The GAP in the PR vs. Sales Game: The Buyers decide

Will the GAP logo, old or new, make you buy their clothes? NO. That’s what came out in the comments on Spin Sucks post about the GAP crowdsourcing their logo.

A logo–new or old, loved or hated–probably won’t move the sales needle all by itself. It’s about what the logo represents, the brand and its products and services. BTW The people–buyers, bloggers and other snarkers–have spoken. The GAP has gone back to the old logo.

Social media and marketing case studies, dime a dozen.

But I wonder how many people bought a Ford just because of talking with Scott Monty or reading a blog promoting the virtues of the Focus or Fiesta. I’m sure they’re out there, just asking.

There’s a disconnect between PR and Publicity as related to Marketing and Sales. Solution: bring PR into the board room, not as afterthought and have a plan for the publicity and how to turn it back into the marketing program for leads and sales.

Brand loyalty is one thing, personal tastes and preferences another.

I could develop a great relationship with a Dell blogger and Best Buy tweeter. I could read all the blogs, stories and articles about how Microsoft and the Gates Foundation is helping folks around the world. I can hear all the news about how Pepsi may spend $20 million on community service and Yay! for them but the fact remains:

  • You can lead me to water, but you cannot make me buy a PC; I’m sticking with my Mac, even if Apple makes a hideous new logo.
  • If it’s Pepsi on the menu, I order tea or water. I’m a Coke Classic drinker.. unless they try some crappy new formula again.

It comes down to social media marketing strategy.

Are increased sales the ultimate objective? Is it brand worth and value, higher stock prices? Are you rearranging deck chairs with a shiny new logo, but not fixing the product or services? Are you targeting the right people with your viral campaign and increased brand chatter?

The GAP doesn’t make clothes my size, so they didn’t win or lose my business with their recent changes. But the GAP did get me talking about them, and that’s something right?


Author: Davina K. Brewer

Professional business communications: integrated public relations, truly social media, smart design. Silos are bad, PR is more than just publicity and I'm typing here.

6 thoughts on “The GAP in the PR vs. Sales Game: The Buyers decide”

  1. Yup. Company forgot that logo does not equal brand. Even said so much: “there’s so much passion behind our brand,” or something like that, in their craptastic statement, issued when they sh–canned the logo.

    (Which I argue they shouldn’t have done.)

    Rather, pour all of their efforts into product development – like their 1969 jeans, which maybe are good and maybe are not. Good logo, bad logo, old logo, new logo. Whatever. Give me a product that I believe in.
    Dave Van de Walle recently posted..Underground Strategies for Selling Your House Without a Broker

    1. Dave, This! See also, my reply to Shonali. The logo isn’t the brand, it represents it, per how it’s used. Thinking now of my dad who always jokes when he sees a branded label on clothes, like a jeans tag or little horse dude playing Polo.. “let me get a marker and fix that for you.”

      Seeing GAP on a sweatshirt may have been “cool” at one point, but if the shirt is low quality, high priced vs. some other brand, they got bigger problems. Like you said, they needed to put their efforts elsewhere. Thanks for sharing your comment!

  2. Bravo for saying one of the smartest things I’ve heard about this entire “debacle,” Davina!

    I didn’t post on this whole thing because I was, frankly, a little tired of it. And also amazed/aghast at how many PR pros decided, right out of the bat, that it was a “publicity stunt,” Shel Holtz being a notable exception (but that’s what sets him apart from the rest of us).

    I really don’t care about Gap’s logo. My husband is a former employee, so at the time we got great discounts. We bought a ton of Gap clothes, not just because of the discount, but because we really liked the clothes.

    Over time, we stopped. Not just because the discount went away when he changed positions, but because their clothes, in our opinions, really began to suck. Now we shop at Express instead… and an experience I had with Express about a year ago, when I had an issue with the way I was treated in one of their stores, which their SM reps helped resolve, made me even more of a fan… because I felt valued.

    Would I buy Gap again? Sure, if I thought their clothes were good, and the store experience was good, and if I felt I was valued. The logo isn’t going to impact that.

    Other than the sales objectives, the relational objectives are what PR and SM can help with, but they have to be measured differently. And you’re spot on in that we have to find a way of connecting all the dots or else, really, what’s the point?
    Shonali Burke recently posted..Blogging for Grasshoppers- The Most Numerous Steps To Do The Greatest Thing Ever

    1. Shonali, Thanks for that. I liked Gini’s post praising the logo and story behind creating it, yet I was also a little bemused by the backlash by all the self-appointed critics. Still all comes back to product: It wouldn’t matter how much I liked or didn’t like Apple’s logo: as long as I continue to like their stuff – boy do I 😉 – I’ll keep giving them my money.

      If you have a bad or out of date or unremarkable logo, by all means change it. If your products and services are excellent but unknown or misunderstood, then a rebranding PR blitz can help. Flashing back to my post on the @OldSpice campaign.

      But I don’t think any of those applied in this case. It’s lipstick on a pig, rearranging deck chairs on the sinking ship. Fix the products, improve the services, rethinking pricing strategy; do this first before you try to “fix” a brand. JMHO.

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