What happens when you “Re-brand” then really screw up?

I have watched the whole Gap fiasco with interest.

For those of you who don’t know, GAP quietly launched a new logo last week.  The onslaught of responses they received forced the company to bring its old logo back.   They took a “we were only joking” sort of approach.  But that isn’t the bad part, as I see it.

On the GAP fan page, the admins put out a request for people to submit a logo they felt was representative of the company.  That’s when the shit hit the fan.  Although some people did reply with design ideas, the majority of the comments reflected extreme offense at a major brand trying to get a cheap logo designed by its fan base.

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The GAP logo.

Image via Wikipedia

The response forced GAP to pull back again, with this response.  Basically saying “Thanks for your passion, we’re keeping our logo.”  Ignoring the fact that they pissed off every graphic designer on the planet.

This whole story came at an interesting time for me.  I had just returned from a Rotary conference where the discussion on changing the Rotary wheel logo came up.  The Rotary wheel has been an icon for its members, the question is, does it mean anything to anyone else?   Rotary has managed to dilute its brand by having a dozen or so different logos for its programs, annual themes which force people to forget the “Service Above Self” tag line and other various marketing snafus.   As with most organizations, Rotary is trying to “spruce up” its image to stand out and capture the attention of the (busy) community service-minded people.   I am not sure revamping the logo is the right answer, but they do need an image overhaul… much like that GAP needs to focus on the styles it is offering its customers.

Is it about brand? Image?  Product?  Value?

Are companies even asking the right questions?


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