What should be done with the new Gap logo
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
11 October 2010
It should keep the logo, but it’s gotta be backed with meaning
If you haven’t heard, some consumers of The Gap are all aflame over the apparel retailer’s new logo, posting negative reactions on Facebook and Twitter – all of which is leading The Gap to consider taking the new Gap logo all back.
My counsel to clients, when unveiling any new logo or anything else that signifies change, is that there will be some negative backlash because we as humans inherently do not like change.
“What The Gap also needs to consider is that the new Gap logo – or, much more importantly, the brand – is not intended to rally your current customers. It should be intended to attract new ones.”
Therefore, taking back a new logo is often a short-sided and potentially damaging strategy because it means you’re making decisions based on the reactions of a vocal minority instead of a sound strategy. Fear resides in all of us, but it shouldn’t be your driver in stealing market share.
The only significant opportunities happen in change because as John Wooden often said, “If you keep doing what you have always done, you will always be in the same place.” Change is nothing to fear. It is something to embrace.
And, considering that its same-store sales dropped last month, The Gap needs change. What The Gap also needs to consider is that the new Gap logo – or, much more importantly, the brand – is not intended to rally your current customers. It should be intended to attract new ones.
It is our experience that a change in logo or even a new name rarely leads to a customer exodus. Your current customers might complain, but they usually accept it eventually, especially if it is strategic, meaningful and rewards those who have already chosen your brand.
And it should increase your customer base.
I do agree with one thing the naysayers are picking at. What does the new logo mean? You got me, and that’s no doubt why The Gap is in the PR trouble it’s in.
The retailer explains that the new Gap logo looks more modern, which might be so. What it doesn’t have is any apparent meaning. A logo is not a brand. It is simply the visual representation of it. But it should be more than a pretty (modern) picture. It should tell a story and reflect the highest emotional intensities in the market. Without that, it becomes a cipher and people will starting complaining, “I don’t like the color,” instead of focusing on what’s important.
That’s why we often tell clients that you must take advantage of every piece of real estate you have, even on a packaging, to increase awareness, meaning and preference. It is part of how you steal market share without overspending on marketing.
Gap once had a meaningful and powerful brand, but it failed to incorporate the new logo with meaning. Instead of backtracking and going with another logo, or reinstating the old one, it should concentrate on giving the new logo brand meaning.
The naysayers will get over it. But Gap can still take advantage of the opportunity in this change to be relevant once again.
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