Thursday, October 14, 2010

What GAP Should Have Done

Google search volume for "GAP" and "Gap Logo" has more than tripled in the last week, reaching the highest number of searches for "GAP" in the last five years.  This is exactly the level attention the brand needs to get back in the retail game; however, the biggest mistake of GAP's rebranding is not the new logo (which has since been taken down) but the mistake of driving visitors to a cluttered e-commercy website.
When all eyeballs are on your brand, you better have something impressive to show them.  And, when the millions of unique visitors typed into their browser to check whether the new logo rumors were true, I am sure once visitors landed on the page and saw the new logo (maybe even cringed for a second) they instantly left the site.  Average time spent on page = 10 seconds, jeans sold = 0. 

This was GAP's chance to change perceptions about the aging brand and instead, they sadly confirmed that GAP has lost some its glimer and is just another sales-focused American blue jeans brand through multiple offers and % signs cluttering the site (there must be some aesthetic rule to how many 25%, 20%, 30% offers you can have on a page... five is a bit much don't you think?).  The site leaves little room for the consumer to admire the product.

Some people may ask, "how could GAP have created a new consumer site quick enough to respond to the increased interest?"  Well, my answer is GAP could have looked at all its online assets--pages within, Facebook page, etc.--and chose a page that accurately reflected the direction the brand wanted to go in, such as the Explore Gap 1969 page, which surprisingly is very forward-thinking, aggregating content about denim from across the web into an engaging grid-like map.
This page is exactly what GAP needs to focus on--bringing back the notion that GAP is about quality jeans not just sales.  The GAP rebranding conversation could potentially continue past this week if visitors were driven to this page.  Plus, if the new logo was on this page, you may even be distracted away from its ugliness because there is just so much pretty content to explore (no, please stick to the old logo).

I am interested in seeing where the GAP branding team will go with this.  I was once a fan of GAP in high school and sort of been unimpressed since.  I'm definitely rooting for a big comeback in Q4--some strong holiday TV, interactive out of home in major cities, possibly using the old logo as a focal point of the creative (since by now you should know that people are emotionally attached to it).

Graph below shows how search volume for GAP has skyrocketed the past week:
Laird + Partners, if you need some help, don't hesitate to reach out :)

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