As I’m writing this sentence, 729,349 people like Gap on Facebook. That’s a sizeable number of fans for any product, so it’s no surprise to find that Gap turned to their Facebook wall to announce their decision to go back to their original logo. Here is what Marka Hansen, President of Gap North America, said on Facebook:
Ok. We’ve heard loud and clear that you don’t like the new logo. We’ve learned a lot from the feedback. We only want what’s best for the brand and our customers. So instead of crowd sourcing, we’re bringing back the Blue Box tonight. http://bit.ly/9xvtvJ
The link takes you to the full press release on Gap.com, but even when you read that, it’s clear that Gap is not addressing the press or investors with this press release. Rather, Gap’s press release is talking directly to the customer – to the online community of Facebook and Twitter – that immediately started to protest, complain and even spoof the logo as soon as the redesign was leaked.
Still, despite the quick, loud (in cyber terms) and direct response Gap received, it was still surprising this afternoon to hear Kai Rysdall mention the Gap’s move on Marketplace and suggest that very few people might even have noticed:
These final notes today. Gap has dumped it’s new logo. In other news, did anybody out there know Gap had a new logo? Apparently, the clothing chain swapped it out for a new one, online, a week ago without telling anybody.
As happens in this Internet age, though, somebody saw it, customers complained, the company caved… You know how it goes. Can’t say as I blame ‘em. That new one was uuuuuuuuugly.
Perhaps Rysdall/Marketplace continues to favor traditional marketing and press releases in order to assess the impact of a marketing or branding campaign.
What we can take away from Gap’s logo gaffe is that connecting with the online community is far more important than even the largest companies in the world seem to recognize. A decade into this new century we can safely say that marketing isn’t just about the message companies deliver, but also about the interaction of the company – and of the message – with their community. It’s a funny word to use with a business, but that’s what we have now, isn’t it? Online communities of followers, fans, friends, people who like, link and retweet?
Ignoring the value of that collective voice, however irrational it might seem at times, can cost a company its own closely guarded image – and also cost a company the chance to connect with their community and allow that community to feel important – to feel like they are part of the product they support with every purchase and with ever click of a Like button on a web page.
Just in case you missed the logo debate, here are the failed, new and the beloved, old logos: