This week JCP fired embroiled CEO Ron Johnson. This isn’t a shock at all, it had to happen. It had to happen because Ron Johnson, who they hired to run the company’s brand and be the brand champion, didn’t get the brand, the legacy, or the brand’s customers. He didn’t have a strategy to retain JCP’s customers during his planned brand transformation process.
Mr. Johnson came from Target and Apple. I understand what he was trying to accomplish. But in a brand transformation you have to first know how to communicate what the hell you’re trying to accomplish, be clear and concise about what that is, and give your employees and customers some time to digest it, understand it and relate to it. Not only did he not clearly communicate just what he was trying to accomplish, he wanted to make this huge brand transformation overnight. No way was it going to happen. You have to be real about where a brand is first and foremost, good and bad. If you want to change the brand, you have to make plans to hold onto your current customers along with that transformation and what it’s going to take to bring them along slowly, so yours sales don’t hit the proverbial crapper.
Mr. Johnson not only had a failed strategy, he also failed in being able to communicate what that strategy was, and he spent a fortune advertising a deeply flawed strategy and brand position that no one understood. Their sales and stock have taken a pounding, forcing the company to look for a billion dollars in capital to try and stay afloat. Mr. Johnson was horrible for JCP and their discount legacy. His transformation plan was a disaster and the results show.
I know it’s early in the year, but Mr. Johnson has the inside track to being 2013’s top brand chump!