JCPenney: Go Bold or Go H&M

JCPenney has a new team of former Apple and Target leaders.

If you’re an investor, you know the value of a great team. Which is certainly what they have compiled. And, as an investor, we all know it’s about the team first and then the idea; we have seen way too many vanilla ideas turned into double-chocolate crunch concepts by the right team. And this metaphor in reverse as well.

So what now?

Can a team this strong turn around a ship as big as JCPenney? You might be thinking, if this team can’t, then no one can.


But now what?

Where do you steer such a ship like JCPenney?

The recent past management team was seen grasping at straws [read: crowd sourcing logo in an attempt to appear youthful].

This team needs a plan better than JCP enney [this is intentionally typeset in this way to make the point everyone in design was seeing when the logo launched].

I do agree with a name change though. And, crowd-sourcing the ideas makes sense, just not the discipline. For instance, DO: crowd source ideas for how JCPenney can become relevant again to a younger audience. DON’T: crowd source your fashion design, merchandising, logo, ads or anything with a discipline behind it.


And, if you do change the name, seek something with meaning. It will signal the bold change in direction you’re expecting from everyone inside and your team.


A name we all used to call it, but hopefully [big hope] it means something new to a younger audience.

Then, reinvigorate the inside first. Set the vision [design driven will need to be one of the legs of your strategy stool]. Then, get everyone excited about producing the best work they have to offer [from the custodian to media relations]. If they don’t believe it, the rest of us certainly will be suspicious.

From here, the Penny is yours to turn into something more relevant, meaningful and engaging. We all hope you do, because as stated before, I think we would all agree, if it isn’t you, who then? Perhaps a fire sale to H&M?

If you need someone to help fill the gaps, we are north just a bit and fiscally interested in your efforts.


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