And it all comes down to this: the final game of the tournament. The winner takes home the trophy, and the loser just takes the bus. In this matchup, we have two strong teams squaring off after two bruising rounds of competition. Here’s where things currently stand:
JCPenney came into the tournament as a serious underdog. They’ve been down before – way down – and rebuilding a championship-worthy team for a second time simply seemed like too much of a long shot. Just don’t tell head coach CEO Mike Ullman. He took on Toyota in the first round and General Motors in the second, handily beating both as the two automakers continued to struggle to overcome their own demons.
Coach Ullman has reignited the “Retailers” and their fans with a consistent emphasis on the fundamentals and a light touch of modernization – all while maintaining the iconic retail tradition that Americans love to love. By returning to discount pricing and coupons, loyal fans are returning, and with a fresh focus on online sale, particularly home sales, new customers are starting to take notice, as well.
When it comes to March Madness, a true Cinderella story is born when the underdog defies expectations and captures the hearts and minds of tournament fans everywhere. JCPenney has been serving the American public for over 100 years, and its brand loyalty puts them in good stead now when they need it the most. It remains to be seen if the “Retailers” will have a fairy tale ending, but if they can keep their heads in the game and avoid any additional setbacks, this will be a very close game indeed.
After easily defeating Carnival Cruise Lines in Round 1, JPMorgan squared off in Round 2 against a tougher opponent but the “Bankers” held their own with strong performances centered on transparency and accountability. A few missteps led to a tighter contest than many had predicted, but head coach CEO Jamie Dimon rallied his team and they pulled out the win.
In the championship game, the “Bankers” will need more than just a strong track record. Coach Dimon has once again showed his willingness to make bold moves that strengthen his team, including the recent shakeup to the office responsible for the London Whale trading scandal by combining the Chief Information Office with the bank’s treasury department. This should lead to greater visibility and transparency across the units with responsibility for JPMorgan’s own finances and prevent another high-stakes failure.
Despite making all the right moves to get his team back on track, things are still far from over for the embattled “Bankers.” We still don’t know the full repercussions of the judge’s ruling in favor of shareholders who lost value in the London Whale scandal. As it continues to play out, it prevents JPMorgan from closing the book on this chapter of its history and truly focusing all the company’s efforts on the championship game at hand. A team distracted by outside events is quite unpredictable in these high pressure circumstances.
Winner: The winner of 2014 Reputation Bracketology is… JCPenney. In a hard fought contest that came down to who has moved farther away from their troubled past, the “Retailers” proved they truly are a Cinderella story. Despite the lead changing hands several times, Coach Ullman and his team proved they may be down, but they’re never out.