Creating a brand for your business can be one of the most challenging aspects of building it. But it is also one of the most important. That’s because people don’t buy a product or service; they buy the story that’s attached to it. And that’s part of what your brand is.
Much more than a name, a logo, or a tagline, you can think of your brand as your business’ personality. It’s also one of the most powerful ways you establish credibility, communicate your message, and stand apart from everyone else doing or selling something similar as you.
When people first decide to start a businesses, they oftentimes think that having a logo and an Instagram account will be enough — enough to hit their sales targets, enough to build a community of loyal customers, enough to attract their dream partnerships. But the truth is, these things are just pieces of a much bigger (and strategic) picture.
So, you already know that establishing your brand guidelines is the first move. But you also want to be sure you’re sticking to them over time and throughout your business journey. A great way to do this is by scheduling regular brand reviews.
Why Every Business Should Do A Routine Brand Review
Creating a ton of amazing content that your audience really cares about is hard work, am I right? It’s not an easy thing to do. In fact, it takes a lot of time and energy. A brand review can help you determine what’s been working, what hasn’t, and what opportunities you might actually be missing out on that could move your business forward.
It can also help with having a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in your business. Now, even if you’re not a data nerd like I am, you have to admit that’s pretty cool to know how your content is doing especially after pouring your heart and soul into building this amazing business of yours.
So, how often should you be reviewing your brand? I recommend doing a brand review every 6 months, but at the very least, you should be checking in annually. The beginning of the year is a great time for it as well with the previous year still fresh in your mind, which can make it easier to evaluate.
Now let’s talk about the actual process. I’m including a link to my 5-page Brand Review Guide + Checklist (which you can download for free) if you want to grab that now and follow along as you make your way through the rest of this post.
Here’s how you go about auditing your brand.
1. Consolidate the Elements
Prepare to go on a screenshot spree! Collect and organize all of your brand materials to review in one place. You can use an app like Cloud or even use Dropbox, Google Drive, or create a new folder on your computer desktop. Consolidating everything will make it easier to review altogether and identify any outliers that need more consideration. Things you can include:
- Textures or design accents
- Photo Style
- Color Scheme
- Messaging and tone
- Page Titles
- Blog Headlines
- Business cards
- Letterhead & envelopes
- Website screen shots
- Social headers
- Blog Title Graphics
Separately, you’ll want to review your most popular posts on social media as well so you know which ones are working the best for your brand. Creating more posts like these will be a priority! Use an app like Command to figure out your best performers.
Here is where you might run into trouble: don’t get too caught up on collecting every single thing (unless you find that helpful and can do this in an efficient manner!). This exercise should really be about honing in on how your brand has been communicating value to your audience across your different channels. That way, you can identify any gaps that may need re-aligning.
2. Examine & Plan
Okay, now that you’ve collected all of your brand materials and visual touch points, you’ll need to review each of these and note what’s been working and what hasn’t been. Go down the list. Review your brand voice, word choice, cohesion of titles, font choices, graphics, color palettes, etc. For things that wouldn’t be found in your style guide, check your analytics to properly measure the impact it’s had on your brand.
Make note of anything that doesn’t meet your brand guidelines. Figure out why these things went live in the first place and how to avoid it in the future. Also, be cognizant of the direction you have been heading in. Having this kind of awareness is how you will start to see gaps in your brand. Ask yourself questions like: Do you need to update your color scheme based on the kinds of lifestyle photos you’ve been posting? Do you have consistent visuals, but inconsistent wording and tone? Address questions like this before you move on, so you know what improvements need to be made.
3. Big Picture & Action Plan
By now, you should have a good idea of what not to do and what to do more of. Now it’s strategy time. Make a list of what improvements need to be made, how you will make them, and who can help you achieve your maximum brand potential. Prioritize each item then create an outline for deadlines and delegation — who will take care of what and when will they have it done by. Once you start updating things one by one, you can monitor your progress and results at your next brand review.
So there you have it, my friend– how to do a brand review in 3 simple steps! Remember, every brand is different so keep in mind that each one you do may look different as you refine your process. Just focus on adjusting what you need to and take it one step at a time.
Ready to dive in? Download my 5-page Brand Review Checklist now. This comprehensive guide will help keep you organized and minimize any overwhelm.
Have you ever done a brand review before and have other tips? Or will this be your first one? Sound off in the comments below!