JC Penney Gets a New Look

Posted on February 7, 2012

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Contrary to many, I actually enjoyed JC Penney’s new coupon-free declaration. In fact, I especially loved the dig thrown in Macy’s direction. Regardless, I think the brand’s new look and motto is a refreshing change in the retail industry. Here’s why:

1) Branding  – The logo redesign helps boost the company’s image from a place where grandma shops to a low-cost fashion department store that would rival TJMaxx. Though the simplicity of the design whispers Gap, it’s clear the brand took notes from their logo gaffe. Overall, it’s clean and multi-generation friendly. And, it throws in a little Americana that the company often references with their brands and seasonal ads.

2) New Look, New Motto, New Attention  – JCP launched their new look with a new promise– fair and square prices. And three to boot: 1) everyday prices – regular prices which are “always great” 2) month-long values 3) best prices – lowest prices twice a month. All without any coupons. Oh, happy day! My hope is that they continue to communicate this properly and gain the attention of new shoppers.

3) Ownership – JCP isn’t trying to be another brand. The brand knows where it stands, but it also knows it should be making smart moves to keep shoppers interested. In these times, they know how important price is, but also that shoppers don’t want to compromise value. Throughout the last few years, I’ve been pretty impressed with some of the designers the brand has attracted. Something they should continue to do as competitors like Kohl’s has had success with this, too. Another good move– the company is launching a new layout to merchandize labels instead of burying them in endless racks to re-invent the in-store experience.

Though it’s subtle, the new ads (sorry, can’t seem to find ’em) demonstrate the core value of the brand as well as the new look/motto. A perfect combination for success.

But, the brand relaunch isn’t without its faults. The best price timing is a bit confusing. JCP says the company will slash prices on the first and third Fridays of every month. While I think doing so on more than one occasion is great, expecting customers to remember this is not. Moreover, this message isn’t front and center on their website or in the tv spots. This is something the brand must work on to communicate effectively and ultimately, reap the rewards. To learn more about JCP’s pricing strategy, check out this post by ABC.

Regardless, I have to agree with Forbes and say that JC Penney will be the retailer to watch this year.

What do you think? Does the redesign speak to you or totally miss the mark?

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Posted in: branding, design