MR Lessons Learned From Gap’s Logo Misfire

Last week Gap unveiled a new logo on its Web properties, including its Facebook page. This move immediately unleashed a fury of traffic and comments on Facebook, Twitter, and design blogs, with sentiment ranging from “hideous” to “who cares?” In reaction to the momentum behind the negative comments, it didn’t take long for Gap to backpedal, first by trying to hold a competition to crowdsource a new logo. This drew even more ire from the design community, and — as my colleague Doug Williams writes — was exactly the wrong way to go about a crowdsourcing project. So, at the end of the day, Gap scrapped it all and restored its old logo to its Facebook page, its eCommerce site, etc.

This is a fascinating story on so many levels, and overall it demonstrates some serious misjudgment of how the logo and Gap’s strategy for rolling it out would be received by the company’s followers and the social media world in general. As a market researcher, I’d be interested to understand what research the company did before the launch on October sixth. I have two assumptions here:

  • Gap didn’t do much customer research to inform its decision, and it wasn’t very confident in any research it did carry out. Did the company take the time to build a keen understanding of the particular kind of Gap customer it was targeting with this rebranding?
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(Re)Entering the Fray

This summer, with a new baby in the family, I didn’t have a lot of personal time on my hands and found myself looking for new ways to connect with my friends when I couldn’t get out for some one-on-one time or even have a meaningful phone call! This meant updating my family blog and following others a little more regularly, getting on Facebook to message or chat with people, and basically maintaining my own grown-up sanity in ways I wouldn’t have been able to had it not been for social technology. And as an analyst serving market research professionals, it maintained my excitement for the role that social technology can play in this space.

Well, now my summer vacation is over, and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with those of you who follow this blog and our coverage on social market research. It’s going to be an exciting march to the end of the year and the beginning of 2011. In just the past week, I’ve seen a variety of new developments that fall right into this coverage:

  • Passenger got a new round of funding and a new CEO. The company continues to be well regarded for its understanding of how to communicate the voice of the brand in a market research online community (MROC), and I’m looking forward to learning about how it will use this infusion of funding in 2011. No doubt part of it will be used toward the channel strategy it announced in the spring.
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Maritz Research Acquires evolve24

I promise that at some point I'll use this blog to write about more than M&A in the social media technology space. But the constantly shifting vendor landscape keeps me too busy to get to other pressing topics.

Today, Maritz Reserch announced its acquisition of evolve24. Through this move, Martiz adds strong social media analysis capabilities to its broader customer experience and market research offerings. The two have a long-standing partnership and know how to work well together and combine forces. The terms of the acquisition suggest that evolve24 will stay strongly intact as an offering within the Maritz umbrella.

I reviewed evolve24 as part of my recent Forrester Wave™ evaluation of listening platforms and cited the vendor as offering strong data analysis capabilities — something that surely stood out for Maritz. To rely on social media as a data source, Maritz must have an exepctionally clean stream — a critical focus for evolve24. Firms aiming to understand their customers' experiences require a broad data set, but without quality, breadth is worthless.

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