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A Brand Analysis Guide to Prevent Decision Paralysis

Brand Analysis. Your ultimate report of findings on brand performance, where you examine specific audiences, explore strengths and weaknesses (yours and your rivals), and take your brand where it’s never gone before. 

Lofty goals, yes. Now how do you do one in a practical way. We’ve distilled the different methods in this handy guide.

So What Exactly is a Brand Analysis?

Brand Analysis is A) an investigation. B) a diagnostic. C) a methodology. Or D) All of the above. 

It’s D. All of the above. An investigation into what makes a brand tick. A diagnostic to suss out what works and what doesn’t. The entire exercise is a methodology, allowing you to discover more about the brand and its audience. All of which helps drive your strategy. 

Here are some components of one: 

  • Brand Strategy. What engine are you building to propel your brand? 
  • Competitive Analysis. What are your competitors doing poorly that you can do better? 
  • Brand Awareness. Does anyone even know you exist? 
  • Brand Reputation. What’s the scuttlebutt on your brand? 
  • Brand Messaging/Positioning. Does your audience care about what you’re saying?

You’ve probably done one or all of these things, at some point. When you’re in the heat of doing an analysis, you seldom dwell on defining it. But it’s good to step back and concretely articulate it. 

This helps you create your own brand analysis framework to kick your work into warp speed! Because why reinvent the warp engine.

Analyze Your Brand or Risk Getting Stuck in the Past

Stagnation is the brand killer. Things gotta change with the times, or else they get left behind. 

What if Superman didn’t change with the times? He wouldn’t have lasted 80 some years in comics, TV, and movies. And you know, they got to be checking Superman’s brand every few years. That’s why we see him get rebooted… a lot

Superman's logos

Superman’s Logo Evolution, symbolic of his brand changing over the decades.

A strong brand can create significant impact and buying power in an audience. But not if it gets in a comfortable rut. Nobody wants to be the next Blockbuster.

There are many different types of analysis. Let’s break them down: 

  • Brand Experience. Examining how people interact with a brand end-to-end. If your brand experience stinks, people won’t be coming back. 
  • Test Logo. More hands touching a brand, the more it alters visually. You can test whether any visual changes still resonate with your target audience. 
  • Brand Recall. Memorable brands stick with a person for a lifetime. This analysis tells if a brand is unforgettable.  
  • Positioning Strategy. Ensure that a brand is perceived well with its target audience. This allows an understanding of a target audience and a brand’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as their rivals.  

A rebrand can gobble up a company’s resources. You can be a hero by doing a brand analysis. You’ll be saving any company a huge chunk of change.

The 5 Must Haves in Your Brand Analysis Toolkit

We’ve compiled the ultimate list of the current Brand Analysis software. Add these to your toolkit and you’ll come out the other side of the analysis wormhole intact! 

1. Test Brand Messaging & Design: Helio

Helio lets you target and survey a highly-specific audience so you can get qualitative and quantitative answers on things such as user behavior. For instance, ask your customers for their gut reaction on visual elements.

Just ask a snappy question on: 

  1. Positioning testing example + internal link to /positioning-strategy
  2. Logo testing example + internal link to /test-logo
  3. Should include a visual CTA button to try Helio within this section
  4. You can even get started quickly with this  Helio Test Template: 

Message Testing

Put your messaging to the test and gather quick feedback before you go live with your carefully crafted copy.

Use this template for:

  • Concept Testing
  • Learn how participants feel about different messaging options
  • Quickly iterate on copy by making key changes based on direct user feedback
Use Template

2. Measure Brand Reputation: Mention

Check a brand’s clout with a social listening tool, such as Mention

You can do things like:

  • Monitor comms. Keep your hailing frequencies on critical conversations about the brand. 
  • Set course with social. Navigate the turbulence of space junk on your social channels.
  • Kobayashi Maru the industry. Get ahead of industry trends and change the conditions so that you win instead of the competition.

3. Track Brand Awareness Over Time: Google Trends

You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been. 

Google Trends allows you to gauge interest in your brand over time. It’s like a time machine of brand awareness. Enter the brand and see into its past.

Brand Analysis Tool Kit: Google Trends screenshot showing Nestle interest over time.

You can chart the ups and downs of a brand. Then dig into the data to see what were the searches that caused the spikes.

Nestle Trends

And pinpoint where the searches were taking place.

Google Pinpoint Trends

4. A/B Test Marketing Copy: Optimizely

Split the atoms of your marketing copy with an A/B testing tool, like Optimizely, where you can test on a live site. 

Optimizely makes it easy to serve up two different versions of a webpage to an audience, then track the response. It allows you to: 

  • Formulate a hypothesis. Do you have a theory about what is driving conversion based on existing analytics? Or what’s preventing it from happening?  
  • Put it to the test. Create variations in Optimizely, from copy to visual elements, that you can serve up randomly to visitors to your site or app. Run experiments and gather data. 
  • Analyze the results. See how each variation performed and use the data to determine whether your hypothesis was correct. Apply those findings to other aspects of your site.

5. Size Up Your Brand’s Competition: SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb’s free traffic analysis tool lets you keep tabs on how your competitors are reaching out to their audience. Compare your product’s performance against your rival:

  • Estimate market share. See how much your competitors have based on overall traffic volume. 
  • See how they got there. Understand if they rely more on paid, referral, or organic traffic acquisition.
  • Where they advertise. See which display networks your competition actively advertising on.

Let’s check out what Superman’s rival comic company is doing in comparison to his.

Brand Analysis Tool Kit: Similar Web lets you keep tabs on how your competitors.

From this you can easily see total website visits over time  Marvel Comics has. This is among many data points you can dig into. Then, you can compare that with how your brand is performing against that. 

You might even find a new audience that your rivals have missed.

Brand Analysis in the Real World

This is the true story of several brands picked to be analyzed to find out what happens when audiences get real with them. 

Okay, maybe not that dramatic. But let’s go through a few real-world examples, seeing what they did and what they found. What these brands did you can later use in your own analysis, maybe even to create your own brand analysis template to follow.

Dove “Real Beauty Campaign” Analysis

With the help of a consulting firm, Dove dug into their well-known Real Beauty campaign. The campaign was successful in using everyday women instead of the typical models. Dove wanted to know what worked and what didn’t.

The Dove “Real Beauty Campaign” Brand Analysis Example

More than that, Dove wanted to evolve the campaign and their brand. Here’s what their analysis concluded:

  • The campaign did result in an increase in product sales. 
  • However, the Body Positive messaging drowned out the products while some of the messaging had mixed results. 
  • This allowed them to see an opportunity to use the products more to showcase how everyday women can achieve their own standards of beauty.

How they came to their conclusion: 

  • Examined the brand’s positioning, such as it’s various campaign slogans (“For everyday women all over the world”). 
  • Evaluated the campaign’s performance and reputation, reading what people were saying online. 
  • Finally, investigated the effectiveness of the campaign on the bottom line.

Nestle Brand Analysis

Nestle candies brand analysis included reputation, personality, and overall customer satisfaction with their key brands.

Nestle is a huge brand. Humongous. More than 2,000 brands worldwide. So it’s quite an undertaking for any brand analysis. Which the brand did in 2017 with a little outside help. 

They probed into the brand’s reputation, personality, and overall customer satisfaction. What it found:

  • The brand wasn’t too well liked because of its animal testing and labor scandals. 
  • However, as the number one food brand in the world, Nestle was still on top in terms of brand awareness. 
  • Finally, it recommended that the brand use its messaging better to combat audiences’ distaste for them in the face of controversy.

Anthropologie Brand Analysis

Chic female clothing, jewelry, and other knick knacks can be had at Anthropologie, which did its own internal brand analysis.

Anthropologie brand analysis example of the health of the brand.

They did an overall health of the brand, much like Nestle, finding: 

  • Certain social channels, such as Pinterest and Instagram, performed well for them. 
  • A breakdown of its strengths and weaknesses. On trend was a plus. Price, however, was not. 
  • And a complete and thorough analysis of its competition.
Anthropologie competition analysis example.
Anthropologie competition analysis.

Wall Street Journal Brand Analysis

Wall Street Journal is an interesting case in both using data and not following through on its own analysis. 

Wall Street Journal brand analysis example on how to become a hip news outlet for a younger, more diverse audience.

They used a lot of data points to figure out how to become a hip news outlet for a younger, more diverse audience. Data and even more data, everything from social media to website analytics to their own story coverage mapper. The last one they built themselves.

WSJ brand analysis with a data view of the content strategy.

Their content review is extensive, digging into whether the paper is diverse enough.

WSJ diversity analysis with charts from business leaders.

So you might be wondering did this improve anything at the paper? Nope. No it didn’t.  WSJ just doubled down on being the same stodgy paper.

Start Your Own Brand Analysis Today

Use our nifty, easy to use Brand Analysis template to start examining your brand’s strengths and challenges. 

Brand Analysis Test

Revitalize your brand’s performance with a detailed review of your organization’s performance and position in the overall market.

Use this template for:

  • Brand Experience
Use Template