How to Care for Your Brandbook? About Audits and Updates

  • Icon Holy Studio
    Holy Studio
  • 10 November 2023
  • 16 min reading
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A brand book is a dynamic document that should evolve along with the company's development and the changing market environment. Therefore, regular audits and updates are key elements in maintaining its relevance and usefulness. It is important to understandwhy and how to take care of the brand bookso that it always serves as a robusttool for building brand consistency.

From this guide, you will learn:

  • How often to conduct audits and what contexts are appropriate for this
  • How to prepare for a brand book audit
  • Which branding elements require regular analysis
  • How to collect data for the audit
  • How the results of the audit can impact your business situation

When to conduct a brand book audit?

Every entrepreneur faces new challenges and associated opportunities and threats. Similarly, with branding, which needs to be adjusted to the market dynamics. Over time, the guidelines regarding the brand image may require updates to preserve their freshness and effectiveness. In this article, we suggestwhen it is worth conducting a brand book audit and what benefits it brings. An audit is indicated in the following situations:

1. When it has not been updated for a long time

If the market environment is constantly changing and your brandbook remains the same for an extended period, it is a clear signal for action. In an era of rapid competitive development, shifting trends, and the strengthening presence of social media, neglecting to update your brandbook can negatively impact the effectiveness of your brand. That's why it's worth considering conducting a brand audit now, to adjust it to contemporary challenges and strengthen its efficacy.

2. Before rebranding

If you're planning a change in image, plan an audit not only in terms of goals or marketing activities but also in branding. An audit of the brandbook will be a good opportunity to check which aspects of the brand are still effective and worth keeping, and which require change.

3. In key business moments

A brand audit can be especially important at key moments of a company's activity. For example, when it records significant growth, plans new marketing activities, before onboarding investors, after acquiring another company, or when introducing a new product line. It is worth examining whether the current branding reflects the new business strategy.

4. After expanding into new markets

If you're planning to expand operations into new markets, it's worth checking if your brand is ready for challenges related to cultural differences and local preferences. An audit can help adapt your brand book to new conditions.

5. After evaluating the effectiveness of marketing campaigns

If youradvertising campaigns do not deliver the expected results, a brand audit can help identify if the problem lies in inadequate guidelines in the brand book or weaknesses in branding, and possibly adjust them to the marketing strategy.

Next, we'll move on to specific steps that will allow you to precisely assess the state of your brand and take appropriate actions. The next chapter will be devoted to practical stages and providing practical tips for conducting a brand book audit.

Steps for a brand book audit

A brand book audit, and then its update, is a complex process that can be divided into specific stages, which makes it easier to plan over time.

Data collection

Without accurate and current information about the current state of your branding, it will be difficult to accurately assess what requires updates or improvements. To conduct this step effectively, it can be divided into several smaller stages:

Review of the current brand book

Familiarize yourself with all the elements included in the document. In this way, you will have a clear picture of how your brand is currently presented and what elements are included in it, but also whether the rules described in the document have been actually adhered to.

Collecting Feedback

Gather opinions from clients, employees, and business partnersabout your brand. This can be done through casual conversations, opinion research (surveys, interviews, focus groups), and analyzing feedback and comments on social media. Determine how your brand is perceived externally and whether its image is consistent with what is described in the brand book.

Review of Marketing Materials

For a brand to be effectively recognizable, it must be consistently presented across different media. A thorough analysis of promotional and marketing materials will enable the identification of any inconsistencies and confirmation of the effectiveness of the applied guidelines. Here are key steps to take:

  1. Analysis of Printed Materials– review brochures, leaflets, business cards, and other advertising materials. Check if the correct colors are used and whether they are well-reproduced in print, if the logo is correctly placed, and if the content is consistent with the brand's communication tone.
  2. Assessment of the Website - The priority is to understand how the user experiences the content and features. Is the navigation intuitive? Is the design consistent with the brand book guidelines, including color schemes, typography, and graphics? Texts must be readable and adapted for different devices. At the same time, the site should meet the specific needs of your brand, delivering unique value to your audience.
  3. Evaluation of social media campaigns - Posts, graphics, and videos should reflect the brand image. Analyze whether the contents are consistent with the brand message, readable, and adapted to the preferences of the target group. Make sure that the visual elements agree with the colors and typography from the brand book. Also, check if the campaigns are current in the context of trends and new features in social media applications, while maintaining the consistency of the image.

Technical evaluation of brand visual elements

To make sure that your brand is consistently presented across different platforms and media, it is important to conduct a technical review:


Check howbrand color palette presents itself on different carriers, especially on a website in comparison to printed materials, using devices to test colors.


Assess the quality of the logo in various file formats and ensure that it is optimally designed for different uses – from large prints to thumbnails in social media. It is crucial that the logo is legible and easily recognizable regardless of its size.


Analyze your brand's typography in terms of consistency, letter spacing, and accessibility for a wide range of users. Check if the text is readable on different devices, especially on high-resolution screens. Furthermore, pay attention to whether the chosen fonts still reflect the current values and personality of the brand and if they are still attractive to your target audience.

Key visual

Examine the quality and resolution of the used illustrations, icons, and imagesMake sure they are optimized for different platforms and formats and that they reflect current trends in design. Check if the visual representation of the brand is still consistent with its image and whether it has not become outdated or inappropriate in the context of the changing expectations of your target group.

For memorization

An effective brand book audit requires a review of the current document, gathering feedback from customers and employees, and a thorough analysis of marketing materials and technical visual elements of the brand.

Analysis of trends and market changes

Analyze industry trends, customer preferences, changes in the competition, and other factors that can affect the brand. Identify areas that may require updates in your branding.

Definition of market context

Consider if the image of your market presented in the brand book is still accurate. Has the brand expanded its presence to new territories or market segments? Do characteristic colors, shapes, icons, or photos reflectthe actual trends and expectations of your market? There may be new symbols or visual motifs that have gained popularity among your target group. Assess whether your branding guidelines need refreshing to better reflect the dynamics and specifics of the market you operate in.

Understanding the customer

Updatethe profile of your customerusing the latest data and research. Check if the characteristics of your target group in the brand book corresponds to the current situation. Have you noticed new expectations in the field of brand communication that should be reflected in the guidelines?

Trends in design and branding

Learn what the current trends in design are and consider how they may influence the visual side of your branding. Is your visual identity, website, promotional materials still up to date? Does the tone and style of communication described in the brand book still meet today's standards and customer expectations?

New technologies and platforms

Assess the adaptation of your brand image to new media. Does the brand book contain guidelines for new platforms or technologies? If not, is there a need to include them?

Regulations and industry standards

Make sure that the guidelines in your brand book comply with the latest regulations concerning advertising, personal data protection, or other aspects of your industry.

Evaluation of the position relative to competitors

Remember that analyzing the competition is not about imitating others, but understanding your own strengths, identifying areas for improvement, and using this information to build a stronger and more competitive brand.

Perception of your brand

Conduct a survey of opinions, to find out how your brand is perceived in comparison with competitors. Is there a specific feature or value that distinguishes your brand?

Competitive analysis needed

Review the promotional materials of competitors, such as their websites, social media campaigns, and other marketing activities. Pay attention to visual communication strategies that seem to be effective, as well as those that your company could adapt or improve.

Strengths and uniqueness

Determine exactly what makes your brand unique. It could be a unique value proposition, innovative products, a special approach to customers, or a distinctive communication style. Consider how these unique features can be reinforced through branding and better utilized in brand strategy.

Gaps in competitors' offerings

In competitive analysis, not only the offers but also branding aspects are key. Pay attention to the way competitors present their brand: is their branding consistent and coherent across different media? Does the image they convey reflect their authentic values? By exploring these areas, you can identify potential gaps or inconsistencies in competitors' branding, which can provide an opportunity to differentiate and strengthen your own brand in the market.

Remember that the goal of this analysis is not only to identify areas requiring change, but also to strengthen those aspects of branding that are effective. Updating the brand book should help your brand be more competitive and properly adjusted to the dynamically changing market.

Identification of needs and areas for improvement

After gathering information and conducting a thorough analysis of the brand book and the brand's current market situation, it's time to identify areas that require adjustment and potential gaps in the branding strategy.Which branding elements did you find lacking?Do you notice any recurring problems?

Completeness of the brand book

When assessing the scope of the document, it is worth looking more broadly at the entire brand identification that this document describes. Many brands lack certain key elements that are essential for the consistency and effectiveness of their communication.

Common gaps in existing brand identity

Most oftenthere is a lack of consistency and coherencein using the identification at different customer touchpoints. For example, a company may have a logo, but use different variants of it unjustifiably on its website, in printed materials, and on social media. This leads to confusion among recipients and weakens brand recognition.

Another common problem is the lack of flexibility in identification across different media. Typography and color schemes used in offline materials may not work in the digital world, leading to a loss of coherence.

Visual identity often lacks guidelines on new graphic trends and technologies. As a result, brands may seem outdated and unattractive to younger target groups.

Examples of missing elements
  1. Guidelines concerningpresentation of the brand in social media, especially on platforms such as TikTok or Instagram, where short videos and images play a key role. The lack of appropriate rules can lead to an inconsistent and chaotic presence of the brand on these channels.
  2. Guidelines regarding the use of sound, e.g., jingles, which can add auditory recognition to a brand.Sound plays an important role in brand identification in television, radio, and online advertisements. Some brands use sound motifs as an element of their identity, but they are not always included in the brandbook.
  3. Specifications concerningthe use of identification in virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) - for companies that want to explore the new possibilities of this medium. It is necessary to determine how the logo, color scheme, and other visual identity elements of the brand will look in the world of virtual reality. It is also worth considering how the brand can create interactive VR experiences that will engage users.
  4. Guidelines for animations, which are steadily gaining popularity in the media environment. Lack of animation guidelines can lead to inconsistent and chaotic use of this medium by the brand. In the brand book, it is worth including specific animation guidelines, such as accepted examples, setting the pace and duration, and the way of integrating animations with the sound.
  5. Guidelines for personalization, which is an important aspect of brand communication. It's abouttailoring the brand's content and advertising messages to different target groups. The tone of communication directed to a younger customer group can be completely different from that intended for older individuals. Lack of clear guidelines in the brandbook on personalization can lead to confusion and inappropriate content adjustment, which may ultimately harm the brand's image and the effectiveness of its marketing activities.
  6. Rulesfor brand presentation on products and packaging. In the case of product brands, it is necessary to clearly define how the logo and other brand identification elements will be presented on products and packaging to ensure the brand's attractiveness and recognition at the point of sale.
  7. The methodof adapting visual identification to different cultures. For companies operating in multiple markets, it will be crucial to prepare precise guidelines on adapting the brand to different cultural contexts to avoid potential inappropriate actions or misunderstandings and maintain consistency.


Consistency and adherence in presenting the brand are key to its recognition and trust among audiences. Consciously adapting the brand identity to new trends and media ensures its relevance and appeal to various target groups.

Problem analysis

The next step is a thorough analysis of issues associated with the brand book. Examine the color scheme – are the brand's colors difficult to reproduce in print or on various digital platforms? Perhaps the color palette is not flexible enough to adapt to diverse media?

Does the logo maintain legibility at small scales and still look attractive? Is the typography used by the brand accessible and readable in all media? Or maybe it's worth adding alternative fonts for different applications?

Do the used photographs, illustrations, and icons still reflect the brand's values and are they attractive to the audience, or perhaps they have become outdated in the face of changing trends? Also, focus on communication-related issues.

Check if the message is coherent and whether misunderstandings do not arise. The section with examples of messages helps brand book readers better understand the nature of your brand.

Recurring difficulties

Pay attention to all the issues that have regularly arisen during the information gathering and feedback process. Are there any specific elements that cause problems for both your team and other stakeholders? Do you notice any inconsistencies in the brand's communication that appear repeatedly?

By identifying these areas, you will gain a clear picture of what needs to be improved. The next step will be to develop a strategy for implementing these changes and updating the brand book to better serve your brand in the current times.

Guideline Updates

Based on the gathered information and analysis, you can make appropriate changes and completions in your document. This is a key stage of the process, which can be complicated and requires consideration of many different aspects. Below, we present several key steps and considerations that are worth taking into account during the update and implementation of the brand book.

Choosing a Contractor

The decision on whether to entrust the update of the brand book to your own designers or an external company should be preceded by a thorough analysis. External firms, such as branding studios, will provide you with expert knowledge andexperience in branding, will work more efficiently, look at your brand from an independent perspective, but may be more expensive.

If you decide to work with your own team of designers, remember about the limitations of their experience. Provide them with appropriate training and support so they can meet the challenge, but at the same time do not expect the same efficiency from them as from experienced specialists working for hundreds of other brands.

Time Management

Updating a brand book can be a time-consuming process, especially if different departments and teams are involved. It's important to establish aclear schedule and deadlinesand to regularly monitor progress. Take into account possible delays and plan extra time for potential revisions.

Internal Communication

Ensure agood flow of information and high engagementamong all teams involved in the process of updating the brand book. If you are going through this process entirely internally, establish communication procedures and regularly inform everyone about the progress to ensure everyone has a clear picture of the changes and knows their roles and responsibilities. In the case of collaboration with professional designers, they will take care of the transparency of the design process.

Testing and Iteration

Newbrand book guidelines should be tested and evaluated, both internally and for use by business partners. There is a risk that certain changes may be unclear, ineffective or somewhat controversial, so it is important to be open to amendments and iterative improvement of the brand book.

Planned supervision

After implementing changes, it is important to establish systematic oversight to ensure compliance with the new guidelines. This may includeperiodic reviews and internal audits, to ensure that the brand book is being effectively implemented and adhered to.

Consent and acceptance

It is important that all changes are approved by key stakeholders, including the management board, to avoid potential conflicts or resistance to the changes.

Implementation of the prepared changes

Make sure thatall teams within the organization are aware and observe the updated guidelines. Provide appropriate training and support to facilitate easy implementation of changes.


Organize regular training sessions for all teams in your company to familiarize them with the new guidelines. This will not onlyensure brand consistency, but also help employees understand why certain changes were made.

Helpful materials

Provide materials (e.g., presentations, brochures, videos) explaining the updates to the brand book and featuringyour brand's branding. They can serve as a training tool as well as a permanent source of reference.

Quality Control

Plan regular audits to ensure that updated guidelines are applied in all brand activities and communications.

Good Communication

Make sure thatall employees know where to find the updated brandbookand who to contact with questions about brand guidelines.


Encourage providing feedback on new guidelines. This will allow for continuous improvement and adaptation to the evolving needs of the brand.

Preparing for Audit

Frequency of Updates

The first step in caring for a brandbook is to determine how often it should be updated. This depends on many factors, such as the industry, frequency of market changes, and openness to changes in brand strategy. Companies operating in dynamic industries, where trends and technologies change often, may require more frequent updates, even annually. In more stable sectors, a brandbook update every two or three years may be sufficient. It is important toadapt to the specific situation of the company and its needs. The right branding partner will help you determine the right frequency for you.

Cost Management

One of the essential aspects of this process is budget planning. It is worth understanding that although audits and updates of the brand book may seem expensive at first glance, they area fundamental form of maintaining consistency in brand image and limiting mistakes in marketing activities. Consider including brand book audits in your annual budget as a strategic investment that can contribute to the long-term success of your brand.

Consultations with the team

Consult with various stakeholders, including the marketing department, designers, management, and othersresponsible for the brand image. Gather feedback and comments about the existing brand book.

Assigning a responsible person

Ensure that the person responsible for the state of the brand book in your company has the appropriate knowledge andexperience related to branding and marketing. If there is no such employee, focus on cooperating with a partner whose knowledge and commitment you can fully rely on. These can be marketing specialists, graphic designers, or branding agencies.

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The long-term success of a brand largely depends on its ability to maintain consistency and adherence to the principles outlined in the brand book. Therefore, regular audits and updates are crucial for any company striving to achieve and maintain a market-leading position.


  1. For the brand book to serve its function, remember to conduct regular audits and updates of the document.
  2. Brand book audits can include assessments of visual and communication consistency, aligning branding with current standards, and compliance of guidelines with strategic objectives.
  3. Entrust the document audit to experienced individuals – assign an employee responsible for this task in your company, and choose specialists in the field of visual communication for making changes.
  4. Collect feedback from your team and from contractors who use your branding guidelines. See what is unclear and which rules no longer apply to your brand's activities.
  5. Establish a regular schedule for reviewing the brand book – for example, once a year – to ensure its relevance and adaptation to the changing needs of the brand.
  6. Organize regular training for new employees and for those who need a reminder of the key corporate image guidelines.
  7. Encourage communication – if the team encounters uncertainties or problems, they should feel free to ask questions and express doubts.
  8. Measure the effectiveness of the brand book – for example, by analyzing brand recognition, customer opinion surveys, or assessing the impact of branding on sales results.
  9. Be open to innovations and experiments – if a new trend or communication tool appears, consider how well it fits with the characteristics of your industry and how it could be incorporated into the brand book, while preserving the main principles of brand identification.

Althougha brand book may serve as a protective set of rules for your brand, it does not guarantee success in itself. It is a tool that requires active and critical management. Treat it not as a static document, but asa set of rules that adapts to the changing realitiesof the market and the needs of your brand.

Remember, the key is not so much having it, but most importantly, using it skillfully, making adjustments and adapting to new challenges.The success of your brand depends on your commitmentto continuous improvement and updating the brand's image, as well as your readiness for innovation and a flexible approach to branding challenges.