In case you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, let me set the scene for you: a much-loved brand launches new logo with a great fanfare, loyal customers are outraged by new logo and take to the internet to declare their feelings in no uncertain terms, much-loved brand then bows to social media pressure and withdraws new logo, much-loved brand then decides to return to social media platform to ‘crowd source’ a new logo, then withdraws the ‘crowd source’ strategy and finally returns to embrace old logo with open arms.
I’m talking about Gap, who, in the space of a single week, managed to create a social media furore , ‘abandoned’ their 20-year-old logo and replaced it with a new logo which it promptly withdrew after its customers took to Twitter and Facebook in their droves to express their horror at the logo change.
Gap then tried to mollify them by asking them to “share their designs” via Facebook but then turned its back on their efforts and returned to the original logo.
In a statement Marka Hansen, president of Gap North America, recognized that it “did not go about [crowd sourcing] in the right way” and if Gap looks to “evolve” its brand identity in the future, it will “handle it differently.”
She added: “We’ve learned a lot in this process. 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.”
The more cynical marketers out there have expressed various conspiracy theories that Gap have actually managed to pull off a very clever PR stunt to focus all eyes back on the retailer and improve brand awareness.
However, I have to question the conspiracy theorists – how desperate would Gap have to be to want to raise its brand profile via the gauntlet of social media, especially with something as expensive as a rebrand?
If Gap did bow to the pressure of social media, my other question to you is, should you listen to your customers to the degree that Gap did?
I’ll leave you with this thought: did Gap manage to successfully engage with its consumers and pull off a spectacular PR stunt or run an ill-conceived and badly researched rebranding campaign?
Whatever their intentions, I guess the only people who will ever really know the truth are sitting inside Gap’s marketing department right now…either pointing the finger of blame and looking for heads to roll, or opening the champagne and slapping themselves on the backs for a job well done.