Gap’s Logo Change Adding Brand Damage (GPS)

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Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) has a brand crisis in the works.  Yesterday it was no winner in the move for same store sales in September at a time when many retail chains blew past expectations.  Same store sales of -2% were worse than expected as Banana Republic came in flat versus expectations of about 6% and as Old Navy saw a 5% drop.  Gap has a different problem on its hands… It seems that its new logo has gone over about as well as a nasty divorce.  Changing a brand logo comes with risks, and Gap’s misstep here was that it just was tossed out like a beach ball at graduation and there was no notice that it was happening.

The apparel retailer redesigned its logo and just posted it on its website. It did not take long at all for the criticism to mount from design firms, publications, and of course from independent bloggers.  The good news is that Gap’s management has already addressed the issue.

Gap noted Wednesday on its Facebook page: “Gap  Thanks for everyone’s input on the new logo! We’ve had the same logo for 20+ years, and this is just one of the things we’re changing. We know this logo created a lot of buzz and we’re thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding! So much so we’re asking you to share your designs. We love our version, but we’d like to… see other ideas. Stay tuned for details in the next few days on this crowd sourcing project.”  In short, Gap is going to try to turn a misstep into a win.

Gap also noted on Thursday evening on Facebook: “Gap  Thanks for everyone’s input on the new logo! We’ve had the same logo for 20+ years, and this is just one of the things we’re changing. We know this logo created a lot of buzz and we’re thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding! So much so we’re asking you to share your designs. We love our version, but we’d like to… see other ideas. Stay tuned for details in the next few days on this crowd sourcing project.”

Brand logos are supposed to be the pride of a company.  Changing them has risks, but it also brings opportunity.  The old logo has been there for quite some time.  At issue is whether it matters.  Gap has been trying to turn its ship around and get back to the days of growth with new management and with more focused stores.

After looking at the new logo versus the old logo, there may be more noise than news here.  The old logo is not what brought buyers into the stores nor is it what drove buyers away from the stores.  The same can be said about the new logo.

JON C. OGG

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