In my line of business, I’ve heard of all kinds of audits: Communications audits, media audits, content marketing audits. But you rarely hear about the most important audit of all for companies and organizations: The Brand Protection Audit.

The Brand Protection Audit examines and reviews every policy and practice that touches your reputation and could affect your brand. For example, it asks companies and organizations to review and rate themselves along a number of reputational categories, such as:

• Leadership Accountability
• Social Responsibility (CSR)
• Code of Ethics for Employee Behavior
• Code of Integrity for Dealings with Customers and Vendors
• Social Media Policy (company sponsored and non-sponsored)
• Tolerance Policy
• Corporate Accountability, including operations throughout other parts of the world
• Citizenship
• Environmental Responsibility
• Healthcare Plan Equality

During the audit, weaknesses and omissions are identified and remedied. This helps to limit organizational vulnerability to criticism and attack, which is especially critical in today’s social media age. The audit improves an organization’s ability to secure its reputation by ensuring that its crisis response (what it says publicly) is fully supported privately.

Brand Protection is about creating a culture that values quality, fairness, responsibility, integrity and transparency—and living it every day, at every level. By making a commitment to always doing the right thing, you are creating a strong foundation to help you overcome any attempts to spoil your reputation.