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Posts Tagged ‘rebranding’

Thank McFly, JCPenney is Going Back to the Future

And how's that working out?

And how’s that working out?

For those who believe Apple, or anything that hails from it, can do wrong, I would like to introduce you to Mr. Ron Johnson.

He (pictured in this picture showing how long his career was at JCP) is an ousted, former CEO of JCPenney and an unscrupulous hack who believed his deified worship of smarmy hipsters who worked at his beloved Apple genius retail stores would work even better at the home of the Soccer Mom.

Only not so much. His sorely miscalculated ideas of removing all sales items, misreading what customers wanted, not testing his epiphanies in advance and inept acuity to understand the promise and premise of a brand cost him more than his job — it cost him his reputation and just about cost JCPenney its entire existence.

I think what was most telling of the Johnson era was he was rumored to be given a lovely severance package that he by no means deserved. Yet, his golden parachute ran out of the same strings he tried to puppeteer the JCPenney staff while he was there. Fitting for a…um, Johnson.

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An Inside Look at the American Airlines Rebranding ‘Saga’

American Airlines and FutureBrand didn’t just wing it with their rebranding campaign: the new logo and airplane design, revealed publicly this year, was a two-year undertaking. Company and branding agency executives shared behind-the-scenes details of their rebranding strategy, research and rationale at a recent AMA New York event.

Jill Surdek, American’s managing director of brand and customer experience strategy, called the process a “saga”, reminding the audience that the campaign began prior to major unforeseen events (namely the airline’s late 2011 bankruptcy and recent merger with U.S. Airways). She then laid out, piece by piece, a plan that was that much harder given industry, financial and self-inflicted PR problems (with our comments in italics):

Multilayered rationale. “It was a slow, methodical process to build the case for change, but there wasn’t much pushback from senior management”, Surdek said. She explained the reasoning:

  • AA’s competitors all refreshed their brands within the past decade, but American hadn’t done so since 1967.
  • While many fans identified with American’s iconic look, it had undeniably lost its luster.
  • American ordered several new aircraft a few years ago, so the time was right to change customer perceptions.
  • Marketing priorities include expanding international business and attracting younger customers.
  • The airline needed to streamline its vast array of different logos across business units.

Business reasons for rebranding were compelling. American competes with branding stars Jet Blue and Virgin (America and Atlantic) and with legacy carriers. Appealing to a younger base is essential moving forward.

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