Our generation probably considers themselves to be pretty forward thinking, ahead of the times. We happily communicate via social networks, we’ll buy the latest iPhone and we’re pretty much always excited to try new things. It’s funny then that when it just comes to other things we will not budge. Yes I’m talking about the Gap logo.
Last week Gap unveiled a new logo to replace the one that has happily been there for twenty years. The latest one was meant to be a “more contemporary and current” design. Bad move.
Within hours the social networks were going crazy. There were thousands of tweets, Facebook status updates. Six days later, the new logo was pulled and replaced by the one we know and apparently, not until now, knew we loved.
A statement was released on the company’s Facebook page saying:
“Ok. We’ve heard loud and clear that you don’t like the new logo. We’ve learned a lot from the feedback.We only want what’s best for the brand and our customers. So instead of crowdsourcing, we’re bringing back the Blue Box tonight.”
It’s an interesting situation and one that certainly shows the power of social media. Twitter and Facebook really are the best kind of focus group you can get. As a company it proves to be is the most effective way to find out about your customer.
Gap realised that they should have listened to their customers in the first place. Marka Hansen, the President of Gap North America admitted yesterday: “We did not go about this in the right way.”
What they should have done is ask the customer first of all. It is so quick and easy to gage a reaction via social networks. It is also very cheap, so really there is no excuse to find out what they want and what they like.
In an interview with the Independent Tom Blackett, the chairman of branding group Siegel+Gale UK, said: “This showed they did no research at all before releasing the new logo. The users of these sites are exactly Gap’s target audience.”
He added: “Gap does need to change things, but what possessed it to swap a design classic for something so bland? People would have liked it, if the logo was creative or dramatically different.”
What is interesting is that Gap does recognise that they need change but perhaps instead of doing something really drastic they chose to do a little PR stunt. To be fair this certainly got them a hell of a lot of publicity. How often in the last year have you found yourself talking about Gap on Twitter and Facebook? Didn’t think so. No one has really been hurt in this exercise, Gap has received a lot of publicity but has also realised that there are a surprising amount of people out there who do actually care about them.
Most of all they have learnt, as have all companies who’ve been taking note, that listening to feedback is paramount. Social networks allow customers to feel they have a say in things they like and dislike. If they notice changes being made as a result of them, then they are more likely to be loyal to you in the future.
Learning about your customer via feedback really is invaluable. It means that in the future you are able to make more informed decisions about what they want and what they require. Any company who believes they use social media just as a show, are wrong, it is helpful for developing the brand, increasing customers and providing more positive feedback. What’s more is that you know the feedback is relevant to you. These people are not just those from a random survey but those who feel passionately about a topic and who, thanks to social media, can express themselves quickly and freely and get what they want.
Remember the customer is always right! So listen to them! Although Gap has come out of this relatively unscathed, we could have had another Tropicana situation on our hands and that would have been even less pretty then the new Gap logo.