JCPenney’s Fair/Square Branding


If you own a TV, you’ve seen nonstop discount campaigns from Joseph A. Bank, the men’s clothier. How does a customer know what value he’s getting at any time? It’s impossible.

Newly minted JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson, former head of Apple’s retail stores, discovered upon arrival that 75% of all items sold in his stores were discounted by half off the list price. Customers see through this exhausting nonsense, and Johnson knows it.

Seeking to raise JCPenney above the white noise, Johnson rebranded the retailer with a bold stake in the ground: Fair and Square Every Day Pricing. His objective was to mirror and match customers’ expectations by making their shopping experiences reliable, dependable, and consistent.

In an age when politicians are running and overtaxing our lives, and enriching themselves in the process, nothing is fair or square. JCPenney’s new messaging resonates with us. This is how to solidify a brand, assuming it remains true!

Rx from the WhiteNoise Doctor™

We like to trust those who are consistent and reliable, those who stand for something. We all know people (Hint: businesses are run by people) who constantly flip-flop, who have no solid opinions, who are difficult to fathom. We don’t trust them. We can’t be loyal to them.

Ron Johnson wants customers to trust JCPenney, shop there first, and return to JCPenney. He knows how to create and communicate a brand. Visit an Apple store if you doubt that.

A brand is a value proposition — not a logo, not a TV commercial, especially not awareness.

A brand succeeds only when customers, investors, and media pros embrace and articulate it immediately — without thinking. Is this true of your brand?

POSTSCRIPT #1: JCPenney Tweaks (Again) Its Radical Pricing Strategy

POSTSCRIPT #2: Ron Johnson Takes JCPenney Back to Sales & Coupons

POSTSCRIPT #3: Ron Johnson Out at JCPenney

POSTSCRIPT #4: JCPenney Continues Its Downward Branding Spiral


About the Author

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.


© 2012 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.


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