retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Call it the amazing, disappearing logo.

Last week, Gap unveiled a new logo that was meant to reflect what the company said was an “evolving brand identity.” Described as putting “the retailer's name in a bold Helvetica font with a blue gradiated box perched atop the P,” the logo instantly received almost unanimous negative reaction in social media and on a wide variety of websites...not to mention from marketing and design experts who questioned why Gap was abandoning its iconic logo.

Yesterday, the company said that it was ditching the new logo and going back to the old version, and would make the official announcement via Facebook.

Here is the statement released by Marka Hansen, president of Gap Brand, North America:

"Since we rolled out an updated version of our logo last week on our Website, we've seen an outpouring of comments from customers and the online community in support of the iconic blue box logo.

"Last week, we moved quickly to address the feedback and began exploring how we could tap into all of the passion. Ultimately, we've learned just how much energy there is around our brand. All roads were leading us back to the blue box, so we've made the decision not to use the new logo on any further.

"At Gap brand, our customers have always come first. We've been listening to and watching all of the comments this past week. We heard them say over and over again they are passionate about our blue box logo, and they want it back. So we've made the decision to do just that – we will bring it back across all channels.”

It is an interesting dilemma for marketers. You think about what happened with New Coke, or the Tropicana redesign, or Gap’s logo, and you start to question whether to even consider such changes if they could disenfranchise a public that feels passionately about your brand.

On the other hand, these missteps actually revealed public passion for specific brands that might otherwise have been taken for granted.

The big lesson is that we all have to make brand decisions with our eyes wide open...sensitive to what consumers think and feel, but not afraid of trying to advance the brand wherever and whenever we can.

No pain, no gain, is the old maxim. Sometimes you have to move forward...but it makes sense to leave a trail of breadcrumbs in case a tactical retreat is required.

And that’s my Tuesday Eye-Opener.

- Kevin Coupe
KC's View: