Gap and the ‘not invented here’ syndrome

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Seen the new Gap logo? Like it? Neither do I.

Image Source: Brand New

Gap has always been associated with that boxed logo, that elegant typeface – it was classy, iconic in a way. Yes, there will be people who hate the old logo too. As with most ‘heritage’ brands, change is always met with resistance. But the new logo has been disliked mostly and the negative buzz is simply overwhelming on the internet. I guess the new logo evokes a feeling of ‘commonplace’ and not surprisingly, you can even Gap Yourself now.

The company has been forced to react and not just wait for the negative feedback to die (remember how people mocked the name iPad during launch?). Gap now says they are planning to crowd source a new, ‘new’ logo. Groan. Some are calling the whole thing a PR stunt – put out a bad logo, get buzz for the brand and then crowdsource a new logo. The company has denied this.

Amidst the controversy, is an open letter from Marka Hansen, the President of Gap on the new logo, over at Huffington Post. The fact that she has been President of Gap for the last 3 years made me wonder if this whole ‘lets re-look at the brand’ is to do with new teams coming on board to work on a brand. Ms. Hansen has had a long stint at Gap but left in 2003 to join Banana Republic – so it will not be right on my part to suggest there is a ‘not invented here’ syndrome in play. But that’s very often true when new members join the brand marketing team. In an effort to create something new and be known for it, everything from brand positioning, logo and communication plank is re-looked at often changed. If what exists is detrimental to the brand now or could be in the future, it may warrant a change. Very often it is the ‘not invented here’ syndrome at play.

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