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Consultants Repair the Gap

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If you’ve ever wondered how to measure the success of a company’s branding, you could take a lesson from The Gap. Despite the retailer’s plans to revamp its logo, the contemporary design hit the chopping block after dedicated shoppers voiced their extreme discontent. 

Gap debuted its logo on gap.com to familiarize its shoppers with the new campaign. According to Marka Hansen, president of Gap, North America, the venture originally set out to introduce the retailer’s movement into modern fashion:

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.

Despite Gap’s motivation for the change, shoppers still voiced their opinion in support of the original logo. It appeared that the retailer was at an impasse.

business consultants new logo

The dilemma brought about two choices for Gap; both of which contained serious downsides:

  • Gap could follow through with the rebranding as planned.

This path satisfied certain factors. The hours of brainstorming and designing would certainly not go to waste. Any money and materials spent on the project would be successfully invested and worthwhile. Essentially, the retailer could move forward in the campaign with potentially little backlash on budget. But, if they moved forward as such, the potential for endangering the long-time brand name was relatively high.

  • Gap could listen to their dedicated patrons and consider halting the campaign altogether.

No doubt, this path would ensure customer satisfaction. But they would not only lose the work—and time, energy and money put into creating the campaign—but the unique opportunity to modernize the company. Their ability to create and dictate change would be temporarily lost.

So which way did they go?

Initially, Gap invited consumers to create and post new designs online. But eventually, they scrapped the design and reverted back to the original. In the end, Hansen admitted the project was not handled correctly.

There may be a time to evolve our logo, but if and when that time comes, we’ll handle it in a different way . . . the project was not the right one to offer up to “crowd sourcing.”

Hansen may have been correct in stating that the rebranding endeavor was a bust, but AccelaWork views the process as quite successful. Here’s why:

  • It provided Gap with an opportunity to understand its consumers more clearly.
  • It helped define new pathways and guidelines that Gap can utilize in future endeavors.
  • It produced an invaluable amount of feedback that will help generate new ideas.
  • It not only reinforced the quality and prestige of the company, but provided nationwide attention to its brand.
  • It allowed Gap to demonstrate the value and dedication it has to its consumers.

Certainly, there is always a glimpse of success in a failed endeavor. The lesson here is clear: make sure any critical process involves engaging your stakeholders! Gap should have spent less time on their logo and more time with their customers. If your company is interested in learning more about maximizing success through smarter, stakeholder-driven processes, contact our business process improvement consultants today.

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