If you are just starting a business or have been in business for a while, it is an essential step to evaluate your brand. Is your messaging consistent? Has it changed? Are you communicating it effectively to your target audience? A smart way to evaluate your brand is with a SWOT analysis. It can provide insight to identify an issue or guide to create actionable tasks for new ideas. An acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats—a SWOT analysis will ensure your brand is up to par.
SWOT to Evaluate Your Brand
Let’s start out by defining the main elements of a well defined brand.
■ Vision statement – a Vision Statement gives you clear direction on where you are headed.
■ Mission statement – a Mission Statement outlines how you are going to get there.
Goals – goals should be written down in SMART format: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely.
■ Unique Value Proposition – a written statement of what unique skills, talents, or approach you have that is different from your competition
■ Social media presence with up to date and active channels.
■ Professional headshot – a professional headshot will add personality to your pro les and position you in a manner that puts your best face forward.
■ A punchy headline – a one sentence statement that clearly and quickly communicates who you are and what you do will help people remember you.
■ A custom URL and website that showcases your experience. Link it to your social media accounts.
■ Optimized for search – Optimize your profile and website for search for desktop, tablet, and mobile.
■ Newsletter – having a professionally designed email template to send to your key referral partners and customers to stay top of mind
■ Personal logo – hire a professional graphic designer to create a unique mark that represents you visually.
■ Blog – creating original content in the form text based blogs can help you be seen as a thought leader and expert in your industry.
■ Freemium – offer a complimentary white paper, ebook or product to build your email list beyond those who know you to include potential clients, sales prospects and fans.
■ Video channel – set up a YouTube channel and record a regular video series on a topic you are an expert or have mastery over.
■ Speaking gigs and appearances – build credibility through speaking gigs, teaching opportunities and personal appearances.
■ Workshops – monetize your expertise by holding in-person workshops.
■ Products – write a book, create an online product or conduct online training programs to monetize your expertise and grow your career.
Identifying your strengths is more than just checking off that you have it, it is also determining if it is up to current industry standards as well as performing as intended. For example: you may have a LinkedIn account but if the information is out of date, the image is not professional, and you are not utilizing it to grow your brand, it does not count as a Strength.
When it comes to a well defined brand, remember it is quality over quantity. Also, depending on your type of business and your business goals, you may not need everything a large corporate brand has in their brand guide. When identifying your brand Weaknesses, look for items that are not up to industry standard, not competitive, not representative of your message or Vision, or are not performing as intended. For example: your business may not benefit from offering your audience a free ebook but your logo may need some professional TLC.
Don’t neglect opportunities for your brand. Think of the different ways you could expand your brand that would be impactful to your business.
- Ways to collaborate with connections and partners
- Assets (videos, photos, blog content)
- Resources (SBDC, programs with Chamber, etc.)
Have you recently identified your competition? Do you know current Industry issues? Do you have personal issues or conflicts that could affect your brand? A new businesses can become your competition that didn’t exist six months ago, or technological advances in your industry can mean major changes to the way you connect with your audience and communicate with your brand. It is important to stay up to date on these situations as they change often.
It is important to conduct SWOT on a regular basis as it can assist identifying issues as well as in problem solving and strategic planning solutions for both short- and long-term goals.