The 5-Step Brand Analysis to Refresh Your Content Marketing

Jessica Thiefels on Wednesday, October 28, 2020

brand analysis

A brand analysis gives you the opportunity to look deeper into your current digital branding so you can optimize, improve, and shift. Even if you have a clear idea of what your brand looks like and stands for, a brand analysis can give you a better understanding of how others perceive your organization—and how your brand can better cater to your ideal audience on all platforms, from social media to email marketing. 

The best part: a strong brand will keep clients and customers coming to you for years to come. Even better, in a crowded digital space, a great brand allows you to stand out from competitors and authentically connect with your audience. 

If you’re ready to see what a brand analysis can do for you—and how to do your own—now is the time to dive in.

Why You Need a Brand Analysis 

A great brand is only great if it meets one important criterion: it’s consistent. Lucidpress’ State of Brand Consistency report perfectly outlines the importance of branding consistency: 

“Inconsistent brand usage speaks volumes about a company and undermines your brand’s trustworthiness … As a result, this can negatively impact customer opinions and their decision to do business with you.”

This graphic does a great job of showing the negative impact that inconsistent branding can have on your company.

Source: Lucidpress

A brand analysis helps prevent these issues by forcing you to address this key issue. It also gives you a broad overview to ensure your positioning and branding is consistent across platforms and aligns with your organization’s overall goals.

How to Do a Brand Analysis

While there are many ways to assess your brand, a full brand analysis will allow you to see the full picture and then plan for what changes are needed. Before diving in, however, start with a zoomed-out view of your brand and business alignment. What are your business’s overall goals, and what is your strategy to achieve them? Write this down. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can look something like: 

My goal is to increase 10 new leads each month and acquire 5 new revenue-driving clients in Q3 of this year. My strategy to achieve this is to invest in personalized, 1-on-1 conversations on Instagram and deploy multiple email campaigns to capture the right audience with my most effective marketing platforms.” 

Now, step back. Is your branding supporting those goals? At this zoomed-out, high-level view, you can get a sense of whether your branding is aligned with your business goals. In some cases, if you’re business has grown or shifted, you may be operating off of an older brand—which will be clear with this exercise. 

Now it’s time to dig into your brand analysis. Use the following steps to get from start to finish. 

1.  Reassess Your Brand Pillars

Everything comes after your brand pillars, which represent the 3 to 5 topics that your brand is most focused on. These are the things you care about most and are a foremost expert in. For example, my brand pillars are:

  • Intentionality
  • Empowerment
  • Mindset shifting

These three pillars come into play in every single thing you do in your business, from the copy you write on social media posts to the messaging you use on your website. These pillars also affect:

  • How potential clients and customers connect with you. If someone also believes in the power of shifting their mindset, they’ll love my content.
  • How you position your brand. Are you inspiring and motivational? Are you educational and serious?

If you don’t already have brand pillars, now is the time to create them. If you’re not sure what they should be, take a step back and let these questions guide you:

  • Why did you start your business?
  • What is the feeling you hope clients and customers have when they work with you?
  • What makes you stand apart from others in your industry?

2. Look at Your Messaging

Your messaging affects many elements of your marketing. The right messaging conveys a clear tone, it helps followers connect with you, and it’s one of the key details that make your brand memorable. For example, a brand like Wendy’s is known for it’s witty messaging, most commonly seen on Twitter, where they banter with followers and customers. 

When addressing your messaging, consider your brand pillars—are they being represented in the content you’re writing and the tone you’re using? For example, let’s say I owned a fitness brand that’s feminine and light, and we’re promoting a new app we released. 

  • This would not be the right messaging: Get to the gym with our new app if you want to crush those calories, babe!
  • The more on-brand messaging might be: Get ready to sweat glitter with our brand new app, so you can take us anywhere, even the gym!

Address every area of your marketing messaging, from email to social media, and ask yourself:

  • Am I consistent?
  • Am I aligned with my brand pillars?
  • Am I speaking to the right audience?

3. Asses Your Visual Branding Assets 

Your visual brand presence is everything. Think about all the brands you can remember just by looking at their logo—or even seeing a color. What brand do you think of when you see red? Target? What brand do you think of when you see dark green? Starbucks?

The visuals of your brand are a key element of what makes it memorable and in our crowded digital world, having that visual recognition is key. As you start looking at your visual brand assets, remember that the fundamental pieces to consider are: 

  • Logo 
  • Brand colors and palettes 
  • Font and text guidelines 

When assessing these visual elements, consider a few details:

  • Are these pieces consistent across all platforms, from social media to your website?
  • Are they consistent across all business materials, I.E. invoices, business cards, etc.?
  • Do they need to be updated to reflect recent business shifts?

Finally, consider whether you’re leveraging visuals as much as you could be. According to Contently, 75 percent of marketers drive better ROI when they use visuals with their content. Even on platforms like Twitter that are less visual-focused, well-branded imagery helps you stand out in a busy feed.

4. Survey Your Audience

Famous branding expert Marty Neumeier said: “Your brand is not what you say it is. It is what they say it is.” Don’t rely solely on your opinions during your brand analysis—take it to your audience, which includes social media followers, customers, and even past customers. 

You want to know: What do they think your brand is all about? What feeling do they get when they interact with you? And most importantly, does that actually line up with what you think your brand is?

Luckily, there are many ways to survey your audience, from Instagram polls to tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms. Choose your tool and then use these questions to figure out what your brand looks like through their lens:

  • What does our company do, in your own words?
  • What problem do we solve for you? Can anyone else solve that for you?
  • Describe our company in three words.
  • What did we say that made you want to work with us/follow us?

5. Conduct Competitor Research 

Competitor research lets you see what others are doing in your space. It’s easy to skate along on branding that you developed at the very start of your business for years afterward. However, as your business—and more importantly, consumers—evolve, so does your branding. 

Use your brand analysis as an opportunity to update your competitor research and find inspiration and ideas for how you can make your brand stand out. For example, SMS messaging has been around for a long time, but it’s only just now becoming popular. Perhaps that becomes a new element of your brand that helps you stand out.

Here are a few questions to guide your competitor’s branding:

  • Is your brand, messaging, and positioning similar to others, or have you fallen behind on some trends? 
  • Are other businesses putting out more content than you? What kind of content are they creating Are newer forms of interactive content (I.E. video marketing) getting more engagement? 
  • Is their brand providing a personalized experience? How do they do that?
  • Is their branding clear, concise, and relevant?

Get more specific and organize all this data in one place with our Content Marketing Competitor Analysis Template and Checklist

Your Brand Analysis is Done: Now What?

With all this data, ask yourself: Where is your brand succeeding? Where do you need to make changes? Translate those findings into a list of tasks to get your brand in alignment with your business. 

For example, if you found that your brand lacks video content, you may make a plan to create two pieces of video content each month and see how it does with your audience. Alternatively, if you feel your blog posts have lost the tone and messaging of your brand, conduct a content audit. This will help create a plan to overhaul your blog and get it back on-brand. 

In tackling these new branding elements, remember to set deadlines. Not only does this hold you accountable, but it also ensures that you are clear on what needs to be done and when, so you can create a realistic road map for your brand updates. 

Don’t forget to come back to your brand analysis regularly—at least once each year—to make sure you’re visuals, messaging and business goals are all still aligned and attracting your ideal clients and customers.