Way to go Gap fans for telling the company how you really felt about the iconic store’s new logo!
That’s the power of WOM.
You would think that marketers involved with one the world’s best-known retail brands would know better than to roll out a stealthy logo launch. Why didn’t Gap tease the public ahead of time?
Brands like Gap usually go for a big splash in Times Square with building scape ads and PR stunts like a musical review featuring the new logo. Even the naked cowboy could’ve worn a logo sandwich board.
Even more than forgoing an actual launch, it seems like the Gap marketing team forgot how to do research prior to a logo redesign. Instead of asking fans via social media for basic input on whether a new design would be welcome, not to mention using their help to re-design their logo prior to the launch, they waited until the negative publicity started to reach out to fans for solutions.
As quoted in the New York Daily News.com article, one Facebook user put it this way:
“Really disgusting PR ploy, Gap,” one person fumes on Facebook. “First an awful new ‘logo’, then a crowdsourcing stunt that just cheapens everything. Disgusting.”
Read more here.
Here’s what Marka Hansen, president of Gap Brand, North America, said in AdAge about finding out how much passion and energy surrounded the brand:
“We’ve learned a lot in this process. And we are clear that we did not go about this in the right way. We recognize that we missed the opportunity to engage with the online community. This wasn’t the right project at the right time for crowd sourcing.
“There may be a time to evolve our logo, but if and when that time comes, we’ll handle it in a different way.”
When a brand has been around for several decades, it’s tempting to instigate a re-design. But not before undertaking major focus group research to truly understand what the core customer wants.
If a re-design would have been warranted, Gap could have used WOM to its benefit by creating brand ambassadors to spread the word about the new look. Maybe they’ll consider that in the future, in order to avoid headlines about the debacle such as:
Gap falls into online flap with redesigned logo
Gap Reverts to Original Logo After Social Media Backlash
Gap-Lash: Retailer’s Logo Gets A New Look, And Gets Panned
We’ll be watching how Gap handles its next major marketing campaign. I bet it will be more inclusive of its thousands of critics in the social media space.