A company’s corporate identity can be summed up as the way in which all stakeholders, both internal and external, perceive the brand. The times change, and what may have been considered an identity strongpoint can very easily become a corporate no-no. For this reason, public relations departments should be conducting regular corporate audits, revealing how the company is perceived in the eyes of the people who contribute to its success. Below are six key steps that every corporate audit should include:
Step 1: Define your audit parameters
The first stage of conducting an audit of this nature is to define the elements of a company’s corporate identity that should be tested and measured. A holistic corporate identity audit would include assessing everything from the logo, slogan, mission and vision – through to marketing elements, community involvement, and customer services.
Step 2: Identify your defining features
Which elements of your corporate identity do you feel are your key strong points? This information can be obtained from internal questionnaires, and will give a clear picture as to what the company assumes is its best features. At a later stage, this data can be placed next to information from public interviews for comparison.
Step 3: Select your interview subjects
The most important thoughts regarding a brand’s corporate identity come from outside of the company. Public opinion has a big impact on the success or failure of any organisation. The corporate identity audit should include interviews or surveys given to both existing and potential customers.
Step 4: Conduct the audit interviews
In this step the public relations team physically sits down with stakeholders, or sends out surveys, in order to glean feedback regarding perceptions around a brand’s corporate identity. By asking the right questions, PR professionals can find out if people like the brand’s logo, whether or not their product packaging is appealing, and if they are doing enough community outreach work, for example.
Step 5: Assess your audit findings
Once the interviews have been wrapped up, and the last of the surveys trickle in, the time comes to assess the responses and draw conclusions. This step reveals what the public really thinks of the brand, and pinpoints elements of the corporate identity that require urgent alteration.
Step 6: Strategise opportunities
This step is also known as the repair phase, and is the most productive. It should start with a discussion on the audit’s findings, leading into a problem-solving, brain-storming session for potential remedial actions. Sometimes that which starts off as an exercise in reputation repair becomes the change needed to take a company to greater heights.
Corporate identity audits are usually the responsibility of public relations professionals, and are a critical to establishing where a brand is positioned in the marketplace. Gain the PR skills needed to audit and manage corporate identities with a digital public relations course from the Digital School of Marketing!
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