A common mistake leaders make when taking on a new organisation is to try and change the existing brand to something that reflects the organisation that they were perhaps hoping to lead - an action that can potentially end in disaster. As a marketer, I have heard new CEOs say "I don't like your brand", as if the brand is something made up on the fly, that can easily be exchanged for a new one of his or her choosing.
A brand is organic and complex, reflecting the personality of the organisation, its values, principles and behaviour, as well as telling the story of what it is best known for. A bad brand usually reflects an organisation that is struggling and needs a shake up. But once organisational changes have been put in place and the company turns around, the brand will still be re-built on the fundamental DNA that, over time, has made the organisation what it is.
Tossing a well established and thriving brand to the side in order to turn an organisation into something it isn't, will result in a very uncomfortable fit. And just like the person who resists being changed by their new partner, the new organisational skin will feel uncomfortable and jar with the traditional publics, and customers will leave in droves.
A sensible CEO will see the organisation's brand for what it is - maintain the essentials, and build on the positives. Do this and the brand will respond - like a well cared for companion.