Even a 109-year-old brand needs a facelift every now and then. As part of its annual spring marketing campaign during the Academy Awards telecast this Sunday, the JC Penney Company is introducing a new corporate logo intended to give the retailer a more modern identity.
The update is the most "meaningful change" in the company's corporate identity in 40 years, says company representative Tim Lyons. The logo incorporates the company's signature red coloring, red box design and Helvetica font, but puts a greater emphasis on a new, lowercase "jcp" by putting all three letters in the box, offset in white. The company is highlighting those three letters to acknowledge the abbreviations common in these always-connected times.
"The new logo is symbolic of our company's transformation," Lyons tells Marketing Daily. "Over the past few years we've made a lot of progress in adding styles and innovating through technology."
Those innovations include partnerships with Sephora, MNG by Mango and Call It Spring by the Aldo Group, as well as a new line of clothing and home merchandise from Liz Claiborne and Claiborne apparel.
Rather than simply contract with a branding agency to devise the new logo, the retailer sought ideas from a variety of places, including the company's employees, design agencies and the art schools at the University of Cincinnati and the Rhode Island School of Design. Opening up to different parties ensured "there would be a very broad range of perspectives reflected in the designs presented," Lyons says.
With more than 200 designs submitted, the winning design came from Luke Langhus, a third-year graphic design student at the University of Cincinnati. The logo was also subjected to extensive research to make sure it resonated with consumers.
Last year, the Gap infamously redesigned its logo, only to revert back to the original after significant consumer outcry. The extensive consumer research was intended to avoid that same fate.
"Everybody in the industry was aware of what happened there," Lyons says. "Our company did a lot of consumer research coming going out with this."
The logo will make its official debut during the Academy Awards telecast on Sunday. JC Penney has been the exclusive retail sponsor of the televised awards ceremony for the past 10 years, Lyons says.