The GAP Gets It: Clothier Listens, Learns, Profits

Posted: October 14, 2010 in Consumer Power, Convergence, Innovation

The Gap Logos: Old (above) and New (briefly)

San Francisco-based Gap Inc has always been a pretty progressive place, but based on two entirely different announcements over the past two days they have become the poster child for companies trying to adapt to the new digital way of doing business.

Yesterday, the company announced that only a week after it rolled out a new Logo, with much fanfare, it was reversing course and bringing back the iconic white-on-blue traditional logo it had used for many years.

It’s a testimony to power of social media that the change happened so quickly. Facebook and Twitter users led a virtual assault on the company. Besides the usual outpouring of negative comments, users protested creatively. A number of joke websites went up, including one called “Crap Yourself Logo” which allowed users to create their own logo in the style of the new logo.

According to Marka Hansen, president of Gap Brand North America, “We’ve learned just how much energy there is around our brand.”

At Gap brand, our customers have always come first,” she added. “We’ve been listening to and watching all the comments of this past week. We hear 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.”

Beyond that, Hansen acknowledged that this was a lesson to the company. “We’ve learned a lot in this process. And we are clear that we did not go about this in the right way. We recognize that we missed the opportunity to engage with the online community. This wasn’t the right project at the right time for crowd sourcing.”

Joke Website Critical of New Logo

When they look at changing the logo again, perhaps sometime in the future, “if and when that time comes, we’ll handle it in a different way.”

Companies that think this way will ultimately benefit from their stronger relationship with their customers. Further news from the company today is proof of that. Issuing a new strategic plan, the company said it expects to double online sales to $2 billion by 2015. Online and International expansion will fuel most of the company’s growth.

“We’re making the investments to shift the balance of revenue over time to come increasingly from our online and international businesses,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO of Gap, Inc. He and other Gap executives told investors today that by 2013, international and online sales will be more than a quarter of the company’s total sales.
They plan to launch online in China and Italy this year and Japan next year.

The Gap’s growth isn’t just about online and digital, they also understand the need to meet their customers wherever they want to shop. The company is building out several sales channels, including outlets, franchises and other partnerships.

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