Quick Primer: Evaluate 5 Key Factors in Your Brand Audit

Posted by Beth Crawford

From the moment prospects land on your website for the first time to the day they sign the contract with you, your brand makes a promise.  How well you keep that promise will determine the long-term health of your brand, reinforce the strength of your customer relationships, and will impact the profitability of your organization.

Every brand has a lifecycle. That’s why it’s a good idea to monitor your brand along the way – before sales dip. A comprehensive brand audit* can help you reveal new growth opportunities and identify new ways to make your brand resonate with target customers.

Here are five key factors to consider when taking stock of your brand as part of a brand audit:

Performance. The market evaluates your brand performance every day. Over time, your brand thrives or declines based on how well your business keeps its promises. Sometimes, sales may begin to slide because customers no longer put their faith in the brand’s value proposition or they may have moved on – to a competitor or to the next new priority. While your visual identity can quickly communicate your organization’s presence and personality, your brand is based on how well it performs and delivers value to customers.

Identity. Your brand identity is a type of visual shorthand that uses logos, design, colors and slogans instantly to communicate your organization’s presence, character and personality. Do prospects and customers know what your brand stands for? A brand audit can help you get a reality check on your brand identity — how well the personality of your brand is resonating.

Messaging. While visual consistency is critical, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Analyze what your brand actually communicates to prospects, customers and other stakeholders. What is the messaging that guides your marketing communications? Do all of your communications deliver a consistent message?

Positioning. Your brand positioning is based on a set of promises you make to your prospects, customers and other stakeholders. A brand stands for what an organization does for its customers and how it makes them feel. It’s an intangible asset that your business must sustain by delivering consistent value.  In evaluating your positioning, ask yourself these questions: What does your brand promise? Is it still relevant to customers? Does it reflect a competitive advantage?

Communications. Your brand positioning is an ongoing effort to define and communicate the brand promise. How well does your organization deliver on its differentiated promises and reinforce them through external marketing communications? How well does it deploy internal communications to reinforce the brand promise with internal stakeholders and team members?

Ultimately, you will enhance your brand (or not) over time based on 1) how well your organization performs, 2) how well it delivers on its value promises, and 3) how well it uses communications to remind customers of the value created and delivered.

What factors do you consider in evaluating and auditing your brand? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

*To qualify for a free brand audit, contact Scott Mikus at scottmikus@crawfordmikus.com.

by Elizabeth Crawford | Comments Off on Quick Primer: Evaluate 5 Key Factors in Your Brand Audit

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing? Here are 3 tips to help you set your priorities

Posted by Scott Mikus

There’s a lot of buzz out there about how inbound marketing is in – and outbound marketing is out.

But a recent Marketers’ Benchmark Report indicates that all this outbound vs. inbound talk is just a lot of noise.

Marketers ranked brand awareness, email marketing, lead generation and event marketing – all outbound marketing activities — among their most critically important initiatives.  What’s more, email marketing — clearly an outbound tactic — was rated the top-performing marketing channel in terms of ROI. So outbound marketing is still very much relevant.

As marketers, we’re constantly experimenting with new technologies and tactics, but the fundamentals of marketing remain.  As I like to say, positioning drives messaging drives awareness drives lead generation. That’s fundamental Marketing 101 stuff. So you can use inbound marketing tactics like SEO and social media all day long to entice more traffic to your site, but if you don’t have good branding and content that differentiate your offerings once they get there, then it’s all for nothing.

So this inbound versus outbound thing is really just an artificial debate. It’s not either/or. Inbound needs outbound and vice versa.  So how do you make sure you come up with a marketing plan that balances the best of inbound and outbound marketing tactics aligned with your business goals?

Here are 3 tips to help you establish your marketing priorities for the remainder of the year:

1) Build integrated campaigns. In our work with clients over the past 20-plus years, we’ve always found that an integrated marketing approach typically delivers the best results. One-off marketing activities done in a vacuum simply don’t deliver the ROI goods. Be sure to incorporate both inbound and outbound tactics in your integrated campaigns.

2) Branding is fundamental. Your brand is more than your website design. Branding is the way you do business, how you talk to the market and how your sales team talks to prospects.  If you just pour all your resources into inbound, then your brand will be impersonal and generic and won’t reflect your company’s unique value proposition.

3) Understand your target audience. If you focus too much on your brand and your products, you run the risk of boring your prospects. After all, they care most about finding solutions to their challenges – not your products.  So you need to get a deep understanding of your target audience through focus groups, surveys, customer advisory boards and buyer persona interviews. Skip this step and you risk losing prospects because your messaging doesn’t engage them – and you even risk losing clients when your solution fails to meet their needs.

What side do you come down on in the inbound vs. outbound debate? What are your marketing priorities? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or email me at scottmikus@crawfordmikus.com.


by Scott Mikus | Comments Off on Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing? Here are 3 tips to help you set your priorities