reputation of a company. A brand is what makes a company human. Consumers care about what you have to offer them, not what you’re trying to sell them.
It’s important for brands to regularly perform brand audits on themselves to make sure the products and services are in line with the image and message they wish to portray. Let’s use a small events business as our example for brand auditing.
This business has been performing well because of successful word-of-mouth and referrals by her happy consumers. They feel ready to expand and wish to do so digitally. They’ve been honing on their digital presence, specifically Instagram. They feel it’s hard for them to garner followers.
A family friend that does marketing and advertising and full-time commented to them that their brand isn’t established; they aren’t clearly defined so it’ll be hard for consumers to want to follow them and engage with them and potentially request their services. Therefore, she requested a brand audit.
The first step is a brand inventory. Her services are party planning, wedding planning and arrangement building. These services aren’t clearly marketed or defined by the company – the business owner just shows her final work but doesn’t share what exactly she does. An event includes many details and it’s not clear how she contributes to the party.
Based on this, the next step is brand exploration. The business owner must understand how consumers feel about the brand and they act towards it. In order to understand brand equity, qualitative and quantitative research techniques should be employed. This can be done through focus groups and surveys. Another great opportunity for learning is attending expos for event planning, such as wedding planning events, to gauge what consumers look for in event planning businesses. The business owner can also conduct a SWOT analysis and get a deeper look at her competitors.
Once this research is obtained, the business owner should create a mental map and determined core brand associations to discover avenues for where she can insert and develop her brand. These tactics will help determine the brand equity and help the business owner determine gaps within the brand to evolve.
An example of great branding to check out is McDonald’s. Read more to learn about why McDonald’s and their Golden Arches are so iconic.