When Ron Johnson left Apple several months ago, there was an audible gasp from the Apple community.
After all, Ron was one of Steve Jobs’s most important hires — the man who created the Apple Stores from scratch and led their amazing growth. It’s not like that was his first gig, either. Before that, Ron was the guy who gave Target its cool.
So it was a big blow to Apple when Ron left after 11 stellar years. And it was a big wow for JCPenney when Ron signed on as their new CEO.
For many, Ron’s move was a disconnect. Why would someone jump from the world’s coolest retail store to a stodgy department store chain?
Well, you’re about to find out. Today is the day that Ron, after less than three months on the job, unveils his plans to turn JCPenney into … well, I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise.
Ron’s big day starts out with a two-page ad in major papers (above). This is his Think different moment, where he puts forth the philosophy that will guide JCPenney under his leadership.
The details will be revealed during a series of presentations today in New York. But from firsthand experience, I can testify that when Ron talks about what makes a great shopping experience, you start believing.
Either a bit of that old distortion field rubbed off on him, or he really is a retail genius. I’m thinking the latter.
If it sounds like I’m a Ron fan, you’re absolutely right. Ron is a genuinely good guy with serious smarts and a ton of energy. I didn’t want to taint this story up front, but I’ve been sneaking about in the background helping Ron’s team — starting with today’s “In praise of fresh air” ad. (Design credit goes to Michael Rylander, who, by the way, runs a really cool design-centric blog.)
So now, after I’ve critiqued many other people’s ads here, I am ready to be judged. Just try to keep it civil, okay?