JCPenney and its CEO Ron Johnson are going through a period of total transformation, but the retailer has had plenty of critics.
They understand that the metamorphosis is going to take time, but some disagree with the way Johnson is going about it.
Bruce Dybvad at brand consultancy Interbrand writes that JCPenney is the perfect example of what happens when a big-time retailer "fails to keep pace, listen, and respond."'
He commends JCPenney's attempt to turn things around, but he's worried about the amount of input consumers are getting regarding all the changes. Customers have been confused and unwilling to go along with the new image.
"Retailers pay a steep price when they break a sacred covenant; that is, the need for the experience to deliver on the expectations set by its brand communications. Leaders of tomorrow will be those who effectively manage transformational change with the participation of their customers and keep their promises."
It's a real problem that JCPenney has to deal with. Some customers actually feel betrayed. So far, JCPenney hasn't been able to match the expectations that it set for itself.
One customer explained how she felt about her beloved store in an email that we published back in August:
"Think of the way most women have a best friend. For many of us, our favorite department stores and brands are like best friends. We rely on them to offer what we need and provide support and interest in our lives. Large-scale drastic changes to stores and brands are akin to having a best friend become a completely different person and leave the friendship. This effect is compounded when a favorite retailer suddenly sends signals that you as a customer are no longer valued or wanted. Not only does it create discomfort, but it shatters trust and causes emotional pain."
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