Last night I wrote:
Gap has a new logo and its loyal customers are NOT happy about it. Gap probably thought it was time for a tune-up, but there are some things you don’t mess with, and when you have strong equity in your logo, that is one thing you don’t mess with, as the Gap is finding out.
One of the reasons we trust a brand is because we can rely on that brand and logo to be consistent and stand for something. In one forum, a consumer said that the traditional Gap logo represented an aspirational level of clothing to her that she wanted, but the new logo did not. To her, then, the old Gap logo meant that she could trust the merchandise that she was getting–she could trust the brand to represent not only the image she wanted, but a type of clothing, a certain atmosphere in the store–a package that she wanted. Without the logo, she doubted it was the same Gap.
By making such a drastic change, Gap has betrayed our trust. They have become
1) unreliable–by changing when we didn’t want them to
2) dishonest–by not telling us why they were going to change the logo
3) incompetent–by making a disasterous change, and
4) uncompassionate–by not caring about how consumers would feel about the logo
To make up for their mistake, the Gap is resorting to a crowdsourcing method of fixing the logo by asking for input from consumers to fix their mess, but it might be too little, too late.
Gap must have been listening to everyone who shared their feelings about this new logo because they have pulled the new logo and have gone back to the old one. Here is their statement which addresses the energy and passion they discovered consumers have about their brand. I only teach marketing, but this is what I learned at the seat of Coke’s new coke fiasco–it pays to ask consumers how much passion they have for your brand before you go making changes to it, or else they will 1) come back and tell you loud and clear how they feel, or 2) walk away. I personally like the Gap, so I hope their consumers don’t walk away. I guess we’ll have to watch and find out what happens.