By definition an audit is a thorough investigation/examination. And while, typically, the reference is to financial records, a new year also brings an opportunity for an internal brand audit. Think about the ways your brand is displayed and measured. Most businesses attend to everything they can but often miss crucial brand updates unless they audit regularly. And although the word 'audit' may engender disquiet, a shared internal brand audit can be great for morale, business growth, and even, dare I say, 'fun'.
First, take a day and plan a genuine opportunity for you and your staff to carefully evaluate your brand. Pop some popcorn, bring in lunch, dress casually, listen, and come prepared with specific goals for the session and copies of the mission, vision and brand art. Share those and then get started.
1. Begin by listing all of the ways customers/referrals/partners view your brand. For example,
- exterior signage
- interior signage
- microsites/landing pages
- print collateral
- social media sites
- email and enewsletters
[start with a general list like the one above and then challenge everyone to drill down with as many specific details as they can]
2. Divide up the attendees, assigning teams to each of the brand representations, and have each team address these questions:
- are the mission, vision, and brand accurately, currently, vividly, relevantly displayed? If not, what are the suggestions for improvement. [stress the importance of detailed responses]
- list any questions your group posed, also
3. Get back together so each group can report their findings and suggestions.
Have lunch together, talking informally about the day's topics.
4. Regroup to Draft a strategic plan for the next six months including steps to take, resources needed, persons responsible, deadlines, measurement for success.
Close the day out with dinner/ a movie/ or a field trip. And follow up on all of the items in the plan.
Your staff knows and represents your business best, so their voices are both most informed and most important. A day spent together on an internal audit may be the best thing you do for your company this year--and it can be fun.