From Founder to Foundation: Amplifying A Legacy Brand

A New Identity For A Legacy Brand


Over nearly four decades of growth, acquisition and entrepreneurialism, renowned leadership expert and author John C. Maxwell and his business partners had amassed – in their own words – a “confusing bazaar of brands.” In terms of selling books, driving traffic to events, and coaching tens of thousands of members around the world to teach leadership in their own organizations and communities, the John Maxwell Company and its collection of brands had been wildly successful, despite their marketplace confusion.

Among those with firsthand experience, the Company had raving fans and both relied on and shared word-of-mouth referrals. But for those who were not familiar, they had no real way to understand what the Company did or offered. Across 20+ different websites in the U.S. alone, the look-and-feel, the tone, and most importantly, the value proposition for how John Maxwell Company could help someone was simply unclear.

What’s more, leaders across the enterprise, including John Maxwell himself, recognized they could not reach new audiences and achieve projected, extraordinary growth without moving beyond the founder to a foundation, and from one messenger to one message. John Maxwell Company hired Jackson Spalding in the summer of 2021 to create and launch one unified brand with one unified voice.

Brand Strategy

Recognized globally as a leadership authority, John Maxwell’s living legacy gave us a solid starting point. And we knew the overarching opportunity with this rebrand was to simplify (from a brand architecture perspective, that meant moving to a Branded House). But to formulate the brand positioning, messaging and value proposition – especially as the Company brought on six additional thought leaders who would begin writing, speaking and teaching as John had independently before – we needed to understand the perceptions and needs of audiences who knew absolutely nothing about Maxwell as well as those who had intimate experience with one of his brands. Through discovery, we learned that everyone – from prospects to customers – came to John Maxwell for success, but once exposed to the leadership philosophy, craved significance. And we identified that this brand was uniquely qualified to connect with more people around the world seeking one thing: to lead powerful, positive change in themselves, others and the world through values-based leadership

Introducing … Maxwell Leadership

Brand Identity

After dissecting the brand strategy, JS’s team of conceptual and content studio designers teamed up to create a series of Brandscapes (visual mood boards) and Wordscapes (key descriptors) to show how, thematically, the brand could come to life. With one chosen direction, we then began logo exploration. Much like the overarching strategy was to simplify the user journey, we recommended and landed on a mark and color palette that was simple, yet sophisticated and as significant as the Company’s ability to lead others well.

All brands need design guidelines, but for a collection of brands consolidating into one company for the first time, robust Brand Standards addressing design and copywriting best practices are essential.

Marketing Communications Strategy & Development

JS’s integrated team of specialists and strategists across digital, paid media, creative, PR, content and social collaborated and facilitated several planning sessions with clients across business units (formerly brands) to determine success at launch and beyond, critical audiences and priority channels, as well as key opportunities to streamline processes and spend.


JS’s team of digital project managers, UX designers and coders worked closely with leaders of marketing, IT and various business units to create a streamlined and intuitive digital presence that clearly positions Maxwell Leadership as the category leader with simple and clear CTAs for users, consolidating and overhauling content from more than 20 .coms into one Masterbrand site:

The Results

The rebrand exceeded expectations from corporate leadership and re-energized loyalists at the launch event.

Leadership team, you have nailed it on so many levels along the way on this brand reveal and re-launch. I am so glad we partnered with Jackson Spalding. They have been and continue to be the perfect partner. I am so proud of our partnership.” – Mark Cole, CEO of Maxwell Leadership

At a Glance


website users from organic traffic within the first month of launch


organic views to blog posts within the first month of launch


reduced site bounce rate within the first month of launch

The Team

Alex Loomis

Alicia Harwell

Image of Brian Steely

Brian Steely

Whitney Ott

Ted Metzger

Courtney Komich

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