Comms Audit | A DIY Guide to Audit Your Brand Language

No one’s brand language works as hard as it could. But the question is, Is it worth spending any time changing it? A brand language comms audit answers this by telling you:

  • Where could you get some quick wins?

  • Which channels could work harder for you?

  • What’s the best way to help your brand teams write faster and clearer?

If you don’t want to do a complete brand language comms audit, try this ‘Done in a week’ DIY brand language audit.

DIY comms audit

What’s the ideal scope for your brand language comms audit?

As well as deciding if you’re going to cover all of your comms (marketing, product, Customer Service, HR, IT etc), decide if you want to focus on how the comms are adding to your brand equity or whether you’re looking at the KPIs you should track for your brand voice.

How many pieces of work do you need to look at for a brand language comms audit?

It’s not realistic to gather everything you’ve written in the last 12 months.
Instead, pick 10 channels and pick at least 10 (preferably 20 pieces) from each channel.

Where are we strongest/weakest?

Down the left-hand side of a matrix, put in your key questions:

  • Did we write on-narrative?

  • Did we write on-tone?

  • Did we use our words, phrases and grammar?

Across the top of the matrix, drop in the names of each of the pieces of written work.

In each matrix box, rate your work 1-3 (1:=fail; 2=ok; 3=good).

High totals in a row mean your verbal identity is well defined for that level.

High totals in a column mean your writers know how to flex your brand voice in that channel.

Low scores point you towards your Quick Wins (see below).

comms audi

† Now, ignore your sector

When you do a brand language comms audit, it’s better to look outside of your industry, so you can avoid group-think (sector think?). It’s easier to sound different when you think different.

†† Build your Quick Wins matrix

Using the rows or columns where you’re scoring least well, construct a simple 2×2 matrix where you map the Impact x Effort of each verbal identity element or team.

Where your brand language is having a negative impact on brand equity or it’s expensive to write AND it’s seen as relatively easy to change, then you have your quick wins.

Changing your brand language is the fastest, smartest, cheapest tool to

  • Engage more customers

  • Increase their loyalty

  • Make your products more desirable

  • De-position competitors

  • Make your brand uncopyable

As the number of brand channels grows, there’s now tons of proof that good writing is good for business.

If you’d like to hear what’s in a complete brand language comms audit, or ask me anything about how we do what we do (including working with great clients such as Alphabet’s ‘Moonshot Factory’, Christie’s, TOMS, General Motors, and start-ups such as Votary and Glint) email me. I love talking about how a change in brand language can quickly and easily change a brand’s positioning and its growth.

Chris West tone of voice guru

About Verbal Identity

We are writers, strategists and linguistics experts: super-specialists in the magic and mechanics of language. We know how language creates thinking. And how – if you shape the language of your company, your comms and your customers – you shape what people think and do, read more…

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