Gap’s vaccilating marketing department would do well to follow the example of others


So Gap has stepped back from the brink and opted to stay with what it’s got and what it now perceives that shoppers love best. This seems strange when you consider that most of the noise that has been forthcoming on the subject has come from outraged designers, brand and marketing types and not a few media pundits.
You will however look long and hard to find much about the logo change emanating from shoppers and it’s worth noting perhaps that the logo was unveiled in a pretty similar form last year when Gap opened a pop-up store in London to celebrate its 40th anniversary. At the time, most of the comment was about the way the stores looked and the product that was on sale with approving comments being made about the ankle boots and cheap retro-style denims. Nobody ventured the opinion that the logo wasn’t all that, or that it might have been better if the store had opened with the usual blue box logo that stands for the brand. So what’s different this time round?
Not much actually, other perhaps that that the new design would have far greater exposure and the move would mean binning the old one. Two things should be said at this point. The rage to modernise, update or tweak a brand is common to almost every major company that you might care to (re)name. Think of the uproar that accompanied the decision by BP to shift to its current green and yellow sunflower design, let alone Mars’ idea of taking the Marathon bar and bringing it into line with the rest of the planet by calling it Snickers.
They’re all footnotes in the marketing annals now and the hoo-ha has been forgotten as we get on with the business of filling our cars with petrol or eating confectionary bars that almost certainly contain nuts. Which brings us to the other point. There is certainly room for argument that BP and Marathon would have been consumed in exactly the same way as they had always been if the brands had been left untouched.
Nonetheless, having said that things were going to change, BP and Mars went ahead and made it so. Why then did Gap think it appropriate to announce its logo update and then retrench when faced with the negative clamour? Having made its questionable business choice, it should have stuck to its guns and we’d all have forgotten about it by now. Oh yes, and wouldn’t it be a good idea to concentrate on the product in-store? Writing about this for the second week in a row, it still all seems confusing and an object lesson in how not to approach design and brand management.

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