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Can Social Media Save JCPenney?

May 9

Can social media save JCPenney’s brand? Thanks @dollydahl for the photo!

Does social media work? Here’s a success story from a popular national retailer.

Recently, JCPenney revamped its brand, ousting its outdated department store “sales and coupons” strategies and launching an entire makeover emphasizing low prices and modern and hip clothing lines.

I don’t remember the last time I stepped into a JCPenney store, and there’s a high chance that I’ve never even been to one at all (maybe my mom took me one day when I was still in a stroller, who knows?) The point is, I’ve never had a desire to shop at JCPenney. It was only until recently when I noticed all of its changes that JCPenney caught my eye. Suddenly, I began seeing JCPenney’s new commercials on TV and YouTube everywhere, advertising clothing pieces that actually looked like items I wanted in my closet. I appreciated that JCPenney was stepping out of its comfort zone and pursuing different business models that would be more relevant to today’s generations.

Of course, there are many people who disagree.

Turns out, JCPenney’s changes have elicited harsh criticism from its former loyal customers, and its sales have been plummeting.

In response, JCPenney recently launched an apologetic ad campaign urging customers to not only come back, but to also voice their opinions through social media. The campaign has garnered a huge response; Thousands of people, from disgruntled former customers to enthusiastic new fans, have been writing on JCPenney’s Facebook wall and tweeting using the hashtag “#jcplistens,” expressing their thoughts on all of JCPenney’s changes.  “We’re listening,” JCPenney says, and it’s true—JCPenney has diligently replied to nearly all of the comments coming in, and is expressing genuine concern and care for its audience.

This case is a great testament to how vital social media is for businesses’ reputations today. JCPenney made drastic changes to its company, which garnered negative attention, but instead of sweeping all of that under the rug, JCPenney is using it to build transparency and better customer relations. And, talk about a great PR move! JCPenney owned up to its changes and chose to address them with its customers, and turned the entire ordeal into a campaign that will surely catch many more people’s eyes.

If you haven’t already, go take a look at JCPenney’s social media and observe how the company is using these channels to interact with its customers.

What do you think about JCPenney and its social media campaign? Let us know on our Facebook page!






Chau is a Content Editor at Katie Wagner Social Media. With a degree in Literary Journalism, Chau’s experience includes reporting, copywriting, technical writing and narrative non-fiction.

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