More than a century ago, James Cash Penney founded his company on the principle of the Golden Rule: treat others the way you’d like to be treated – Fair and Square. In an attempt to once again deliver on its original brand purpose, JCP is in the middle of a bold and controversial effort to transform their retail experience. Will it work?
According Ron Johnson CEO of JC Penney, “Every initiative we pursue will be guided by our core value to treat customers as we would like to be treated — fair and square.” Johnson felt that JC Penney’s pricing strategy was not in the best interest of its consumers.
Johnson has been down this road before when he worked with Steve Jobs to create the Apple Store. Johnson and Steve Johnson created the Apple Store to fulfill the purpose of “Enriching Lives”. Johnson has attempted to redefine the JC Penney brand by freeing consumers from the barrage of promotions and an undifferentiated shopping experience they have become used to and replacing it with something entirely new that is evident in every aspect of the store from product to marketing. In this instance, repositioning an existing brand may be harder than the creating a new retail experience with Apple.
Personally, I hope that he succeeds. I worked with JC Penney in the 90’s and I always felt that they followed and reacted competition rather than leading.
“We are redefining the JC Penney brand so we become a store for all Americans, by offering an experience they cannot get anywhere else. This will start by freeing consumers from the barrage of promotions and undifferentiated shopping experiences they have become used to and replacing it with something entirely fresh and new that is evident in every aspect of our store – new brands, new marketing, unique attractions, and much more. Changing a shopping and brand experience that has become deeply embedded in consumers mind is a difficult challenge. The early returns have not been good as comp stores have fallen dramatically. Many critics feel that JC Penney did not listen to its core consumers.
Do you think that JC Penney’s Re-branding effort will succeed?