Excerpt: Auditing Your Brand

In order to effectively build your brand, you need to know your starting point, the current status of your brand. A brand audit is a tool that companies use to analyze their brand and marketing effectiveness, to identify forward-looking brand goals, to expose gaps between how the company sees its brand and how consumers see it, and to get everyone on the same proverbial page regarding messaging.

Quite a lot goes into a corporate brand audit—brand SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis, business plans, creative briefs, ad materials, press releases, analyst reports, and more. Without going quite that far, as an author, you can benefit from a basic, objective brand audit. Let’s take a look at some standard brand audit components that you can use to your advantage.

Brand identity

Brand identity is made up of a number of elements under your control that a consumer may notice and associate with your brand. Some components will be specific to the author while others pertain more to the author’s product. Over time, consistent brand identity increases brand awareness. Take inventory of these elements and document them so they can be easily shared with anyone working on your brand.

Positioning statement

What do you offer your reader? You’ve heard this called the promise. It will generally fall under information or entertainment. Maybe you offer actionable tools for small businesses to increase profits, fast, or compelling science fiction rooted in well-researched facts.

Successfully branded writers are strongly differentiated from others in their field and generally stay true to the same basic promise across all works.

Tag line

This is usually a very short, memorable phrase that reinforces an important aspect of your brand. It can be descriptive or expressive. For example, CNN’s descriptive tag line is “The most trusted name in news." Author Daniel Amen’s is “The Brain Doctor.” McDonald’s expressive tag line is “I’m lovin’ it.” Note that it’s easier to pull off an expressive tag line if your brand is already well known.


The symbol that identifies your brand is your logo. Think the Nike swoosh or Apple’s apple with a bite missing. A publishing company will typically have an imprint logo. An individual author probably does not need to develop a logo. In either case, if you do have a logo, stick with it. Recognition and consistency are key.

Type style and colors

In the print world, type style and colors can be powerful product branding tools, especially for a series. Search Rich Dad, Poor Dad on Amazon and notice the consistent use of purple and gold. The Twilight series uses a distinctive typeface and a strong black, white, and red palette.

All these elements and details are important when developing your brand identity. They may seem small, but they are things the reader will come to know and recognize as being distinctly you.

This is a selection from Greenleaf Book Group CEO, Tanya Hall's, book Ideas, Influence, and Income. To download free sample chapters from the book, insert your email address below.

Sample Chapters from Ideas, Influence, and Income