Visual Audit: Transforming Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Some brands invest a great deal of money in their visual marketing plan. They might have the best graphics and videos to represent their brand on digital platforms.
But their digital marketing performance does not always go as planned. Do you know why this happens? This could be because the marketing goals and the core message in the visuals are not aligned. And what’s the one way to avoid this? Conducting a visual audit periodically.
How do you really know whether your brand’s visuals are on point and relevant to your brand?
- Identify KPIs for your visual marketing strategies
- Keep track of real-time market trends in design
- Know what your competitors are up to
A visual audit is one where you track several such aspects of your visuals in marketing. In this blog, we are going to tell you why you need a visual audit and how to conduct one. But before that, what exactly is a visual audit for a brand?
- Visual Audit for Brands: An Overview
- Why Does Every Brand Need Regular Visual Audits?
- Steps to Conduct a Visual Audit for Your Brand
- What if the Audit Results Are Not Favorable?
- Simplify Your Graphic Design Strategies With Kimp Graphics and Video Services
Visual Audit for Brands: An Overview
A visual audit or design audit is a subset of a brand audit. In a brand audit, you make a comprehensive study of:
- Your brand’s stance in the market
- How well your brand performs in competition
- Whether your marketing goals are aligned with the brand’s vision and mission
A visual audit is when you audit or analyze particularly the visuals you use in branding. This can be anything from business cards and other print designs for your brand to digital ads, email newsletters, and other digital designs.
When you perform a visual audit, you collate all the materials you use to promote your brand or connect with your audience. You then check whether any of the designs are outdated. And you also carefully scrutinize the intent of these designs to be sure that they are aligned with the purpose of your brand.
This will be required when:
- You want to evaluate the performance of your graphic designs in order to decide whether you need to outsource design
- Your visuals do not receive the expected response
- You have major rebranding plans
While these are major triggers that call for an immediate visual audit, you should plan to conduct one regularly. Once a year will be good. But if your brand is evolving rapidly, you might have to increase the frequency.
The key is to capture the performance of your graphic designs and videos. This is required just to be sure that your designs like logos and ads truly communicate your brand’s message to your audience. After all, visual audits are what you need to ensure that your digital marketing strategy is executed in a way that benefits your brand.
Why Does Every Brand Need Regular Visual Audits?
Now you know what a visual audit is and when you might need one. But does every brand really need to spend time and money on visual audits?
1. Identify the scope for innovation
Failing to innovate is planning to fail as a brand. Most businesses show great enthusiasm to promote the brand and creatively target the relevant customers in the initial stages. But sometimes, they stop innovating once the business is on track. Or they might simply stop focusing enough on graphic designs. And this can be a huge blow to the business’s digital marketing strategy.
Another case is that some businesses see good results with particular campaigns. So, they continue to use the same formula. This can be a road to failure. Because customers’ expectations keep changing. And when your competitor always has something new to offer, you cannot fall behind.
Your ads and social media posts should always inspire customers to take an action. Continuous engagement is the only way a brand can survive even in a fluctuating market. Visual audits help brands identify areas where they can innovate and enhance their digital marketing strategies.
One of the examples of brands that did not keep up with the market trends in marketing will be RadioShack. Due to stiff competition from Amazon, failed marketing strategies, and a host of other reasons, this once leading retailer does not have the same place in the market anymore.
2. Spot inconsistencies in brand messaging
While launching a business every business owner has a vision for the brand. It is very much likely that the vision changes over the years. But if it changes so much that customers do not have clarity about the brand, it can be a huge problem.
Inconsistent brand messaging can be a cause of downfall even for big businesses. And visuals have a strong role to play in brand messaging. Because everything from your website design to the marketing materials influences the user experience.
And if you do not deliver a consistent user experience, it can affect your brand’s growth. Regular visual audits help you understand whether your brand’s message is conveyed consistently to your customers.
For example, Yahoo once had a trendsetting search engine and mail client. But without a clear vision for the brand and without consistency in its digital marketing strategy, the brand slowly lost its place in the industry.
3. Quickly capture and address negative responses from customers
When there is a major political or natural event happening in the world, most marketers try to tweak their marketing campaigns to follow the trend.
Not all of these timely tweaks to logos end well. One such was the separated arches of McDonald’s in Brazil, as a marketing effort to reinforce the need for social distancing during the pandemic. The campaign gained a lot of negative criticism on social media
Changes to such iconic logos will be like playing with fire. You are playing with the emotional connection that customers have made with your brand over the years.
Visual audits are therefore mandatory soon after a major campaign. Or a new marketing approach. And particularly after a rebranding measure. With visual audits, you will be able to capture negative responses from customers and thus take remedial steps before it is too late.
Steps to Conduct a Visual Audit for Your Brand
After understanding that visual audits are important if you do set out to conduct one for your brand, what are the steps involved? What kind of details should you look into to ensure that your visuals support your digital marketing strategy.
1. Have all your visuals in one place
A brand’s visual content includes both traditional print content and digital content. It includes standard brand materials like:
- Brand style guide – with details about the color schemes, font styles
- Brand assets like custom fonts or purchased fonts that should be used in designs
Along with this you also need every other graphic design that you use on your website, social media, and store promotional materials. This includes but is not limited to:
- All types of digital ads
- Blog images
- Social media ads, posts, aesthetics, or design templates
- Business presentations
- Landing pages
- Soft copies of the print designs like flyers, brochures, business cards, billboards, and more
Kimp tip: Working with a comprehensive solution like an unlimited graphic design service allows you to have all your designs in one place. Here at Kimp, we have clear project management processes to help brands access and track every step in the design process. Your print and digital designs will all be taken care of by a single team. So, gathering all your visuals becomes so much simpler.
Looking for a hassle-free straightforward approach to outsourcing graphic design? Book a call with the Kimp team today.
2. Segregate them sensibly
Once you have all your visual content in one place, start looking for trends or patterns. You can segregate them based on the designs that have the most engagement and the ones that have the least engagement. Or the designs sorted from oldest to newest. It can also be based on the marketing goals or campaigns.
Sometimes this segregation can also be based on the themes, imagery, and fonts used in the design. If you find a particular style to be better than others, you can incorporate it into your other designs as well.
Kimp tip: When you start organizing your visual content into tangible chunks, make sure that you have the source files or original editable files of the designs. That’s when you can make changes to the existing design to make it look more aligned with the rest of the content.
One of the many perks of working with Kimp’s graphic design subscription is that you get the source files for your design without having to pay an additional fee. So, if you wish to make changes to the design in the future, you can easily do that without having to work on it from scratch.
3. Know your customers and competitors
No visual audit is complete without studying your customers and competitors. To know whether your current designs have the desired effect on customers, you must start engaging them more. You can use your social media Stories to ask them questions or conduct polls to identify any gaps in your digital marketing strategy. With the information you gather here, you can easily understand whether your design strategy needs a change.
For competitor analysis in a visual audit, analyze the visual content your competitor uses. This can again be the standard brand assets and promotional materials. If your competitor’s content has a good response from your target audience, you can look for inspiration and identify what your brand can do differently.
4. Check if your design and copy are on the same page
If you have the best social media posts designed but the captions are not that catchy, then there might not be the response you had imagined. Or if your graphic designs are great but the copy that goes in them is not that strong after all, it might create an impact on your audience.
One of the main steps in a visual audit will be to check whether all types of content are curated for the same goal.
For example, consider that you have a campaign that promotes a new product being launched. You might have blogs driving traffic to a product page or landing pages promoting the product. Your ad for the product and these supportive text content should all have the same tone and message. This consistency is another important thing to check during a visual audit.
5. Observe if your brand’s message is captured
Different campaigns have different messages. But you cannot ignore the fact that they are somehow connected with your brand’s core message. Your digital marketing strategy will only work if your brand’s promotional designs resonate with your brand’s visual style.
For example, if customers know your brand as one with a friendly and approachable personality but your ads look too professional or difficult to connect with, it is time to change.
What if the Audit Results Are Not Favorable?
Let’s say, after your visual audit, you notice that your brand’s graphic designs are not on the mark. You see that there is either not enough response from your customers or customers are not happy with your campaigns. If this is the case, what next? Here’s what you should consider:
- Should you update your designs alone?
- Or does your brand need rebranding?
1. Update your designs
Here are some observations that indicate that you need to rework your design strategies:
- Your visual marketing goal is not clear.
- You are not getting quality leads
- Your customer base is not expanding
- You are constantly losing customers
- There is not enough engagement on your social media channels
- The conversion rates for your campaigns deviate from projections
If you notice one or more of these signs during your design audit, it means that it is time to update your designs. And in such cases, the problem could be with the logo or the marketing designs, or both. If your logo is absolutely fine but the other designs do not meet their goals, what do you do?
- Identify and define your marketing goals. It can be something like the promotion of a new product or an increase in sales. After this align your design and copy with this goal.
- Invest in original graphics. Stock photos are enough to make your blogs and social media posts look good. But they are not the most engaging types of visuals. According to 40% of marketers, original graphics help reach marketing goals.
- Use videos and other interactive content in your visual marketing strategy. 88% of users spend more time on a website that has video content.
- Work with a reliable graphic design team. When your marketing strategy is suffering due to poor quality designs, it is time to outsource your designs. And if you do choose a graphic design subscription, like Kimp, you have the benefit of starting fresh. You can easily update your designs on all digital and print media.
2. Take the big step and rebrand
Sometimes, changing the basic graphics like your newsletters, advertisements, banner ads, and blog images will not be enough. You might need much more than that. You might need a new logo. A whole new approach to your designs. Here are some signs that you need rebranding:
- Your brand has somehow garnered the attention of the wrong audience
- There have been some recent mergers or acquisitions
- Your logo feels outdated
- There has been a change in the brand values or services
So, if any of these happen, you will need a complete rebranding approach. This includes changing your logo and your marketing tone as well. Here are a few steps to take in such cases.
- Clearly define the goal of rebranding so that your designs align with these goals
- Invest time in social listening. Keep a close watch on what customers are talking about your brand on social media. Ensure that your rebranding addresses any negative associations with your brand.
- 43% of brands struggle with finding the right visuals for their campaigns. And without the right visuals, your campaigns might not be as engaging as you want them to be. So, consider working with a dedicated graphic design team to rework your design strategy for rebranding.
For a more comprehensive discussion on how to rebrand without losing your customers, do check out our other blog post on rebranding.
Simplify Your Graphic Design Strategies With Kimp Graphics and Video Services
Auditing your visual content periodically is good for your digital marketing strategy. How quickly you respond to gaps and flaws in your design strategy determines how well your business bounces back from a setback. Timely response to customer feedback on your designs and campaigns will be one way to keep your brand growing. With an unlimited graphic design service, you gain access to an endless supply of graphic designs. And at Kimp we have clearly defined turnaround times. So you can be sure that your new designs to accommodate customer feedback will be ready on time.
Register for a free trial and see how Kimp’s graphic design team can help enhance your digital marketing strategy.