The annual brand check-up

A great way for top management to get a quick read on how well your employees are aligned with your positioning and branding is a simple exercise we call The Annual Brand Check Up. It’s easy to do, doesn’t require much of a time commitment on the part of your staff, and it’s relatively inexpensive.



Here’s how it works:

Choose approximately ten people at random for an informal conversation (employees, customers, end users and, if you can identify them, non-users of your brand but users in the category). Ask each person two questions:

“In three words or less, what does (your brand name here) stand for?”

If they have a problem answering the question or need a little prompting, make a note of it. If they are able to answer the first question, with or without prompting, ask the second question:

“What things does (your brand name here) offer or do, day in and day out, that supports the brand promise?” From their answers, a pattern should emerge.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Can everyone define what the brand stands for?
  • Is there consistency in what everyone says the brand stands for?
  • Is there consistency between what insiders and outsiders are saying?
  • Are the words people use to describe what the brand stands for likely to inspire advocacy? Do the things they say that support your brand promise really support it?

If you find yourself answering “yes” to all of these questions, your brand communications program is likely doing its job. On the other hand, if you find yourself answering “no” to any of these, you may want to consider a more comprehensive diagnosis.