The last few years have been hard for J.C. Penney. Within a two-year span the retailer fired and rehired its CEO Myron E. Ullman. He replaced Ron Johnson,  who was hired and fired from J.C. Penny after making  major changes to the brand during his short 17-month tenure.

Under Johnson’s leadership, J.C. Penney went through a drastic rebranding. The newly created brand featured a new logo, redesigned stores, removal of sales, clearances and coupons at the store. Johnson recently added younger and more trendy clothing brands.

The strategy behind the changes was to attract younger consumers. Unfortunately, the rebranding ostracized loyal customers causing sales to tank.

Recently, J.C. Penney launched an advertisement to court their loyal customers back into the stores.

The ad features women going about everyday task, going to work, getting dressed and playing with children. What makes the TV ad so impactful are the words spoken to the customers listening to the ad.

Recently J.C. Penney changed. Some changes you liked, and some you didn’t. But what matters with mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing, to listen to you. Come back to J.C. Penney. We heard you; now we’d love to see you.

The road to redemption for J.C. Penney will be strategic, but the television ad is definitely a step in the right direction.

Here are a few tips from JASE to help your business through the often rough road of rebranding:

Research your current market: Get to know your current customers, business partners and vendors. Know what they love about your business and keep it. Improve the good aspects about your business during the re-branding process.

Subtle change is better than drastic change: Make sure your re-branding still leaves your business recognizable by your consumers. The changes at J.C. Penney were so drastic that their loyal consumers couldn’t relate. You want rebranding efforts to enhance what works for your business, not change everything.

Communicate with your consumers: Use your website, blog and social media pages to communicate with your consumers throughout your re-branding process. The one-way and two-way conversation with consumers may help guide your business through the changes and allows your consumers to feel connected and involved.

As Johnson continues to make pleas to consumers for their continued support it will be helpful for other businesses, small and large, to learn from J.C. Penney.

For additional information on branding your business and managing its identity during a crisis, visit our brand and identity management page on

image credit: by Better Business Brand

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