Some of us hope audits never come, but when it comes to a brand audit, it could be a good thing for your organization. For this month’s eTip, we interviewed Cinnamon Perryman, a consultant with extensive experience in brand and integrated marketing management, on the subject of brand audit.
BMC: How long have your been in brand management and how did you get started?
Perryman: I’ve been focused on brand management for over 15 years. The path was progressive – having started my career learning the brand management tools of message development, competitive positioning, campaign creation, public relations, internal communications, web development and event management. After gaining expertise in the tools, I was able to evaluate and combine communication components to strategically position a brand.
BMC: What is a brand audit?
Perryman: I’m sure there are thousands of technical and scholarly definitions; however, I like to make things very straightforward and simple. Thus, my definition for a brand audit is “the evaluation of a brand in delivering its intended message to its intended audience within an intended time period.”
BMC: How can a brand audit impact a company and at what point should a company consider a brand audit?
Perryman: A brand audit can greatly impact a corporate communication plan and should be considered – at minimum – during each budget cycle and during periods of significant marketplace change (new competitors, new market segments, new channels, etc.)
BMC: What are the 3 most common mistakes you've seen companies make when it comes to a brand audit?
Perryman: One, brand auditors need to ask the right questions of the right people. If you want to know why declining customer satisfaction is affecting your brand credibility, then engage the customer directly and specifically. Two, brand auditors need the freedom to investigate and report what they find without repercussion. Corporate leadership shouldn’t kill their messenger! Three, brand auditors need to focus on achievable results when scoping a brand audit project. Brand audits can be time consuming, extensive and expensive or, tightly managed, they can be quick, relevant and affordable.
BMC: Last words of wisdom in regard to a brand audit
Perryman: Your organization has a brand identity – and that brand identity is created and managed by you or by your marketplace. Conduct a brand audit to see who’s controlling your brand. The results might surprise you.
After a strong corporate career – one that included two global brand launches and their supporting campaigns – Cinnamon Perryman now leverages those experiences to assist others with brand and integrated marketing management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.