I’ve always liked Gap (sorry, The Gap). They have decent, sensibly priced items. I think it suffers from an image problem though: young people think the fits are off; older people think it’s cheap and go to J Crew.
I disagree with that statement. The Gap isn’t something to “be better than”. They’ve done a GREAT job teaming up with designers (please, more of that). They do staples quite well. They just need to increase quality (or the perception of quality).
Young people are expecting more customer service these days. Take a look at Bonobos and Zappos. These are online retailers who offer free two-way shipping and high-quality service. More importantly, these are retailers who are changing the way that customers expect to be served:
There are some companies that will prescribe scripts for this situation or that situation. They’ll say, ‘A delayed package translates into a $10 store credit’ and that’s the standard credit. What we really say is, ‘You can do whatever you think you need to do to take care of the customer.’ If that means you don’t need to give them anything at all other than a nice apology, that’s great. If you think that you need to comp their entire order, that’s great too.
—John Rote, VP of Customer Experience at Bonobos
Try finding anything like that at your local Macy’s.
Anyway, back to The Gap
I think in order to keep up with this ecommerce threat, Gap is going to need to rethink their branding. So without further ado, here is my proposed logo for Gap:
Blue : Typical Gap Blue.
Orange: Orange I picked because it’s the color of the Golden Gate Bridge, and it works damn well with the blue.
Everybody says get back to your roots, but let’s do that. I want to take Gap back to San Francisco 1969, back when all they stocked were Levi’s and LPs. Back when everything was simple and straight-forward and you could see the Golden Gate Bridge from the store.
I think the word “staple” is probably the most important for clothing retailers right now. Coming out of the recession, consumers had to perform a very ruthless prioritization, which might result in less of a focus on cheap “fast fashion” and more on high-quality classics that may be expensive, but over time pay for themselves. It’s arguably why retailers like Uniqlo are growing so rapidly.
There’s such rich bridge imagery in Gap’s history that I think it would be silly not to incorporate it into their logo.
Bridging the Gap
The Gap originally referred to the Generation Gap, as it marketed toward a younger demographic. I propose returning to that, but introducing themselves as a way to bridge that Gap.
These examples will necessitate some consideration of corporate strategy and supply chain, but I don’t think branding is something that can’t be limited just to marketing, or else it falls flat; it’s something the entire company must embody. Be better, Gap, be better.