John Lewis rebrand -a point of difference

A stalwart of Britain’s high street has launched a new look to its brand in a strategy clearly designed to differentiate itself from other retailers at a time of market uncertainty.

The employee-owned business structure of John Lewis and its sister company Waitrose has always made them different from their rivals. But now this point of difference is being emphasised in a move to boost its balance sheet and set it apart from other struggling department stores.

John Lewis and Waitrose have added &Partners to their new look logos, putting their employees “back at the heart” of the business. 

But will people care?

For the most part its customers won’t. The John Lewis brand perception is already exceptional with consumers understanding it – adding the word ‘partners’ won’t change this. But for its workforce the strategy is a stroke of genius.

It’s clearly a difficult time for the high street with news almost daily of tumbling profits, job losses and administrations. John Lewis needs to turn its fortunes around at a time when staff morale is low. So what better way to ‘recognise and enhance’ its partner workforce than putting them front and centre of the brand. This can only boost pride and performance at such a key point in the life of the business.

Brand is never just about a logo – that’s just a visual identity. What’s most important is that the brand is reflecting the business values, personality, tone of voice and how it engages with customers, staff and other stakeholders.

It’s about where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow and into the future.  

This is why the John Lewis rebrand is clever, perfectly timed and just for once not about its customers. That is unless you count the feel-good advert showing schoolchildren performing an eccentric version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which couldn’t be more on the middle-class brand if it tried.