Prevent a GAP-like brand assassination

Prevent a GAP-like brand assassination

Not so for the clothes retailer Gap, who could not face any more adverse reaction to their proposed new brandmark and so decided to scrap it just one week after its introduction following an “outpouring of comments” in the online space.

Why did Gap end up in this situation?

Michael Whorrell founder of branding experts Whorrell Rogers outlines 5 of the key reasons why companies generally rebrand:

  1. Clients perceive there is a mismatch between how they are seen and how they would like to be seen.
  2. Companies face new competition, new legislation, new technology.
  3. Customers have changed – they need to reassert their position.
  4. The business wants to change and needs to launch a new business, or move into a new market or sector.
  5. Their business has changed and they have new goals, restructured, are doing new things in new ways and so there is a need to make the strategy visible.

Michael Whorrell tells me, “Many different factors and forms of communications make up any brand, and whilst the brandmark itself is only one element of any brand, it should however be seen as the essence of a company.”

The original GAP logo, which has been used for more than 20 years, has a blue box with “GAP” written in white inside. According to the BBC, the new logo on the website had “Gap” written in black against a light background with a small blue square laid over the top of the letter “p”.

Critics attacked the rebranding on social networks and online forums, where more than 2,000 comments were posted on the company’s Facebook page on the issue, with many demanding the return of the traditional logo.

Mark Hansen, president of Gap Brand North America, said the company’s customers always came first. (with thanks to the BBC)

“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.”
He added that it was clear the retailer “did not go about this in the right way” and “missed the opportunity to engage with the online community”.
“There may be a time to evolve our logo, but if and when that time comes, we’ll handle it in a different way,” he said.

He could start by giving Opinium a call.

Our easy to use BrandCheck suite is an immediate and tactical set of tools to help you understand the what, where, why and how of your brand on a daily basis or for understanding how any changes might be perceived by your customers. Vital for everything from damage limitation to full blown brand re-launches.

BrandCheck can be deployed within 6 hours, allowing clients to use BrandCheck for damage/ impact tests as well as for more conventional research purposes such as brand valuation, testing concepts and images during the design phase, ascertaining strengths, weaknesses or simply measuring public awareness of recent news – ‘Buzz’.

Brand Check is intended to be a powerful new tactical tool in any marketer’s research armoury. It does not supplant brand tracking or detailed U&A programmes; it complements them.

At a suggested price of just £2,200 per test/ wave, Brand Check offers unrivalled value for money.

We would have recommended that Gap use BrandCheck during the new concept design phase, to test the final logo/s with their customers, preferably on their own customer panel and facebook groups where they will no doubt have a collection of brand ambassadors (the same one assassinating them at the moment), and of course finally with the general public as a whole to ensure that they covered all of their bases.

Michael Whorrell concludes, “It?s always difficult to comment without knowing all the facts and reasons for choosing the end result that they scrapped, however in my opinion it lacks style, a point of difference, does not appeal or suggest any qualities at all and is most definitely not an improvement on or a development of the original. Send it to me I?ll improve on it!!”

“I do think the Gap issue may also be a question of appointing the right agency to design it, the right people to run and manage the project and to ensure that client committees and internal procedures don?t dilute any end result ? I?ve seen this so many times.”

“Also market research is essential!”

With thanks to the BBC and Whorrell Rogers.