Posts Tagged ‘JcPenney


Branding A Business: The Lessons We Learned From JCP’s Failed Rebranding Effort

In less than shocking news, Ron Johnson was recently ousted as CEO of J.C. Penney after a continued decline in recent sales.  Johnson came into JCP during one of the worst times for the company.  He had hoped to rebrand the retail chain in order to have it come back as a successful store, but his tactics failed to cause a turnaround in profits.

ronjohnsonLast year, when Johnson rolled out his first series of changes, we recorded our opinions and predictions.  Now that Johnson has been let go by JCP, we have noted a few things that are crucial for rebranding initiatives that Johnson seemed to leave out.

1. Research, Research, Research

The key to a successful branding is complete research.  This means analyzing the company, the consumers, the competition, and the market.  After collecting all there is to know, a company can decide on the most successful strategies to be implemented.  Most of JCP’s rebranding woes could have possibly been predicted according to their current consumer trends.  JCP severely underestimated the backlash of ditching their coupons for the value pricing system.  The company learned almost immediately how important the promotions were to current customers, which is something sales records could have demonstrated.  When in a crisis, companies should always evaluate what is working for their company versus what isn’t.  The backlash on the pricing policy change has lead us to question the validity of the research that was completed.

2. Consumer Testing Is Key

Customer is king.  If the customer does not like the strategies you are using, it will bleed through into your sales.  Consumer testing helps a company try out some of their newest tactics and get some feedback before rolling out anything to the wider market.  Judging from consumer reactions, Johnson skipped this step.  Customers were immediately annoyed by the new television commercials, and posted their negative almost immediately. jcplogo

3. Make Sure Everyone Is On Board

According to various reports, Johnson was always very mum on changes to come.  Only a few select people would know what was next for the retailer.  However, branding, by definition, is about sharing with the public the culture that is alive inside the company.  That means that every employee has to be on the same page, providing a united front in what the brand stands for.  But, with Johnson keeping everyone in the dark, workers did not know what their next attitude change had to be.

Where else did Johnson fail in his rebranding?  Or what were some of his successes?  Tell us your takeaway in the comments, and on our Facebook & Twitter!



“Black Hat” SEO Tactics: Lessons Learned from JCPenney

As a business or franchise owner, online marketing through effective search engine optimization (SEO) is essential. However, what happens when “black hat” tricks are used to insure top rankings? Ask JCPenney. Recently it was revealed that JCPenney used dirty SEO tactics during the holiday season to maintain the number one ranked spot within search engine results pages (SERP). For months on end if someone searched using the keywords dress, luggage, area rug or bedding; JCPenney was the first result to hit the screen. This was not because JCPenney was seen as the most essential or relevant site for these products. JCPenney appeared in the number one spot because of the adverse “black hat” tactics.

Recently The New York Times release an article “The Dirty Little Secrets of Search,”  exposing JCPenney’s “black hat” tactics and highlighting Google’s penalty for their use.

There are a number of factors that directly impact the ranking of a website within search engine results. One factor is the amount of links from one site to another. For example, if you own a site that showcases a cleaning business and each of your clients has a link from their site to yours, this will cause your cleaning site to rise in search engine rank. Linking adds credibility and more visibility to your website. This is the tactic used by JCPenney but not in an honest way. According to the article, “Someone paid to have thousands of links placed on hundreds of sites scattered around the Web, all of which lead directly to” As a result of this the retailer was able to outrank the competition and brand manufactures for months on end. This tactic was dirty and gave the store a very unfair advantage.

The goal of Google and other search engines is to provide the most relevant search results for their users. Upon finding out JCPenney paid for link placement, Google took immediate action to manually correct the issue. Google aimed to specifically demote JCPenney. They were very successful in this corrective agenda. Merely weeks ago, JCPenney was number one on the search engine charts, today it is buried due to their questionable SEO tactics which resulted in the immediate displacement of the company’s search engine consultant firm.

The JCPenney story acts as a lesson to all online advertisers and businesses that aim to obtain higher search engine rankings. The use of legitimate SEO tactics is imperative. It is vital that your business uses “white hat” methods to insure success in SEO.

If you are looking for fresh ideas to help maximize the SEO of your site or would like to share valuable tips please contact us. Share with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

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