Yesterday, JC Penney decided to turn to its customers for ideas, via social media, regarding how it can to save the company and ultimately bring people back to their stores. JC Penney launched a public apology to its customers presumably as a response to the company’s very public and continued downward trend in sales since the brand’s sweeping changes began in early 2012. Ron Johnson, the source of all the bold changes and CEO, was fired earlier last month.
The previous CEO, Myron Ullman, is back and looking to steer the brand into a more profitable direction that includes restoring a few long-time customer favorites like coupons and classic labels. JC Penney introduced its apology with a 30-second television commercial, which is set to begin running on television this week. The “It’s No Secret” apology ad was uploaded to its YouTube channel, in addition to it accompanying posts on both its Facebook and Twitter pages. The video opens with two images of classic JC Penney storefronts from its golden days then progresses to shots of numerous confident women and children. The clip finishes with a simple plea for customers to come back and informs them that the company is ready to listen to them on Facebook. According to Bloomberg, the campaign was actually developed by the now-ousted CEO Ron Johnson in collaboration with Sergio Zyman, who is most known for fixing the major Coca-Cola marketing fail in the 1980s.
JC Penney’s social media team has responded to a remarkable number of fans and followers who have offered good, bad, and neutral feedback. Sixteen hours after the apology campaign launched on multiple social media channels, the original post on Facebook has more than 31,000 likes and more than 10,000 comments. On Twitter, the hashtag #jcpListens has also been adopted by the brand for customer feedback-gathering purposes, which has generated hundreds of contributions to the conversation. All this proves that customers aren’t too shy or upset to offer their honest opinions when asked. Overall, it seems that customers are enjoying adding their two cents and feeling as though their voices are being heard. A few hours into the campaign JC Penney announced that the company’s original St. John’s Bay brand will be returning to stores. It will be interesting to see how quickly JC Penney can implement some of the feedback to begin to turn things around.
Tiana Tucker is an online marketing professional working as the Inbound Marketer for Nursing@Simmons, which is an online master's in nursing offered by Simmons College. Keep up with Tiana on Twitter @TianaMTucker or Google+.