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Home » Engagement, News, Social Media News

Gap to crowdsource its way out of a rebranding cock-up

Submitted by on October 8, 2010 – 10:29 am6 Comments

Gap, the slumping clothing chain, has been feeling the heat these past few days after introducing a new corporate logo on its homepage, one that critics grumble looks like a logo for a bank, or worse, a medical supply chain. When hundreds of disapproving comments piled up on its Facebook wall, on Twitter and in blogs, Gap responded by turning the flap into an exercise in crowdsourcing. It now wants to solicit design ideas from you. Could this mean curtains for high-priced creative boutiques?

It’s unclear what Gap has spent on the new logo, designed by New York creative agency Laird & Partners (Warning: slick, but slow-loading site), part of a larger investment to revitalize a brand that’s been hit with slumping sales the past few years. As Gap’s Marka Hansa explained in a Huffington Post entry, “I’ve been president at Gap brand for the past three years, and I’ve been living and breathing the changes we’ve been making on our journey to make Gap more relevant to our customers… The natural step for us on this journey is to see how our logo – one that we’ve had for more than 20 years – should evolve. Our brand and our clothes are changing and rethinking our logo is part of aligning with that.”

It’s pretty clear Gap didn’t expect such an angry outcry from fans, particularly after it got the thumbs up from Gap execs. But there could be a silver lining to all this Facebook fuss. As Advertising Age’s Natalia Zmuda points out, Gap seems to have discovered the innate dislike for the new brand early enough in the process to possibly save face, and some money. Zmuda writes:

Replacing signage, updating credit cards, employee name badges and the like would surely be a pricey endeavor. If Gap decides to trash the new logo completely, at least the debacle won’t have cost it millions; it would save itself the heartache experienced by Tropicana when it yanked product off of shelves last year after a much-maligned redesign.

So, what kind of ideas are being generated? Of course, there are plenty of satirical offerings that will never be seen in Gap stores. We like this one, even if it’s a blatant rip-off of a famous G-named search engine.

Other offerings won’t make the cut either, we guess. That’s the ingenious part of what Gap is up to here. In saying, yeah, you give it a go, Gap is acknowledging that it cares about it’s fans’ input, even if there’s no chance in hell one of these ideas will bump off something from Laird and Partners, or another scrappy firm. Maybe Gap can even get a clever new design on the cheap. Or, simply conclude: the people have spoken, let’s not mess with the old design.

SMI offers specially tailored social media training for companies. Email: training[at] socialmediainfluence.com for more information.

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