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Learning from the Gap Logo Redesign Misfortune (Fail)

The GAP Brand

Established in 1969, the company is a well-known and established specialty retailer that offers a variety of clothing and accessories for men, women, and children. It is known for its broad appeal.

In 2010, the iconic logo of Gap was redesigned, but it backfired spectacularly. This article aims to shed light on the strange backfiring and how it affected the brand.

Old GAP Logo

The logo for Gap, which became part of the American clothing company in 1990, is a simple dark blue square.

A brand change is a process that occurs when a company changes its strategy or name. This usually involves implementing a visual rebranding that signals a new direction for the organization.

In 2010, the drastic revamping of the logo for Adobe was met with a shock by both consumers and professional communities.

The New Logo

The old Gap logo disappeared on October 6, 2010. It was replaced by a new logo that featured a more modern version of the brand's name and a smaller dark blue box.

The new logo for the New York based fashion company was created by Laird and Partners, who are known for their impeccable reputation in the field of branding.

Bill Chandler, the executive vice president of communications for Gap, said that the company believes that the new logo is more modern and contemporary.

The company noted that the new logo represented the company's transition from being a classic American brand to a modern one.

The company's modernization plan has been criticized as a panic to do something immediately to fix the declining sales, which has resulted in a drop in same-store sales.

A second theory was that the brand was experiencing brand fatigue, as it had been using the same logo for over 20 years.

How Long did the New Gap Logo Last?

After less than a week, the company has decided to revert back to its 1990 logo. The spokesperson for the company then apologized for the statement and stated that the brand had learned how much energy it has around it.

A Logo Redesign Failure

The return to the old logo is a failed rebranding strategy. It caught the consumers and professionals by surprise, as the new logo was immediately rejected by them. The new logo received almost immediate negative backlash from both consumers and professionals, who were taken aback by the change, which occurred without any prior build-up.

Immediate Consumer Backlash

The new logo was criticized for its simplicity and lack of appeal. Most consumers found it offensive for the brand and did not approve of the brand’s new look.

Within just 24 hours, one online blog had generated 2,000 negative comments, a protesting Twitter account (@GapLogo) gathered 5,000 followers, and a “Make your own Gap logo” site went viral, collating almost 14,000 parody logo redesigns.

It is clear that many people were upset when Gap changed their logo. It was a sudden change, and many people were confused and/or felt cheated about it.

So why did consumers feel so strongly about the new Gap logo?


Understanding the Backlash

Brand Recognition

A logo is very important to a brand. It should always be the first thing that people think of when they hear a brand name.

Changing the logo at the drop of a hat can confuse and dilute the brand awareness that has been built. Will customers know that you’re the same brand they’ve always known and loved?

Emotional Connections

Most companies underestimate the emotional impact of their products on consumers. Brand bonds are formed by the power of a reputation and recognizable name.

The logo is a visual indicator of a brand's trustworthiness, and it acts as a connection point between the consumer and the brand.

Consumers know what they are getting behind the logo. The same logic applies between humans – familiar and recognizable faces provide us with a greater sense of safety and trust.

What Can Brands Learn from Gap’s Mistakes?

1. Your Customers Care More Than You Think

As much as we all try not to judge a book by its cover – we all do. The same goes for brands.

Changing your logo can damage a brand's credibility, as it can make people question how they're perceived.

Remember that consumers do not tire of logos quickly. They are more likely to care about them if they are already aware of their importance.

This is why it is important to inform your customers first when changing their logo because they might care more than you think.

2. Your Logo Represents Who You Are

Changing your visual identity can change how consumers see you. A logo is the easiest way to tell who you are since it's the first thing they see when they contact you.

Making significant visual changes can help you break free from the constraints of the previous brand associations. It can help you develop a new identity that's more personal and authentic.

Instead of focusing on the overall essence of their logo, make small changes that will enable consumers to still recognize them in the same way.

3. Make Your Rebranding Strategy Make Sense

The brand had already suffered from a decline in sales, but the new logo was still perceived as a way to boost brand loyalty. And the logo redesign seemed a little random.

A logo refresh is not a bad thing, but it should reflect a change in strategy or a change in brand direction.

If your new logo isn't solving a specific problem, leave it alone. The consequences can be both negative and positive.

4. Do Not Underestimate Social Media

Online word of mouth is very important for a brand. It needs to be monitored and analyzed to avoid getting bogged down by negative reactions.

Negative brand associations can quickly develop and, in turn, can have negative repercussions on your brand equity.

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