Back in 2013 Mellie Blue Branding didn't exist. At that time the agency was called The Nest: Multimedia Supervision. People assumed I named my business The Nest et al. because of my last name (Byrd). The name actually derived from my engineering background where I learned that within a circuit or piece of computer code, when pulling together various components within a single system, you would "nest" them together. At that time I was offering variousmultimedia service and I figured nesting them together made sense, hence The Nest: Multimedia Supervision which also sounds like a corny Saturday morning cartoon series.
Imagine cold calling companies and saying, "Hi! My name is Louis Byrd and I am the creative director of The Nest: Multimedia Supervision..." Easy to read, but a mouthful to say. Without failure the person on the other end of the phone often replied, "Who!?...What!?...Wait, you're from that smart thermostat company?"
Business was extremely slow and at the time I had no large corporate clients. I simply could not get a toe, let alone a foot, in the door. The services I offered were good, prices were more than reasonable (maybe too reasonable), yet I couldn't land business. Frustrated, I hired a branding/business consultant to help me figure out what the problem was.
You're probably thinking, why does a branding expert need a brand consultant to help with his business? That is exactly my point.
We all need outside perspective from time to time when it comes to making the right decision and furthering business goals. The consultant reviewed my business and could not find anything major that was wrong with the exception of pairing down my offering and definitely doing something with the business name. She flat out said that my business name had to go because it was not strong enough to brand. It lacked emotion, meaning, and most importantly a purpose.
Initially I was very apprehensive about making a name change because that was the name I came up with and had used for two years prior to the consultation. It was part of my brand!
In reality, I didn't have a brand and it was just a name I came up with that I thought was clever.
With much contemplation and the way the universe works allowing me to discover a piece of my family legacy that was perfect with my vision for the business, I changed the name to Mellie Blue, in honor of my great grandmother who epitomized what my goal with the agency is--- to connect people through great experiences.
My entire business shifted. I started seeing growth especially where it mattered, the all mighty top and bottom-line.
A brand audit is a thorough examination of your company brand and helps determine it's overall health and effectiveness. Brand audits assess the relationship with stakeholders to the brand both internally and externally. It's an exercise that can open up new opportunities, point out weaknesses and strengths. It can aid in differentiation and competitive advantages.
Is it possible for you to do your own brand audit? Absolutely! It is possible for a company to do it's own brand audit, especially if the company is large with a director of marketing and internal staff to conduct market research. However, it is not recommended.
THERE IS GREAT VALUE TO OBJECTIVITY.
Hiring the consultant was probably one of the best investments I've made. Her objectivity saw something that I failed to see. I wasted so much time trying to figure out what I was doing wrong with my business. When you work within a business it is very difficult to work on your business when it comes to things like branding.
Even with a robust internal creative team it will likely serve you best to hire or collaborate with a brand consultant or agency. The third party can review your findings and bring objectivity to the equation--- steering you clear of skewing the analysis with your bias.
When you have a company that is working towards differentiation, gaining market share, connecting with people, innovating new products, and enhancing your customer experience--- sometimes evaluating what your brand stands for is the answer. To accurately analyze it, another set of eyes that aren't as directly familiar with your brand will serve you well.
For me it was as simple, yet complex, as a name change which I did not even consider addressing. For you it may be connecting your brand closer to your company goals, recognizing that doing less is actually doing more for your business, or changing the voice of your brand to speak with more relevance to a specific audience.
There are many steps that go into properly executing a brand audit. If you are contemplating performing the audit yourself, trust me, you are better off hiring out and not eating into your profits by wasting man hours attempting to perform an in-depth analysis of your brand. Focus on doing what your business is actually good at. If you need further persuasion not to do your own branding work, including an audit, Just ask Uber...
Challenging The System,