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Inez Blackburn Interviewed by JC Penney

My AMAZING friend Inez Blackburn was interviewed by JC Penney. As every Napoleon Hill fan knows, JC Penney was one of the 500+ people that Napoleon Hill interviewed to find the 17 Principles of Success that the Napoleon Hill Foundation teaches today.

Below are portions of the interview. Read the entire article here.

JC Penney Interview Excerpts

Retailers are continually admonished for relying on discounts and sales rather than creativity and brand building to move merchandise. However when Ron Johnson took the helm at American department store chain JC Penney and set out to do exactly that, the results have been far from meeting the margin enhancing expectations. 

So what went wrong, and what can Mr. Johnson and JCPenney do to make it right?

Inside Fashion invited retail strategist Inez Blackburn and marketing and brand experts Marty Neumeier and Al Ries to weigh in on the matter.

When change is not good

“The most difficult thing you can ever do in marketing is to change the essence of a brand. History is filled with examples of rebranding efforts gone wrong. Xerox was a copier, and then they tried to sell Xerox computers, and that was a disaster. Polaroid was an instant film, however when Polaroid cameras lost their popularity they tried to sell Polaroid regular film, and it failed. Kodak was a big successful name in photography, but the market changed to digital, so Kodak said, hey, we can do digital just as well as anybody else. Kodak went bankrupt,” said Al Ries, one of today’s thought leaders in branding and marketing, and director at Ries & Ries.

“I think what happened is that JCPenney tried to leap from their existing model to a new model without taking baby steps in between. They should have gotten the shopper engaged in the store and have them start to experience the new model without the abrupt shift away from the high/low pricing and the promotions,” said Inez Blackburn, a leading retail brand solutions strategist and author of Pride Passion and Profit – 7 Steps to Category Development.

“You can’t keep shifting the position that you want to occupy in the mind of the shopper and expect them to understand it,” she added.

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