39: Seeing Your Brand As Your Audience Does
When was the last time you checked in on the state of your brand?
I’m walking you through how to conduct a brand audit and the mistakes
you may be making when communicating with your audience.
As entrepreneurs, we’re idea people. We change and add things all the time.
But as we move through business at a quick clip, we become further and further away from our customers. It becomes impossible to see our brand and hear our messages as they do.
On this episode, I’m sharing:
What you need to know about the curse of knowledge,
The reason entrepreneurs aren’t asking for enough feedback,
When you should be conducting a brand audit,
And what you need to protect your creative investments.
THE CURSE OF KNOWLEDGE
As entrepreneurs, we tend to be idea people. We change things up often and can be found asking, “What if…?”
But the more we ideate, the more we innovate, the further away we get from our audience. Our expert status places a barrier between us and the people we want to reach.
We start to forget that the things we take for granted—that seem obvious—aren’t so to the people we serve. Why is this, you may ask.
It’s because of the Curse of Knowledge.
Authors, Chip and Dan Heath, describe this as: cognitive bias that occurs when an individual, communicating with others, unknowingly assumes that the others have the background to understand.
In other words—once we know something, it’s impossible to imagine not knowing it.
I see this with business leaders quite often. They speak on their expertise like they’re speaking to peers—sentences full of jargon, unable to connect to the people they want to connect with. They use phrases like: strategic growth and change your mindset. And they can’t understand why their audience doesn’t see how valuable working with them could be.
IMPORTANCE OF FEEDBACK
When I talk to CEOs about evaluating their brand, you might be surprised that I get a lot of hesitation. Keeping your head in the sand about what’s really going on feels safer than knowing.
For some, there’s the assumption that if one or more pieces is off they’ll have to change everything.
For others it’s just too painful to hear what they’ve been thinking all along—that your audience doesn’t understand what you’re offering or that your website looks dated.
Here’s the thing—a lot of how you appear to your customers can be changed just by having a strong foundation. A strategy for your brand, message, and image informs all of your public-facing actions. And having one takes questioning and second guessing out of the equation.
WHAT IS A BRAND AUDIT?
The first step I take with all of my clients is a brand audit. They’re usually coming in to our work saying something like:
I know it looks too corporate.
I’m not sure exactly how to explain what I want to say.
I’m a good writer. I just can’t do it for myself.
This is just temporary. I was going to tackle it next year.
These beliefs have been holding them back from the visibility they need for their company to grow.
A brand audit is the starting point. It allows them to see areas for improvement but also their strengths. And highlighting strengths is important because many of us are doing things that are working.
The main things I’m looking for when I’m auditing your brand are:
Who are you?
What do you do?
Who do you serve?
Why does that matter?
I start with your website, paying attention to things like user experience, navigation, clarity of calls to action, visual messaging, and written content. I ask myself how your web presence makes me feel and whether I have too few, just enough, or too many areas to focus on.
I also dive into your social media presence. I evaluate whether it matches the message you’re ending on your website. Are people engaging with specific content you’ve put out?
And then I read your reviews and testimonials. What do your customers value most about working with you? How do they describe the impact of your business on their life or work? Most importantly, is this message woven through your own value proposition?
These are great points of inquiry, but simply having insights isn’t enough. You’ve got to develop an action plan. When I do this for my clients, it guides our creative process. If you’re doing it yourself, these recommendations will provide direction for your team and act as a guide for your creative partners, so that everyone is in alignment with their actions.
EVALUATE THE STATE OF YOUR BRAND
It may feel difficult to do this on your own just by virtue of being your company’s leader. That’s why I’m now offering Brand Audits as a standalone service.
This service allows me to validate your assumptions, give you a fresh perspective, make sure you’re making decisions in the right order, and provide insurance on your creative investments.
The best thing about this is doesn’t require you to commit to a huge overhaul.
At $397, this service is accessible to almost any business owner and is a great practice to do annually. If it sounds like something that would be valuable to you, all you have to do is email me and say, “I’m in!”
You don’t have to step away from your business to step it up. I’m here to do the heavy lifting. You in?