Audits and Brand Competitor Research

Brand competitor research and brand audits help you evaluate customers perception of your business and how to make improvements.

What is a brand audit?

A brand audit is a comprehensive review of all brand assets and an analysis of how they’re performing.

There can be many reasons why this is needed.  Perhaps we need to revisit the brand in light of new sector developments. Maybe the brand isn’t performing on new platforms and new technologies. Perhaps your client exceptions have changed or you’re looking to attract a new kind of customer.

First we establish what criteria we’re measuring against. From this we can build a clearer picture of what is working and what is needs to change. This normally originates from well defined strategic standpoint which has been subject to robust interrogation and research. This removes a lot of the subjective criticism which often influence decisions.  The better this strategic platform, the better the brand will perform.

Once we have established what we’re trying to achieve, we can examine how the current brand is performing. How do your current customers perceive your business? In order to find out we embark on a process of discovery using survey tools, feedback forms, social media engagement and website analytics.  The best tool however is to make some important phone calls or meet customers in person.  There is nothing better than getting first hand testimonials on your brand and how it could improve.

We also need to find out where in the current market your brand fits.  This could be the biggest surprise as this will often differ from the view from within the business. Brands can get ‘stuck’ occupying place in the market in which customers have deserted for new more flexible brands. In order to provide a better idea of the market position, we need to research competitors and similar sized brands.  How have they adapted to the challenges outlined in your brand strategy?

Brand competitor research example

Example of competitor logo research. For more details visit the logo design case study here >

Cafe research document

Research document outlining competitor visual identities. For the Suffolk coffee shop case study click here >

How will brand competitor research help?

Examining your competitors will show how other businesses have taken on the challenges you face. Brand competitor research is a great way to look at their visual brand to show what they think is important and the type of customer they think they wish to appeal to.

Who are your direct competitors?
– These are competitors who offer the exact same product or service you do. You will probably know who these are, but putting yourself in the position of a customer might uncover new direct competitors.

Who are your indirect competitors?
– These are competitors who don’t provide the exact product or service you do, but could be offering an alternative which could ultimately lead in lost business.  For example, if you’re a garden centre, then we need to look at all other retail destinations, irrespective if they sell plants and garden furniture.  They are still competing with how your customers choose to spend time.

Who are going to be your future competitors?
– Its difficult to legislate against start ups offering an alternative product or service, but we can assume there will be a new kid on the block at some point. What we can do is look at established businesses and how they might effect your market. Using the garden centre example, we could be looking at how places like supermarkets or local cafes could start to impact sales should they introduce similar products.

Who are similar sized brands in different sectors?
– If you’re comfortable you know your a low/mid/high range business we can look to equivalent businesses in different sectors.  How do these businesses create their own market position? How does their visual style reflect their customer? Once you resolve which businesses are targeting your customers, you can use this information to see what style works best.  What is the tone of voice used? what visual styles are being used? What images are being utilised?

These projects represent just a selection of my work. For rights reasons and confidentiality I do not show any of the work completed on behalf of marketing agencies or marketing consultants. If you would like to discuss these project and see more examples, drop me a line and we can get together.

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