Alright, team, we’ve almost made it out of 2020! While I know most of us want to leave this year behind, when it comes to moving forward with your brand, you’ve gotta look back first. In this article, I’m talking all about why you need to do a brand review every year, what you need to review, and how to review it.
With a good brand strategy in place, your brand is designed to tell your story, communicate your purpose, and exemplify your values. Part of an effective brand strategy is doing a brand review so that before you move forward with your brand, you understand where it currently sits in the market and how your audience currently perceives it.
But what exactly is a brand review?
“A brand review is “a thorough examination of a brand’s health at a specific moment in time” – AYTM
It’s an opportunity to reflect on your brand, gather information and data about how it’s performing and coming across, and make intentional, informed decisions about how to move it forward.
Okay, so we know what a brand review is, but why do it? Why spend the time looking back when you could be looking forward? Well, I’ll tell ya! Here are three reasons you need to do a brand review:
As a business owner, you want to have the most confidence that you possibly can that your brand is aligning with your vision, working with your mission, and moving you towards your goals. Whatever your mission is, your goals for 2020 were, and your message should be, you need to know that the branding you have is aligned with those things and communicating the right things to the right audience. Reviewing your brand allows you to regularly check in on your brand and ensure that you’re on track.
Every year has its ups and downs, and building a brand is a continual process of iterating and improving. That means that chances are, you had some successes that we want to celebrate and implement again next year, as well as some things that maybe didn’t work so well or could do with some improvements going into the coming 12 months.
If you tried new things this year that worked, it’s a great time to identify those things and ask:
And on the other hand, if elements of your brand didn’t go so well or could do with a spruce up, you can note those things and ask:
Once you’ve looked back, seen how aligned your brand is or isn’t, and identified elements to keep and elements to ditch, you can confidently make an intentional and informed plan for next year.
You will know what actions to continue implementing, what projects you need to work on, and what things to stop focusing on so that overall you can work towards your goals next year.
This means that instead of turning up to your desk in January and wondering what to focus on, randomly trying different things that might build your brand, you’ll have an actionable plan for what to work on!
Okay, so now you know what brand reviews are and why they’re important, let’s talk about how to actually do them. There are many ways that you can take a look back at your brand throughout the year, but here are six ways that I recommend getting started.
Firstly, a gut-check with yourself is a great place to start when it comes to your brand. After all, this is your brand, so you need to check in on how you feel about it.
Get out your journal, open up your notes app, or whatever works for you, and ask:
This will give you a great initial sense of where your brand is at, what you know about how it’s gone this year, and how you feel about it.
Of course, a brand is ultimately what your audience thinks of you, so to track how your brand is going, you’ve gotta ask your audience!
To get a range of opinions from people who experience your brand in different ways at different stages of the customer journey, you can ask:
And there are multiple ways that you can gather this info:
Another way to review your brand is to look at your analytics. Now when it comes to your brand, numbers are not the be-all-and-end-all, but they can help paint a picture of where you’re at. Just know what branding is about perception, not about percentages, so if the numbers aren’t where you’d thought or hoped they’d be, it’s okay!!
But when you do look at your numbers, here are some you can review:
By looking at your social media, website, emails, SEO, and more, this can help you see how your brand is resonating, who it’s attracting, how well it’s engaging, and more.
Now’s also a great time to do an audit of all your brand touchpoints. First, let me explain what that means.
“A brand touchpoint occurs any time a person in the marketplace interacts with the brand”
In other words, a brand touchpoint is any time that someone in your audience encounters your brand either in person or online.
Auditing these means you can look at your whole brand and see what parts are on-brand and which parts aren’t. This includes your brand identity, the visuals, the messaging, the feeling, the experience, and more.
For example, along the journey of a customer finding, purchasing, and receiving your products, the touchpoints they encounter could be:
It’s important to make sure that over time, you reach a point where all of these touchpoints are on-brand and aligned with what you want your audience to experience. Auditing them means you can see which ones you can improve on next year and pop into your annual plan!
When you’ve done all of this reviewing, it’s time to do an overall analysis of what you’ve discovered. A super simple way to do this is by doing a SWOT analysis. This means identifying your brand’s:
You can pop these into a table, or just list them out, and think through what you’ve found out throughout this brand review to give you an overall analysis of your brand this year.
And lastly, it’s time to wrap up and plan.
After your SWOT analysis, you’re going to want to note your key findings about your brand.
Some questions you can answer to do this include:
Then it’s time to plan for next year, set your goals, and put some action plans in place to make it happen!
At the end of this process, you’ll have a full annual review of your brand that ensures you’re aligning with your vision, highlights your highs and lows, and gives you a strong, actionable direction for next year.
December 9, 2020