A second attempt at a podcast about different approaches to, and interpretations of, advertising.

Ron Johnson Was Right

On Ron Johnson's, of Apple Store fame, failed rebrand of JC Penny:

the move was “definitely ill-timed,” considering Johnson was cut loose after his bold new pricing strategies clearly failed, but before being able to bring his “shop-in-shop” strategy to fruition

It’s a shame this didn’t work out. I think most of the re-brand put the cart before the horse.

People flock to the Apple Store because of the awesome stuff inside it, and they come back because of the incredible customer experience. Ron Johnson’s strategy only addressed the store, and ignored the product. In retrospect, maybe Johnson should have focused on product first. Create something that people want, then make the shopping experience top notch. 

Johnson overhauled the price, the store, and the way promotions worked. It turns out, he alienated most of the JC Penny customer base. If Johnson had been able to bring in a flock of new customers before or during this change, the rebrand might have been transformational. 

Don’t mistake the JC Penny failure as an indication of Ron Johnson’s ideas about brand and retail. The mini-shop idea would be a great model for another brave department store—albeit a more product oriented one—to use for innovative success. 

(Side-note: the presentation was a little sloppy and it focused much too heavily on the parallels between Apple and JC Penny, of which there are very few.)

Bryan MortensenComment