{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

The social mediasphere can be a cruel place for brands when they make a mistake. American clothing retailer Gap learned that the hard way when it unveiled a new logo on gap.com earlier this week.

The new logo didn't go over too well and received a hefty dose of criticism on Twitter and in the blogosphere. So yesterday Gap threw in the towel and reverted back to its old logo.

In a message posted on its corporate site yesterday, Gap explained:

At Gap brand, our customers have always come first. We’ve been listening to and watching all of the comments this past week. We heard them say over and over again they are passionate about our blue box logo, and they want it back. So we’ve made the decision to do just that – we will bring it back across all channels.

Certainly, Gap made the decision many companies would if placed in a similar situation. After all, it's never fun to see one's brand criticized publicly, so it was probably fairly easy to throw the new logo in the trash.

But did Gap make the right decision by ditching its new logo? That's not as easy a question to answer. The reason? It's not clear that Gap's customers were actually that upset about the new logo.

Shortly after the social media firestorm began, AdAge retained Ipsos Observer to poll consumers on their reaction to the logo. At more than 1,000 responses, an interesting fact emerged: only 17% of those polled even knew that Gap had posted a new logo. What's more: 43% of those polled indicated that a new logo wouldn't influence a buying decision; far fewer -- 29% -- claimed that a new logo would have such an influence. Of course, we don't know how many consumers in that group would have been negatively influenced by the Gap logo in the real world.

Obviously, it would not have been advisable for Gap to ignore the strong reactions to its new logo. But at the same time, brands like the Gap might want to reconsider how strongly they react to the reactions, particularly in the social mediasphere, which is, in many if not most cases, hardly a perfect reflection of the mainstream marketplace as a whole.

At the end of the day, brands need to listen. They simply need to make sure they're listening to the right people. Whether Gap has only time will tell.

Photo credit: SteelNewt via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 12 October, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2407 more posts from this author

Comments (24)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Avatar-blank-50x50

Chris Mapley

I think a far better way for GAP to have responded would have been to engage them in the social mediasphere (my chrome spell-checker doesn't like that word for some reason?) and take advantage of the passion that had been ignited to find out a bit more what the problem was and to negotiate a way forward.

Immediately bowing to the pressure from a small, but vocal minority is not usually the best course of action.

almost 6 years ago

Karl Havard

Karl Havard, Chief Strategy Officer at Econsultancy Guest Access TRAININGSmall Business Multi-user

Or was it all a clever PR stunt? Many people don't welcome change readily, regardless of the quality of the incoming new thing. Gap would be completely aware of this fact. They have put themselves in the social spotlight; trended on twitter etc....and have come out of it by demonstrating they have listened to their customers and taken action. The best viral campaigns are not necessarily the most obvious ones.

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Rachael Parker

I agree with Karl, my first instinct was that it was a PR stunt. I can't believe a company like Gap would come up with such a poor new logo for any other reason then to get people talking about it. It looks like it was taken off a free template site. Still, intentional or not it has got their brand talked about on blogs, twitter, news sites etc and now they have some good PR as a company that listens to its customers. Plus all this extra publicity from people talking about if it was a stunt or not! However it started out it has definitely finished as a good marketing exercise.

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Andrew Marshall, SEM Manager at s1

It looks like a PR stunt to me. I doubt a big American corporate would have been able to turn this around in a matter of hours without it being planned in advance.

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Mikko Rummukainen

This was a very interesting even within the 'social mediasphere' indeed! Thanks for posting the poll results.

It could be that Gap planned for this all along, as the new logo did indeed look a bit, well, like nothing really. At first I thought, how on earth could that pass the scrutiny of Gap's brand managers?

In any case, whether this is a genuine situation or not, it does provide a case example of how quickly after something happens (e.g. a new logo is announced), the feedback is out there and spreading like wildfire. Even if the audience segment that voiced their negative opinion was relatively small, theirs was also the only opinion I could see on my TweetDeck on the day the new logo got published.

almost 6 years ago

No-profile-pic

Anonymous

2 scenarios:

1. it is a stunt (if so a very dangerous one given the tanking of their share price) = they are eedjits

2. it was genuine. If true, they are either eedjits for launching it in such an inept way (I actually don't mind the design) or short-termist eedjits for having a share-price panic and giving in so quickly to the hactivists.

Unfortunately for Gap, and this is something they will never admit, a lot of the mud stuck from a long time ago when they were fingered for their less-than-ethical supplier work practices.

Which means that there is a large, grumpy, online savvy rentamob of young hippies who have been effectively boycotting the place for a good ten years, and ready to stick it to them whenever they do something like this. If they take any initiative online, they're going to get a lot of swift and visible stick, in the same way that Nestle, Esso or BP would.

Unfortunately they don't seem to have evolved a strategy for dealing with this.

Just my €0.02 worth...

My hunch is that this wasn't a stunt, but I doubt we will ever know.

almost 6 years ago

Simon Gornick

Simon Gornick, Owner at Moovd LLC

A few points. 1. There is no way this was a stunt. The old logo had been with the company for decades. Introducing a new one was clearly part of a full on brand overhaul, which the company badly needed to restore its glory. 2. The new logo has been much maligned. It's perfectly decent given the back to basics genericized message that Gap has been sending from its inception. 3. Their lightning capitulation to some social media whining after what was clearly a well-considered rebranding effort has only served to highlight the unbelievable weakness in their marketing and branding leadership. Heads should roll, not because they came up with a new logo, but because they were too gutless to stick with it.

almost 6 years ago

Crystal Rose

Crystal Rose, Owner at Onvi.com

Is everyone still taking this seriously? Here's the truth. Gap was launched a viral campaign, and it worked.

Origin of the design:  http://www.horriblelogos.com/gap

Or, if you prefer... they got the design from looking at they way their name looks on Twitter (nice Helvetica!).  In any case... there's no way a rebranding campaign like that could have cost them more than a beer. For their sake, I hope they come out publicly and say it was a big silly joke (while there's still time). 

I'm not going to believe a company like that would make such a mistake without intention though... it's all part of a bigger social media picture. They didn't have an official press release on the rebrand and no plan to do a mass rebrand of the stores.

Crowdsourcing was definitely a low point though... I'm glad most designers maintained their dignity (and intellectual property). I'm sure that wasn't the response Gap PR was looking for. Social media is proving to do a fantastic job of responding faster than any media in history, and influencing behavior.

I was of course part of that commentary on Twitter. (@crystalrose)

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Rishi Sahgal

Looks like a PR campaign to me. It seems like a perfect way to say "hey kids, see? We do listen, and we're totally into this social media thingamajig so we must be relevant to you!." The people at Gap know that their branding issues have little to do with logos, but rather the fact that the brand's identity feels stale and lacks relevancy.

The fact that only 17% of GAP customers knew about the change is irrelevant. What is relevant is that this news will resonate among a desirable target audience that AREN'T GAP customers. At the same time, current customers will feel a sense of vindication for their 'loyalty', which may potentially increase their short term purchase intention. Seems like a win-win.   

almost 6 years ago

Simon Gornick

Simon Gornick, Owner at Moovd LLC

Social Media boosters are so up their own you know whats that they genuinely believe this is a stunt? There is no way the top management of GAP who've probably never heard of social media would sanction it. Talk about a self-serving conspiracy theory. We're talking about a huge multi-national brand here. To please a few bleating bloggers they're going to deliberately smear their faces with scrambled egg. Uhh, no.

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Richard Dale

I think it's rare that the wider public actually all love a new logo, people generally don't like change and I think this should be taken into account. For example I didn't like the new Argos logo but I've come round to it now, I think it suits their target market.

As far as I was aware GAP were suffering from declining sales and so a change in direction or rebrand may have been needed. Maybe this shift in direction prompting the new logo appeals to a new audience that will attract a new customer, something that the traditionalist isn't a fan of. But hey, their a business.

almost 6 years ago

Karl Havard

Karl Havard, Chief Strategy Officer at Econsultancy Guest Access TRAININGSmall Business Multi-user

@Simon, you seem totally convinced about this. I think you may be underestimating the senior players at Gap. Normally, isn't a "re-branding" exercise quite a large expense? i.e. it's backed up by TV, Outdoor advertising, Online advertising etc. But this one was a change of logo on their website. No cost, but huge attention and very quickly reversed. 

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

C Smyers

Sigh. This whole GAP logo thing doesn't bother me nearly as much as the continued use of the phrase "revert back" does. That's as redundant (and prevalent) as an unnecessary new logo.

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Amber

I personally feel as if GAP made one grave error in this entire process—they ignored their customers. I am a frequent shopper at GAP and had absolutely no idea that they had even made a new logo until I realized that they were changing it “back.” I wondered, “back from what?” Now I see what all of the commotion is about and the only reason that makes sense as to why the customers disliked the new logo is because GAP did not inform anyone that a new logo was in the works before they bombarded their customers with it, on their website. The customer always comes first, but it seems that they realized the customer is always right. Thanks for the read, Amber

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ryan Skinner

No, clearly this was no stunt. Just a major leadership failure, first in weathering a little social media flak on the facebook site, and then poorly implementing a crowdsourcing endeavor. I put together a few basic tips for those companies considering a crowdsourcing effort: http://mashstreetjournable.com/?p=208

almost 6 years ago

Crystal Rose

Crystal Rose, Owner at Onvi.com

Is there any hard evidence they were going to launch a real rebrand of their global retail presence? No. This was an attempt to test the waters, resulting in failed social media campaign, simple as that. The publicity received is astounding so I wouldn't even call it a direct failure.

Although the efforts were backwards they deserve a bit more credit. Especially since the whole sphere of digital marketing still has their feathers fluffed. I'd certainly say they overspent for the messy campaign (with NY agency Laird+Partners) but this was clearly not a real rebrand.

This was a sad attempt at engaging the consumer via social media and the only thing they learned is that their customer isn't even the one paying attention. Crowdsourcing for a powerful global brand results in nothing but a slap in the face. 

From AdAge: 

Marka Hansen, president of Gap Brand, North America:

"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."

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Logos

This "gap" logo has overcome on every blog and the new logo of gap is introductive and quite good one.

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Andrew Marshall, SEM Manager at s1

It can't have done their SEO campaign any harm with all these links to the site!!!

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Seema

This was either a PR stunt which worked marvellously and if it was genuine the marketing department /senior managers who were involved in this decision need to be sacked! Everybody knows that rebranding needs to be subtle and done over time so it’s silly to even believe that a company such as Gap can get this so wrong. Firstly the logo was only changed on the US website and as pointed out by Karl Normally, a re-branding exercise is very expensive and backed up by different media. BP spent an estimated 7million when they re-branded. What did gap spend uploading a logo? In addition, how else could gap have achieved over 1500 replies on their facebook post and over 2,500 likes in a space of a few hours? It even made me sign up to their facebook page and take note. A fantastic way to get free publicity! Why spend millions on ad campaigns when this simple PR stunt works a treat!

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Web design Company

Hi, I am agree with RIshi that it looks like PR campaign that GAP is telling that we listen to our customers and they are more important than anything.

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Jenny Rice

Advanced conferencing service methods also included enhancements to web services to allow users to individually decide on the features to be included in their conferencing to meet their specific needs. http://www.conferenceshopper.com/

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

ed hardy uk

I agree with Karl, my first instinct was that it was a PR stunt. I can't believe a company like Gap would come up with such a poor new logo for any other reason then to get people talking about it.

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

danny

i think GAP ignored their customers - i usually buy from GAP and had no idea that they have changed their logo.

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

logan cabin

I never care about the logo, its the style of the clothes that matters to me cause you usually dont see people walking around wearing huge logos

over 4 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.