It's been awhile since I've stepped into a JCPenney store. I may have walked through one during a Christmas shopping season to avoid a crowded parking lot outside other entrances of the mall. Ouch. Just being honest here.
But this isn't a knock to anyone who does shop there. Really.
It just underscores a problem JCPenney has been struggling with for years. Whether it's in their marketing or product offering, I just haven't been given a reason to believe that it has stayed relevant with the times.
So when I saw the recent series of bright, playful commercials
for JCPenney, I took notice
and it got me to start paying attention.
The rebrand was a surprise because it wasn't too long ago when JCPenney rolled out their previous logo designed by graphic design student Luke Langhaus from the University of Cincinnati, chosen out of 200 submissions. The logo wasn't that exciting, and the campaign that came out with it wasn't either. I barely noticed and more importantly, it didn't do much to change my perception of JCPenney. The people there must've realized this too because a little over a year later, they launched another rebrand, but this time, they're going big—new logo, advertising campaign, spokesperson, pricing, store layout and product selection. They're rethinking everything.
This new initiative is driven by JCPenney's new CEO Ron Johnson, Apple's former Senior VP of Retail. His mission is for JCPenney to become "America's favorite store."
This patriotic tone is evident in the new logo, a red square and white jcp letters inside a blue box placed in the upper lefthand corner. It evokes the American flag while also communicating their promise to offer "fair and square" prices. (I could do my thing and critique the logo as I'm not a fan, but I'll save that for another post.)
What they are doing well is in the concept and execution of this "fair and square" positioning seen everywhere, from their commercials, website and print advertisement (shown above). It's making me a believer that JCPenney is well...relevant. And it's evoking a personality and clear point of view, something that had been lacking in the past.
As a complete retail brand geek, seeing retailers turn things around from the top-down, inside-out is exciting!
Of course, the real test will be how consumers feel walking out of JCPenney. The biggest let down is when the product and in-store experience doesn't live up to the hype and perception it's worked so hard to create leading up to it. Based on Apple retail store's success, I'm hopeful that Ron has accounted for this.