Penney for your thoughts?

JC Penney CEO ClearanceWell it’s about time.

This is why people lose faith in leadership and corporate America. Sure, there’s no question there are smart people in those offices who have friends and advisers to enable them to skip out on paying taxes or even protecting their employees. No one doubts that, hell, we all suffer from them having that. But the type of leadership that is on display at some of the largest corporations in this country is the very reason THAT type of businessman was not elected the leader of the country. (Ok, that and a few other reasons.)

Ron Johnson was never qualified to lead JC Penney. The world knew that. The employees knew that. Their customers knew that. Only the egos of leadership didn’t know it. And then when they did, they made excuses, laid blame, and tried to cover it up.

(Don’t even get me started on the division they pretended to ignite over Ellen DeGeneres being the spokesperson. That was a divisive diversion that was never legitimate. If she were not fully accepted by the very public she was promoting to she would not be nearly as successful as she is. HER brand is authentic, what JC Penney set her up for was not. They should be branded for the bigotry they pretended existed to deliberately use perceived hatred and discrimination to cover their own faults.)

JC Penney was one of THE most beloved and respected brands by it’s customers in the history of brands. Surprisingly it consistently made it to the top of favorites lists and of success lists.

So what the hell, let’s change all that in one fell swoop.

That idea never should have made it out of the drawing room, and neither should it’s then architects of the plans. But they did. And were paid handsomely for it.

It’s sad, really. But a heartwarming sign that at the mention of the departure their star began to rise again. No more will they push the wrong products down their customers’ throats. No longer will they retrain their customers how to shop the right way. No longer will the Apple-approach work in the mid-market.

I’ve gone over this again and again, there is a reason Apple has a huge success rate, and it’s due entirely to the egos of their customers matching the ego of the corporation they lay down their sacrifices for. JC Penney is not Apple, and their customers are not the hypnotoid, shiny-object craving followers.

JC Penney’s customers are the dream of any marketer. They are honest, authentic, predictable, loyal, and full of integrity. They are the soul of what our country stands for.

Ron Johnson is the opposite of that. Whoever allowed him to stay as long as he did should be forced out. Those who questioned him should be brought back.

It is the first rule of marketing, it is the first rule of business, it is the first rule of anything you ever do, be it writing or singing, schooling or sport.

Know. Thy. Audience.