With so many brand-based terms in use, it’s sometimes hard to keep them all straight.
Thankfully, brand analysis has a fairly clear, easy-to-remember definition: A brand analysis is a process used to identify how well your brand is performing, and it is usually conducted when working on a new brand strategy.
Is your brand supporting sales and marketing efforts? Who are your brand’s main customers and competitors? How well is your brand meeting the needs of its consumer base?
A brand analysis asks all these questions and more — with the goal of looking at current and past brand content to identify your brand’s perceived style, image, and positioning to tell you where you are now.
The end goal of a well-run brand analysis is to find out if your brand accurately reflects your products, services, and brand mission.
If it does, wonderful. If it doesn’t, then the brand analysis should provide advice on how to rectify the situation.
In an effort to illustrate the full picture, this article will take a look at what you can expect from a brand analysis and some of the reasons it might be helpful.
What Does A Brand Analysis Cover?
Not all brand analyses are created equal. The quality of your brand analysis is directly related to the person or persons conducting it. Oftentimes, brand analyses are conducted by a third party — such as an agency — to offset internal bias.
Other times, they’re conducted in-house by a brand manager or a similar marketing teammate. It all depends on your goals, funds, and needs.
A traditional brand analysis includes a deep dive into three main areas: customer analysis, competitor analysis, and an audit of the current brand.
However, brand analyses can also include a market analysis, brand architecture analysis, brand risk analysis, or brand management analysis. All of these sub-analyses are part of the overarching “brand analysis” category.
The goal of the customer analysis is to figure out who your main target audience really is, spot forthcoming trends and needs, and define existing customer perceptions of your brand.
Essentially, this analysis gathers information on how customers view your brand identity — which can be broken down into your brand promise, positioning, and personality.
Does your target audience perceive your brand in the way you want them to? If not, how do they perceive your brand? Often, this portion of the brand analysis includes identifying your brand’s top customer personas — which are fictional characters created to represent your main user types.
This analysis helps you to better understand how your brand is received by your chosen audiences and provides the information needed to make changes if necessary.
Ideally, it should analyze customer feedback at all touchpoints — your website, social media, email communications, and reviews — to identify pain points and highlights. Once you know how your target audience is responding to your brand across the customer journey, you can pinpoint where you need to make improvements.
The competitor analysis asks many of the same questions as above, but in relation to how you and your main competitors are perceived.
What is your market position? Are your brand positioning, promise, and personality being translated accurately to your target market? What are your strengths and weaknesses in comparison to your competitors?
To make this comparison, those conducting the analysis will most likely consider statistics about each companies’ revenue, operational areas, products and services, number of customers, number of locations, and more.
They’ll find all the above mentioned data in your website content, emails, press releases, physical materials, social media, etc.
This portion of the brand analysis is extremely important in understanding where you stand in your market. While you may be doing well compared to previous years’ performance, if you’re lagging behind the competition, you need to know.
Additionally, a good competitor analysis should look at not only your direct competitors but also your indirect competitors. While indirect competitors may not offer the exact same products and services as your company, they could still be taking a portion of your business and need to be monitored.
Current Brand Audit
The audit of your current brand is usually quite extensive, as there is a lot to measure and consider.
Does your perceived brand identity and voice match what you’ve been aiming for? What are your current brand’s strengths and weaknesses? Are there any opportunities or threats you need to be aware of?
The brand audit aspect of a brand analysis helps you to understand the current state of your brand’s perception by stakeholders and consumers — the value your product and services provide or what they are lacking.
The current brand audit often compares your current perceptions and achievements to your company’s goals, allowing you to measure milestones and qualify results. It also helps you align your offerings more closely with customer expectations and plan corrective actions.
While understanding how your customers view your brand is essential, it’s also important to know how important stakeholders and colleagues view your brand. Although they may not be your target audience, as the keepers of your brand, you need to ensure that their view and understanding of your brand is aligned correctly.
As previously mentioned, there are many more areas that a brand analysis can touch on. What you have analyzed is highly dependent on your industry and product offerings.
Companies who want help creating or evaluating structures for multiple products located under one brand many consider a brand architecture analysis. Whereas a company that is interested in researching shifting demographics or customer values should consider including a market analysis.
The options are not necessarily endless, but numerous areas can be analyzed based on your individual needs.
Make sure to discuss your business goals and risk areas with the person or persons conducting the analysis to ensure they’re gathering the right intel.
Who Needs a Brand Analysis?
Conducting a thorough brand analysis takes time and money — so it’s important to make sure your brand is in a position where an analysis is required.
Many companies don’t necessarily need an extensive brand analysis. Why? Because a lot of the information and data a brand analysis gathers is already being monitored by various marketing team members.
For example, your Performance Marketing Manager should be keeping tabs on your competitors and target audience performance, while your Brand Manager should be tracking customer response to brand identity.
However, there are some situations where a brand analysis is recommended — such as after a merger or acquisition, a rebrand, or a scandal.
In these types of situations, it can be very helpful to have an outside party analyze your brand and come up with advice, solutions, and recommendations.
Additionally, some companies conduct a brand analysis to see if something as extensive and time-consuming as a full rebrand is necessary. A good brand analysis can spot “brand drift”, which is the process of a brand slowly changing over time due to small edits made by various stakeholders.
In this case, brand managers can use brand analyses to determine whether or not more drastic steps need to be taken, as rebranding requires a great deal of time and effort.
Why is a Brand Analysis Helpful?
Brand identity is incredibly important. How customers perceive your brand values, mission, and voice determines your market position and overall success.
Unfortunately, you can’t always rely on every team member to understand the importance of maintaining a strong brand identity or how it affects your business success.
A strong, consistent brand identity is what creates brand awareness, generates brand loyalty, and differentiates you from your competition. Forbes found that consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23%.
Therefore, ensuring that your brand is being perceived in the way you’ve planned enhances your marketing efforts — meaning it’s vital to your overall marketing success.
While a brand analysis helps companies see where they are currently, it’s usually a stepping stone to creating a new or realigned brand strategy.
If you don’t know the current state of your brand’s perceived personality and positioning, it’s hard to create an effective new strategy.
Who is Using Brand Analysis?
It’s quite unusual for a company to publicly announce that they’re undergoing a brand analysis.
Oftentimes, this process is kept quiet as its outcome will be a determining factor in important decisions to come — Do they rebrand? Do they need a new brand strategy going forward?
However, to illustrate the type of situation where a brand analysis would be helpful, let’s consider the following scenario:
Tails & Co. is a made-up, mid-sized company that sells organic dog food in the US & the UK. They’ve been around for about 5 years and have experienced a great deal of growth within the last three quarters.
The brand manager at Tails & Co. isn’t sure if their brand identity — in this case, their logo, brand voice, brand values — is keeping up with their growth. However, pitching a rebrand without any tangible evidence that their current branding is hurting their business goals is a no-go.
In this situation, it makes complete sense that the brand manager would ask for a third party to conduct a brand analysis. To help figure out what kinds of changes are necessary, they’d likely need to run a customer analysis, competitor analysis, market analysis, and current brand audit.
With the data the brand analysis provides, the Tails & Co. brand manager will be able to determine if a rebrand is necessary to drive marketing goals or if smaller changes can be made to help offset any identified pain points.
So, remember to ask yourself the following questions before conducting an extensive (and possibly expensive) brand analysis:
Do we need to revisit our brand identity and perception?
What specific areas of my brand do I need analyzed?
Will this brand analysis support my marketing efforts and goals?
By creating a framework of your goals, objectives, and focus areas before embarking on your brand analysis adventure, you’ll have better control over the results.
To be fair, “brand analysis” covers a wide range of smaller analyses. From analyzing market share and position to brand architecture, there are many ways a brand analysis can benefit your company.
However, before deciding to set one up, make sure it’s necessary for your brand and marketing strategy going forward. Investing in a high-quality brand analysis isn’t cheap, so you need to be sure it will provide value to your marketing efforts.
We hope this article has given you a better idea of what “brand analyses” often entail and how they can be beneficial.
And remember — while you can hire an agency to conduct a formal brand analysis, nothing is stopping you from regularly running your own brand audits to keep tabs on your brand’s health.