Have you been asking yourself, “How can I tell if my current brand needs to be updated?” Or maybe, “Where do I start if I think my brand needs to be updated?”
Thankfully, auditing your brand while it requires work, is fairly straight forward and DEFINITELY worth the time and effort. Strong branding allows a firm to command higher prices in the market, have higher engagement realization, and retain key staff. All reasons to want to make your brand as strong as possible. When auditing your brand, there are three important questions to ask about your firm. The three questions to ask yourself are:
- What is my current message?
- What is my current image?
- What is my client’s current experience?
After you ask yourself, “What is my firm’s current message?”, the next question should be, “Does everyone at my firm know and say the same message?” Consistency is key. For a message to be truly impactful, it has to be delivered by all members of your team. If not, the message does not ring true.
Everyone may not say the message exactly the same way, but it is important that everyone at your firm understands the core key message so that the essence of your message stays consistent. The next step in this process is to check and make sure all your marketing materials and online presence REFLECT that message. Make sure to audit all channels of marketing materials e.g., website, LinkedIn, promotional materials, handouts, and presentation materials.
The next thing to audit is your current image. The first thing you should start with is your logo. How long ago was your current logo created? Generally, a good rule of thumb is to refresh your logo every three to five years at a minimum. Refresh does not mean re-create, but to update and to stay relevant. The core integrity of the logo does not change. However, a small facelift of refreshing your logo and updating all of your marketing materials goes a long way to keeping your firm’s image current.
This is also the time to make sure that your logo is consistent with your firm’s name. As changes happen within a firm, sometimes the name is adapted and it is important to update that in your logo. Another important item to audit is whether or not everyone at your firm is using the same logo, the same font, and the same colors. A “Brand Standards Kit” is hugely help with this as it tells everyone the exact font, color, size, and logo to use.
The third question to ask yourself is “What is my client’s current experience?” This one can be harder to control and will need to be addressed after taking care of your firm’s message and image. A few important things to look at with this question. How are does your staff at the front desk answer the phone? Are they motivating, positive, and welcoming? How quickly are emails and phone calls returned? What do your clients, prospects, and referral sources see, feel, hear, touch, and smell when they come into your office? A client’s overall impression of your office is a huge part of their experience with you as a firm.
Since an audit is always easier with a list, I am also including my Brand Audit Checklist so that it is easy for your firm to get started with your own brand audit. Check out my checklist below!
Brand Audit Checklist
- Do you know what your firm message is?
- Does everyone at your firm know and say the same message?
- Does your marketing materials and online presence reflect that message?
Brand Image (logo)
- How long ago was your current brand image (logo) created?
- Is it relevant and updated?
- Is it consistent with your firm’s current name?
- Is it easy to read and understand?
- Is everyone at the firm using the same logo and same color for your current logo?
- Do you have a ‘brand standards’ document and a ‘brand identity’ kit
- Do you have a person at your firm identified as a ‘Brand Champion’ who oversees that your firm is following the brand standards?
Experience (client service and client experience)
- Do you talk about ‘excellent client service’ in your messaging – but then not actually have a strong support staff?
- Do you have written client service standards and processes in place for serving your A, B and C clients? Do you consistently follow them?
- How is the phone answered at your firm?
- How quickly are calls and emails returned? What can people expect from your staff?
- What is a user’s on-line experience when it comes to your website and social media? Is your message consistent? Is your office and contact info easy to find?
- Does your office have good parking?
- What do clients, prospects and referral sources see, feel, hear, touch and smell when they come into your office?
- Can your clients, prospects, and referral sources trust that you take responsibility for your (or your staff’s) mistakes?