How to Revamp Your Brand Without Losing (and Confusing) Customers

Talk to any business owner and they’ll tell you rebranding can be a slippery slope. JCPenney, for example, has received backlash from customers for many branding decisions, including the hiring (and firing) of CEO Ron Johnson, signing on spokesperson Ellen DeGeneres, implementing new sale strategies and changing its logo, just to name a few. After losing and confusing much of its core customer base, JCPenney has launched a new campaign to help it reconnect through more effective marketing and messaging. Consider the following tips to help revamp and update your brand identity successfully.

Don’t underestimate your employees

Communication is important. Communication, coupled with employee training is the golden ticket. Employees are your greatest brand ambassadors and internal branding has become just as vital as external branding. Training your employees to communicate your message ensures everyone is on the same page and understands the how and the why behind the brand change before launching externally. Gathering input from employees is often very powerful -- they are the ones in the trenches and can offer valuable insight about your core customers and their wants and needs.

Enhance the company culture

Rebranding offers an opportunity to take an honest look at your work culture to take stock. Do you have a purpose? Is it reflective in your business brand? Keep what is working and change what isn’t. Having a culture based on shared values and respect is key when preparing to launch a “new” identity. Everyone on the team needs to be confident in the brand and be able to talk eloquently about the direction it’s taking.

Develop purpose-driven messaging

I love this quote from Roy M. Spence, Jr., author of “It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For.” He says, “When the ashes clear from the economic Armageddon, the only organizations left standing will be the ones that actually stand for something. Without a purpose that improves peoples’ lives, and contributes to the greater good, organizations will struggle.” Essentially, if you aren’t purpose-driven, you’re not going to survive. Develop good content that can be shared consistently across all marketing channels including social media, PR, advertising and word-of-mouth.

At the end of the day, understanding who you are and what you stand for is the most effective way to revamp your brand successfully, and ultimately, to gain new, loyal customers. That goes for big and small companies alike. Understand your purpose, live it and communicate it for long term brand success.

George Rafeedie is the founder of Tell Your Story Brand Communications Inc. After years at bigger agencies and corporations, George started to build a nimble and flexible agency for companies who don’t need a big, fat agency. He loves business-to-business marketing and storytelling, and has a purpose of making things happen so organizations can be successful and its people happy. Follow George @grafeedie or find out more at He can be reached at

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