If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That was the prevailing wisdom when Gap recently suffered backlash from its unveiling of a new logo (to the right in the image at left). The ensuing Gap flap left people wondering not only why Gap would abandon its old logo, but also why it would roll out the new one in such a hasty manner- and then backtrack, calling the whole debacle a failed experiment in crowdsourcing. Oh, if I were Gap’s Director of Social Media Marketing.
For one thing, I would have had a better idea of why the new logo was replacing the old one. Was it as part of a broader rebranding strategy? Targeting a newer demo -people who like sparse, Nordic design? Surely the new logo was part of an overhaul of old aspects of Gap brand marketing. A new ad campaign would be announced, new in-store materials, perhaps new spokespeople? And at a time of year that was natural for big pushes from retailers (back to school or Christmas, when Gap’s campaigns excite)?
Nein. Nyet. No. Unless I missed something, Gap simply introduced the new logo, waited to hear feedback from people who are online all day (not that there’s anything wrong with spending all day online- some of us do it for our jobs!), and thought things would work out well? Naturally, people didn’t like it. Cause it was new and people don’t like change. But, rather than defend its bold new logo as the first step in a bold new direction for the company, Gap retreated. Big time. So long, new logo, hello old logo.
This indicates to me that Gap didn’t have a strategy in mind. It was reactive rather than proactive. On defense rather than offense. And claiming that the whole effort was an experiment in crowdsourcing? Lame. I won’t venture to guess what is going on in the marketing department at Gap, but I will say that the logo didn’t get a fair shake. If you’re going to begin a radical redesign, stand by it. In my opinion, the new logo is light years better than the old one. The old logo has a font out of the 1600’s, whereas the new one has a refreshing white background, allowing the light to dark blue swatch to stand out. And the slimmer font in that very black black is just what the Gap needs: a shot of boldness.
Next time, know ahead of time why and how you are executing your brand redesign, and by all means, stick with it. Your reputation is on the line. ESPECIALLY online.