Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brilliant, spelled "i-d-i-o-t-i-c"

To: Whoever is in Charge at Gap
Date: A day after too late
Re: Your new logo

Please refer to page 41 in David D'Alessandro's book Brand Warfare: 10 Rules for Building the Killer Brand wherein he describes the pitfalls of brand boredom. Note the fate of the senior executive at John Hancock who insisted they "drop the famous John Hancock signature from our logo and replace it with personality-free block letters. Never mind that we'd been using the signature since 1862, and it was one of Americas oldest logos and spoke volumes about our trust-worthiness and stability. Never mind that we had a trademark recognized by anyone who'd ever sat through a fifth-grade history class, and by removing it, he almost cost us our right to use it. He was apparently tired of it."

Hmmm... "personality-free block letters." Sort of like this inspired transformation?

I see that it has taken The Gap's new President, Marka Hansen, three years to fall prey to the "I'm new and important and I'm going to make my mark on this brand" syndrome - as evidenced by her post on HuffPo last week:

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.

We want our customers to take notice of Gap and see what it stands for today.

We chose this design as it’s more contemporary and current. It honors our heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward.

Please pay particular attention to the section where Ms. Hansen expresses surprise that Gap still connects with its customer base:

Now, given the passionate outpouring from customers... we've decided to engage in the dialogue, take their feedback on board and work together as we move ahead and evolve to the next phase of Gap.

From this online dialogue, it's clear that Gap still has a close connection to our customers, so tapping into this energy is right. We've posted a message on the Gap Facebook Page that says we plan to ask people to share their designs with us as well. We welcome the participation we've seen so far.

So, now that she sees that the Gap brand, as it stands, resonates ("still") with its customers, she plans to enlist that customer base to redesign the brand image? Evidently the lesson she took away from this is that the Gap's customer-base are branding and marketing experts. This was all just a test?

What part of that presumably expert consumer-base's message, "leave the logo alone," did she not understand?

If you're wondering about the fate of the John Hancock executive? He (and his inspired branding ideas) soon found themselves somewhere other than John Hancock. Food for thought, people at Gap. Food for thought.