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Business Consulting For The 21st Century Via A Holistic & Intelligent Approach

What you’re selling vs what people are buying

Consumed => “J.C. Penney Rehires Myron Ullman to Clean Up Ron Johnson’s Mess” by Susan Berfield on Businessweek.

=> My value add (i.e., left a comment)…

The key paragraph:

“Johnson intended to do a lot more—and a lot faster. At the time of his hiring, retail consultant Robin Lewis told Bloomberg News that Johnson’s leadership was like “injecting rocket fuel into Mike Ullman’s growth strategies of turning J.C. Penney into a more exciting brand.” But shoppers weren’t prepared for Johnson’s wrenching changes, such as ending Penney’s ever-present coupons. Some of the discounts were restored late in 2012 as losses mounted.”

In other words, Johnson’s ideal for J.C. Penney was not the same as the expectations of his regular and presumably faithful Guests. J.C. Penney in the minds of the market is not Apple. How knew?

Yes, innovation, evolution, brand make-over, etc. is great and necessary. However, it has to be within reasonable distance of the expectations of the key decision makers (i.e., The Guest, aka the customer).

Bottom line…what you’re selling doesn’t matter as much as what people are buying. And clearly no one was prepared to buy from Penney what Johnson was selling.

p.s. My personal opinion is Penney did a pretty crap job off marketing their new & improved self. There was some effort but not enough to overcome the general perception of the established J.C. Penney brand. Johnson’s idea might have been out of line with expectations but the inability of Penney’s marketing efforts to communicate why the new JCP mattered certainly didn’t help either.

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