The Tale of Two Brands: How to get it right and how to fail miserably

The tale of two brands.  Today I want to share with you two tales. One will make your heart sing and hopefully make you cheer.  The second is a sad tale, one that will leave you wanting more. The first is of a company founded in 2007 that has focused on its employees, its consumer and delivering a quality product with quality promotion.  This company is the fabulous Chobani.  The second tale is of a company that chose to jump on the trend train, ignore its customer and still can’t make up its mind who it wants to market to.  This company is JCPenney. Here we go….

Check out Chobani.  This company, which in six years has grown into a $1B business, is a marketing strategy machine. (I’m not biased, even if it is a homegrown company from beautiful Central NY, where I am from) Chobani single-handedly created the greek yogurt revolution and revitalized a dwindling Central NY economy.  I think it is a beautiful thing.

When Chobani released its new television ad with the ‘Real is Simple’ campaign, I cheered and gasped, “I love it.” Everyone else in the room thought I was crazy.

Chobani’s positioning, messaging and consumer engagement is top-notch.  When Chobani released its new television ad with the ‘real is Simple’ campaign, I cheered and gasped, “I love it.”  Everyone else in the room thought I was crazy: “Seriously, Liz, how can you get that excited about a TV ad.”  Oh you can my friend, you can.  (Side note: Call me, Chobani! I want to sell some delicious yogurt!)

Chobani actively participates in multiple social platforms: Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, a blog, to name a few.  Their social media strategy could be considered gold standard for any brand looking to adopt a strategy.  As mentioned in my social media etiquette post earlier this week, social is a fantastic engagement tool- and Chobani uses it that way with prompt responses to fans, uncanned messaging and posting things other than self-promotional content.

Let’s take a look at two Chobani Ads.

First the Olympic one:

Now the one from 2013:

Now we move on to the other side of the spectrum. Want to see a brand that got it all wrong?  Check out JCPenney.  This American icon has been faltering for years trying to figure out how to bring consumers back to its stores.  JCP initially made a big mistake by not listening to its consumers who loved coupons and sales when it launched its “Fair and Square” pricing campaign.  Along with upsetting consumers by eliminating coupons and sales, the “Fair and Square” campaign has had numerous other issues eventually causing JCP to fire its spokesperson, Ellen DeGeneres in 2012, and its CEO, Ron Johnson, April 8th 2013.

JCP is in my opinion, the ultimate fail in branding.  Its former CEO drove these campaigns that eliminated coupons, eliminated certain brands and then tried to promote to a younger crowd.  JCP lost its focus, lost its long time consumer base and now lacks any real market position. Is JCP for new moms? For my mom? For Millennials?  I have no idea who they are targeting based off of their marketing campaign.

Next time you are watching TV, just take a look at the bizarre and confusing JCP ads featuring 20-30 somethings and then their other ads featuring a different generation of women and their big apology. I’m confused!! Help!  I want to know- who are these 20-30 something shopping at JCP?  Oh wait. There aren’t any. That’s why the company is failing.

Here’s my all time least favorite JCP spot:

And here’s their big apology:

NOTE: you can’t target everyone as a customer base.  It will never work and ranks right up there with the worst strategy ever. Knowing your customer is key and it’s OK if you are not targeting ‘the hot target market’ right now (millennials). They may not be your best target and alienating your life long loyal customers will cost you, big time. Listening is key.  JCP failed to do either of these things.

Never estimate what you can learn from your consumer by asking them directly.  They will tell you, and you now have direct, open, free access to consumers.  It’s a privilege. Use it wisely.

I could go on for hours about the lessons we can learn from JCPenney and Chobani. I hope JCP is able to recover.  It is a flagship American Company, and for that reason alone I am rooting for it.  (Come on, JCP! You can do it! ) The bottom line is, you can take these examples, both good and bad, and learn from them.  Never estimate what you can learn from your consumer by asking them directly.  They will tell you, and you now have direct, open, free access to consumers.  It’s a privilege. Use it wisely.

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3 thoughts on “The Tale of Two Brands: How to get it right and how to fail miserably

    1. Wow! I am flattered that you read my post. Thanks so much, Amy, for taking the time to stop by and for your comments. I will definitely take you up on the offer to chat!

      Like

  1. Thanks so much for the incredibly kind words, Elisabeth! It’s hearing great feedback like this that makes our jobs so incredibly rewarding. 🙂

    Amy, @Chobani

    Like

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