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Leading the Change: JCPenney’s Latina Brand Strategy

You first heard about our 2014 Leading the Change event in last week’s blog about Anthem’s Total Market Journey.  This week, we’re turning to JCPenney.  Director of Multicultural Marketing Lyris Leos delivered a powerful presentation of resilience and fortitude, centered around their brand muse: the Latina.

Why Latinas?

JCPenney knew going into 2014 that this year was a decisive one for the brand’s health, forcing them to take bold and drastic measures to achieve success in repositioning the brand to consumers.

Despite the fact that JCPenney serves about 50% of families in the U.S. they pinpointed their efforts heavily on their Latina brand muse because, as they put it, “[The Latina] is the new general market.”  Her penchant for being image conscious, seeking attention, and following trends made her a perfect target.  “New trends means new clothes means more sales, so we’re constantly trying to reach out to this consumer,” Leos said.

“We Had to Book a Bet”

Putting Latina customers at the middle of their strategy, JCPenney took a chance on a non-traditional female marketing approach this year.  They looked to the “Biggest Party in the World,” the FIFA World Cup, to effectively reach Latinas whom they found to be just as likely as men to follow their favorite teams and watch the games. With powerful “Soccer is for Girls” messaging, JCPenney struck a chord with Latinas, tying their “when it fits, you feel it™” brand anthem (translated in Spanish as “cuando te sientas bien, lo sientes™”) to the teams and countries they were most passionate about with creative celebrating that “Passion fits us nicely.”

And the bet paid off, with the campaign outperforming all prior Hispanic market campaigns on brand health, social, purchase consideration and persuasion metrics – the rebound the brand needed in 2014.

Fighting the Good Fight

Like many multicultural marketers before her, Leos noted the challenges that come with asking those within pedigreed organizations (JCPenney is a 113-year old brand) to think and allocate resources differently.  But she encouraged her peers at our event to “Keep fighting the good fight,” knowing that leading change may be uncomfortable, may be tense, but it can pay off in spades.  For JCPenney, that means letting their Latina insights continue to lead the brand connection strategy for key events and occasions throughout the year, like Easter, Mother’s Day and Back to School — all to better connect with the Hispanic consumer, and in turn, the total market.

Want to know more? Search #leadingthechange on Twitter.

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