Branding without getting burnt.
Simon Manchipp

Simon Manchipp,

Either the logo is dead, per your post from November 30, 2015, or the executives from The Gap need to heed their own advice and fall into the gap of this vast mosh pit known as social media; where, in an act of marketing penance for having released an unpopular logo, consumers can push, pull, toss and assault this corporate effigy, until — having decapitated the body, and spilt the innards of this business scarecrow on the floor of this virtual retail environment — the message is clear: Branding does not happen exclusively within a boardroom, in which a CEO or CMO issues diktats like the concealed wizard of this artificial Oz, with its distractions of smoke, fire, sound effects, fearsome guards and mythological powers; because there is no curtain long enough, and there is no separation from the masses strong enough, to shield a company from its own bad decisions.

Branding is, thus, the summa of successful marketing and communications.

Or, as I am wont to say: There are many businesses, but few brands; because, while the brands themselves may change over time, there will always be a finite number — an elite few — worthy of membership within this fraternity of the disciplined, the inflexible (with regard to maintaining the excellence of their respective products and services), the patient and the communicative.

The gaps within The Gap’s marketing tactics are visible by the absence of a conversation with friends, supporters and consumers.

Take, for instance, this Facebook post from December 7, 2015.

There are complaints about the price of the sweater, including this statement:

$70 for a sweater? Going to unlike this site for sure!

And yet, of the 307 comments relating to that post, among the negative replies to this photograph and caption, there is not a single response by The Gap — in defense of or as an answer to — the recurring criticisms about the cost, limited size selection and suitability (because of the unseasonably warm temperatures in the Northeast) of this sweater and the accompanying jeans and shoes (which one Facebook member deems “atrocious”).

When a brand abdicates its duty to moderate a dialogue among its customers, and when it publishes a six-word sentence, followed by a command to Get this sweater, it expresses its complacency (for writing) and its contempt (toward consumers).

Forget the gaps in The Gap’s logo because there is an enormous chasm between this business and the remnants of this brand.

The Gap is, instead, The Void — dark, bottomless, frightening (to shareholders), and fraught with the errors of arrogance and indifference.