Female marketing team member shares insight about how to do a brand audit.
June 13, 2023

How to Do a B2B Brand Audit: 7 Strategic Steps

by Michael Brenner

In today’s competitive business landscape, a brand’s success hinges on its ability to connect with customers, differentiate itself, and adapt to changing market dynamics. That’s why knowing how to do a brand audit is essential.

 A brand audit involves a comprehensive evaluation of a company’s brand and its various components, aiming to assess its health, performance, and goal alignment.

But completing such a comprehensive process can seem daunting, even for experienced B2B brand strategy professionals. That’s why we’ve written this article to break it down step by step.

This article defines a brand audit and why they’re important, then outlines key actions involved in conducting one for your business. 

Quick Takeaways

  • A brand audit is a crucial examination of a company’s brand, evaluating its health and alignment with goals. 
  • Defining objectives is the first step in a brand audit, setting measurable goals tailored to the company’s unique needs. Clarity is key.
  • Brand audits require comprehensive internal assessment of strategy, messaging, channels, content, and differentiation effectiveness.
  • Gathering stakeholder feedback is vital. Interviews, surveys, and discussions with customers, employees, partners, and industry experts provide valuable insights. 
  • Creating a documented action plan is essential for utilizing audit findings effectively. 

What is a Brand Audit?

A brand audit or assessment is a comprehensive examination and evaluation of a company’s brand and its related elements. It involves assessing the overall health and performance of a brand, analyzing its position in the market, and identifying areas for improvement. 

The purpose of a brand audit is to gain insights into how well a brand is aligned with its goals, objectives, target audience, and marketplace dynamics.

During a brand audit, various aspects of a brand are evaluated, including its visual identity (logo, colors, typography), messaging and communication strategies, brand perception among customers and stakeholders, competitive positioning, and brand consistency across different touchpoints.

Diagram showing the elements of a brand audit, including identity, strategy, positioning, and experience.

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The audit typically involves internal and external research. Internally, it may include interviews with key stakeholders, employees, and management to understand the brand’s vision, values, and positioning. Externally, customer surveys, market research, and competitor analysis are all conducted to gauge the brand’s reputation, perception, and market share.

The findings of a brand audit help identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) related to the brand. This information guides the development of strategies and tactics to enhance the brand’s positioning, differentiation, and overall effectiveness.

It enables companies to make informed decisions on brand management, marketing campaigns, and future brand development initiatives.

Ultimately, a brand audit serves as a critical tool for assessing the current state of your brand, uncovering insights and informing strategic actions to strengthen and improve brand performance in the marketplace.

Let’s look at how to conduct a brand audit in 7 clear steps.

How to Conduct a Brand Audit

Define Your Objectives

A successful brand audit starts with setting defined and measurable objectives that keep it on track. Clearly outline what you want to accomplish with your audit. Are you looking to better understand your competitive position? Understand your brand perception? Review content to increase your online presence?

These are just a few examples. The point is, while there are best practices for conducting a brand audit, the purpose behind it is never quite the same for any two companies. To get the most out of your efforts, take time to know define your purpose and objectives as the start.

Use a framework like SMART goals to help you be specific enough that your goals (and the metrics you use to measure them) will actually hold you accountable.

Review Brand Strategy, Identity, and Positioning

To review your brand’s current strategy and positioning, comprehensively examine your core values, mission, and target audience alignment. Evaluate the effectiveness of your messaging and positioning in resonating with your audience. Assess how well your brand differentiates itself from competitors and capitalizes on market trends.

Analyze the consistency and relevance of your visual identity. Creating a brand mood board (like the example pictured below) can help with this step, providing a holistic visual representation of your brand.

Example of a brand mood board featuring a red, gray, and white color palette.

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Also consider customer feedback and perceptions to gauge your brand’s reputation. Identify strengths to leverage and weaknesses to address. This review will unveil insights to refine and realign your brand strategy and positioning for maximum impact and sustained growth.

Evaluate Channels and Touchpoints

Customers interact with brands on more than 10 channels throughout the course of their buyer and customer journeys. Your brand, then, must execute a variety of tactics to be present across channels and maintain many touchpoints for engagement. With so many moving parts at play, it can be easy for a multichannel marketing strategy to get messy.

That’s why it’s so important to evaluate them during your brand audit. Assess how effectively you’re engaging on each channel, how each contributes to lead gen and conversion, and how they interact with each other to deliver a seamless experience.

Look for opportunities to maximize ROI on your best-performing channels and optimize the overarching journey your audiences have across all of them.

Review Content

Content is one of the central contributors to B2B marketing success—it generates organic traffic, establishes your brand reputation, showcases thought leadership, and adds value for customers at every stage of their journey.

It’s also a competitive imperative. More than 90% of companies use content marketing in their strategy, and the majority also take steps like appointing someone to oversee content strategy and creating a documented content plan.

Content marketing statistics that emphasize the competitive necessity of a content strategy, including that 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing.

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Your content should always have intentional, focused goals. Assess the topics you’re covering, the formats and content types you use, the way you share it, and the extent to which customers engage with content you create.

Look for strategic opportunities to leverage content to achieve brand lift and improve the way your brand is perceived on the market.

Perform a Competitive Analysis

During a brand audit, conducting a comprehensive competitive analysis is an essential component. It involves meticulous examination of the competitive landscape to gain insights and strategic advantages.

Start by identifying key competitors, understanding their market share, target audience, and positioning. Scrutinize their messaging, branding, and visual identity to evaluate their differentiation strategies. Analyze their online presence, including website performance, social media engagement, and content strategies. 

Assess their product or service offerings, pricing models, and customer experience. Delve into customer reviews and feedback to gauge their reputation. Most importantly, document your findings so you can review them with your team and use them to move your business ahead in the future.

Get Stakeholder Feedback

The best way to understand your brand from the perspective of your customers is to ask them directly. And when conducting a brand audit, gathering stakeholder feedback is crucial. Identify your key stakeholders, including customers, employees, partners, and industry experts. 

Utilize diverse methods to obtain feedback. Conduct interviews or surveys with customers to gauge their perceptions and expectations. Engage employees through focus groups or internal surveys to understand their experiences and suggestions.

Collaborate with partners to gather their insights on brand interactions. Seek industry experts’ opinions through interviews or panel discussions. Ensure anonymity to encourage honesty and transparency. 

Analyze the collected feedback, identify common themes, and evaluate alignment with brand goals. This comprehensive stakeholder feedback enables a holistic understanding of the brand’s current position and areas for improvement.

Create an Action Plan

Once you’ve completed your brand audit using internal and external research, it’s time to put it all together and create a plan for action. Ultimately, your brand audit is only as valuable as the extent to which you actually use it, and translating your insights to strategy is a must to earn ROI from your efforts.

Work with your team to create a documented plan that includes strategic goals and initiatives, tasks, deadlines, and persons responsible for executing each step.

Over to You

The exact process looks a little different for every company, but knowing how to do a brand audit using the steps outlined above ensures you get complete insight and can use your audit as a means toward achieving your most important goals.

With a committed team in place, clearly defined objectives, honest internal reviews and external research, and a documented plan for action, your brand audit can be a transformative effort that positions your brand for long-term future success.

Michael Brenner is a keynote speaker, author and CEO of Marketing Insider Group. Michael has written hundreds of articles on sites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Guardian and he speaks at dozens of leadership conferences each year covering topics such as marketing, leadership, technology and business strategy.