How-to Evaluate Weaknesses
In Your Branding
March 4, 2021 / Branding
When was the last time you evaluated weakness in your branding? Identifying the areas that have room for improvement isn’t exactly how we want to spend our time, but having a strong brand is one of the most crucial assets for a business. Consumers are drawn to brands that are recognizable and consistent, pay a premium for these brands and remain loyal to said brands. Understanding where you excel and (more importantly!) where your weaknesses lie, helps you see where your business is headed, improves your reputation, and puts your business front of mind over your competitors.
First and foremost, it’s important to have clarity about what branding is. Logo and brand are often used interchangeably, but your logo is just one component of your brand. Branding is a collection of design (logo, colors, advertising, store layout, employee outfits, etc.) but also the language you use (how you answer the phone, customer service, social media content, etc.) and the experience you provide your customers (how employees interact with customers, the napkins you use, ease of use of your product or store, etc.). All of these things make up the way your customers perceive you and your business and impacts their emotional response to your product or service.
It is important to actively brand your business or your customers will do it for you. You want to drive their perception, because what your customers think, feel and say about you, is your brand. Today we are going to discuss how to evaluate the weakness in your branding, so you can ensure that your brand image (customers perceptions) are in line with your brand identity (how you view yourself).
Shall we get started?
Identify the services you provide and what their key benefits are. Next to each service, note what you excel at within that specific service and what your potential weaknesses are. Think about what you promise to your clients/customers when they purchase your services, and whether there are any gaps between what you promise and what you deliver.
Identify your customer base. You want to note who is purchasing your products/services and their demographics.
- Be specific about who they are: age, gender, location, employment, spending habits, hobbies, ethnicity, interests, etc. The more specific you are about your audience, the more you can understand their motivations and what drives them to make a purchase. Not everyone is going to be your customer, so you don’t need to speak to everyone. This is crucial to ensuring that your brand communication and messaging are always working for you, rather than against you.
- Another important exercise, is looking at your past projects and making notes about which ones were executed well and which ones were lacking. When you identify the projects that you executed well, take a look at the customer/client and evaluate their demographics. Note any patterns your notice among them. Are these customers in line with who you want to serve? Do these customers represent your brand? Why were these customers a good fit for your services?
- A third thing you can do to evaluate weakness within your brand in relation to your customers, is determine what problems and/or pain points your business solves for your customers. Is your solution (aka your product or service) actually solving that problem and/or addressing those pain points? What are the specific reasons your customers choose you over your competitors? Note what your customers gain when they choose to work with you.
Evaluate your visual identity (aka your logo, colors, fonts, etc.). Create a list of adjectives that describe your brand (such as, fun, playful, serious, refined, feminine, loud, luxurious, etc.). Compare your list of brand adjectives with your visual identity. Are they aligned? Do your colors and fonts evoke the feeling you want to portray? When customers see your visual identity, will they get a sense of who you are as a brand? Your visual identity should be speaking to your ideal audience, so when they come in contact with your brand, they feel like you understand them. One way to think about this is: if your brand were a person, how would you describe its personality?
Consider all of your brand communication and messaging (including your elevator pitch) both internally and externally. When you read all of your brand communication, is your vision clear immediately? You will want to evaluate this for internal (emails to employees, memos, office posters, etc.) and external communication (social media, advertising, website content, etc.). Make notes of questions that are frequently asked by your employees and/or areas of inconsistency within departments. If your brand doesn’t have a clear compass for your staff, they will have a hard time effectively communicating your brand vision to customers/clients.
- Also note how closely aligned your brand voice (communication and messaging) is with your visual identity. Your brand adjectives should be consistent throughout your entire brand. Make notes of where they may not be coming through effectively within your internal and external communication. Consistency is key to having a successful brand with a loyal customer base. You want your customers/clients to have the same experience with every single touchpoint within your business. Based on how you answer the phone or respond to emails, your customers should have an idea of what to expect from every aspect of your business.
Reviewing these four important aspects of your business will give you a good idea of what the weakness in your branding is. Noting them is just one step of the process though. Once you have the information you need, you can move forward with implementing the changes you see fit. Here a few examples of how to implement changes based on the weaknesses you note:
- If there is a gap between what you promise your customers/clients and what you deliver, brainstorm ways to close that gap, and test them with your next customers/clients and continue iterating until you find the right fit.
- If you noted that you are not attracting the customers/clients you want, you could pursue SEO work for your website or hire a copywriter to update your website copy so that it speaks better to your ideal customer.
- If your employees don’t seem engaged with their jobs, consider revising your mission statement and brand values or develop a survey to better understand their motivations for working for your business and where you could do better.
- If your visual identity is not in line with your brand vision, you could hire a designer to do an entire visual overhaul, or just have them update the brand fonts and colors.
A strong brand is one of the most important assets of your company, but you have to nurture it. The key is to have a clear definition of what you do, why you do it and whom you do it for. If you understand the essence of your brand and live by it, your customers will have a consistent experience with your business, which in turn drives revenue and promotes loyalty.