As we head into a new year, it's easy to get caught up in what's ahead, but it's also a time to reflect on what worked this year and what didn't. Reflecting isn't always easy, especially when there's so much societal pressure to push forward and innovate. But how can we push the envelope if we don't have a clear direction or specific goals in mind?
A brand audit will help your team rally around your brand's purpose, align on creative direction, and give open and honest feedback where it's needed most so you can continue to connect with your audience and create meaningful work.
What is a Brand Audit?
A brand audit is a highly visual exercise that allows you and your team to give gut reactions on recent creative. This exercise gives you and your team a chance to look at everything you've created in one place and align your team on your vision for the following year.
The big goal of a brand audit is to pinpoint what you want to do more of and what you want to skip all together. This is a great time for your team to weigh in on what worked and what didn't. What did you create that looked great? What projects worked great?
How to Host a Brand Audit
A brand audit is a time-consuming task, so before you dive in, block off at least a half a day for this exercise. Grab all the snacks you can stand and find a space where you and your team can get cozy for a while.
Preparing for Your Brand Audit
To prepare, you'll need:
- A print or digital version of every piece of collateral you've created this year (yes, even that one random Instagram post to celebrate National Pizza Day)
- Lots of small green, yellow, and red stickers—enough for each person on your team to be able to mark each piece of collateral
- A large space with a whiteboard or large surface
- Lots of snacks
1. Get the work on the walls
Hang all your creative assets on the wall (or, if you want to do this virtually, you can use Miro) so you can see everything in one place. You'll start to notice things that stand out—both good and bad. Take a mental note of those initial reactions and get ready to mark things up!
2. Mark it up
Give each member of your team a set of stickers (green, yellow, and red). Ask them to mark them with their stickers according to this key:
- Green 🟩 - THIS WAS AWESOME
- Yellow 🟨 - This was okay…
- Red 🟥 - This is a hard pass.
Now's your time to really be your toughest critic and be honest (especially if you're doing this solo). Because people on your team may have different insights into these projects, they'll approach the grading process differently.
Someone on your team may have hated the process of creating that giveaway (marking it red 🟥), while you loved it because it yielded great returns (so you mark it green 🟩).
4. Discuss & Debrief
Once every one has marked each and every piece of collateral, you'll start to see common themes—remove items that are clearly a thumbs down for most and keep items that are a thumbs up. Discuss openly and honestly items that the jury is out on. Remember, there isn't a right or wrong answer—this is an exercise to help align your team and set your vision for next year's creative.
Gather all items that are clearly loved (green 🟩) and use them to create mood and vision board for your 2023 creative. Work with your team to pinpoint what works really well in these assets and follow that direction. Once you identify what works, you'll be able to weave those assets into your brand as you move forward toward your new year goals.
After Your Brand Audit
After you've completed your brand audit, you and your team will be prepared to go forth and create! Whether they're writing copy, creating stunning visuals, or preparing for an entire company rebrand, they'll have a clear direction based on your team's feedback.
A brand audit is meant to be repeated. You may find this to be an annual workshop so you can refocus and rally your team as you head into a new year. If your company hires new creative-types, this may be a helpful creative workshop to get them on the same page and learn more about what exists in your current asset library.
Looking for a Brand Audit Facilitator?
As a brand strategist and public speaker, I can help manage your brand audit and keep your team in tip-top creative shape! I'll work with you and your team to examine your brand and understand what works and what doesn't. You'll leave our workshop with a clear vision of where to go next and how you'll get there.
To get started, schedule a consultation.