Identity Evolution | JC Penney

In the world of branding, the fastest and easiest route to changing a look is through a Logo & Corporate Identity Makeover. It’s the expedited method of projecting a new image, and an ongoing journey of constant changes, regardless how subtle.

Here’s a look at JCPenney, one of America’s oldest department stores that’s been needing a shot in the arm for quite some time. With the phenomenal growth of “big box” retailers, such as Target and Wal Mart, which have been sailing through the recession. Add fuel to fire from “fast fashion” retailers from the likes of Spanish-based ZARA, British invasion Top Shop, Sweden-based H&M, and Japan’s UNIQLO and MUJI, and Stateside brands; Urban Outfitters and Forever 21; and you’ll understand why any retailer selling fashion the old traditional way (read: Dept. Store style… Yes, I know Nordstrom still reigns supreme in this category. But JCPenney and SEARS definitely needed to seriously re-examine their Business and Brand Strategy).

So, the year 2011 saw JCPenney put on new clothes, via a rebranding exercise that included a make over of its Logo & Brand Identity. In with the new and out with the old. The new logo was a cleaned up version of its initials. 

Enter 2012, and what do you get? Yet another rebranding exercise? That’s the third logo on the upper top right up. Strange that they touched their brand identity again after less than a year with the red initials. But simply go to their website and see the new logo that reminds me of Tommy Hilfiger‘s, in full regalia. The inspiration for the new logo design (I meant redesign…) clearly comes from the American flag. 

A Logo & Corporate Identity Makeover is, however, by no means what branding is all about, and the potential it can deliver. For customers already are experiencing your company’s products & services in their very own distinctive way. The MEANING of a product & service in any customer’s mind is what SHOULD matter to any organization. And it is the MEANING that needs to be thoroughly analyzed, managed, and optimized to the company’s best interest. Such is the essence of branding and brand positioning strategy.

Logo & Corporate Identity Makeover does not come without a risk. The key is in the hands of Customers, who essentially decide “WHAT’S HOT” and “WHAT’S NOT”! Therefore, if a company changes its logo WITHOUT changing the meaning – ie. properly align and match their brand message with the positive brand experience the company WISHES customers to have – the often sizeable investment in changing merely your logo reduces to a futile and expensive exercise. An utter waste! Companies MUST ensure that the brand experience they provide remain positive, so if your product or service still shows a weakness, complaints mount, market share is lagging, your customer service department is inundated with complaint calls, stakeholders are edgy due to weak stock performance, and staff morale is at an all-time low, and staff turnover is high… a logo makeover WILL NOT bring about improvements like a magic wand!

Inspiration: Breaking Copy, Retail Customer Experience

About dianhasan

Brand Storyteller, Travel Writer, Speaker, Creative Writer & Thinker - avid observer of randomness in everyday life - Sustainable Business, Eco Matters, Sustainable Urban Issues, Architecture, Heritage Conservation, Innovation & Brand-Strategy, Cross-Cultural Communications, Travel, Tourism & Lifestyle.
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