JCPenney announced its new store redesign and rebranding this week. The store is embarking on an aggressive makeover including: pairing its line of private label brands in favor of new designer names, exhibiting wares in specialty shops and a new media campaign announcing a revised pricing structure. The retailer is thinking big and tackling all of the major components of a retail brand at one time. There are few people in the industry that can pull this off well, but Penney has hired an Apple store veteran Ron Johnson as the company’s new CEO. If anyone understands how all of the components of a brand work together it would be Ron Johnson. The question is if the lessons learned in the high-end, high margin consumer electronics industry can be translated to fast fashion and low margin apparel and home good’s categories.
Looking only at the logo at first my reaction was that it may be a flame-out similar to the Gap logo debacle; however JCPenney is not just changing the logo, they are looking at the merchandise, marketing, and branding strategy. That’s the difference; it is a comprehensive change and not just an aesthetic quick fix. The logo Introduced with a “fair pricing” strategy and hip advertising campaign shows how the implementation of an idea is as important as the idea itself.
Ron Johnson understands that design does matter, and more importantly design needs to be coupled with the right strategy, one that is relevant to its customers. The merchandise specialty shops, new designers, logo change and rebranding strategy will differentiate the store from its rivals and I predict shore up its financials over the next several years.
Aadditional articles on the JC Penney logo and store rebranding as well as source for the images on this page see the Business Insider story. For an interesting take on the pricing strategy, link to the Harvard Business Review Blog.