No longer do just companies battle each other in the marketplace.

Today, brands do combat, and many clients faced with this changed landscape aren’t sure how to brand their goods and services to win. Clients want to achieve the greatest return on their branding investments, while at the same time protecting these highly valuable corporate assets.

Sometimes they miss. By a mile:

Bad GAP logo design


“Established in 1969 in San Francisco, Gap is one of the most popular American clothing brands — net sales of $3.8 billion in 2009 can attest to it. With 1,140 stores in the U.S. and almost 300 more abroad, Gap pushes simple and unfuzzy clothing at very reasonable prices and of very reasonable quality. Through their advertising they have established a cool, breezy, and sophisticated brand visual language that ties everything together nicely and, until now, their logo was the perfect little bow to keep it all together. Without any fanfare, Gap rolled out a new logo yesterday.”

Gap made a huge mistake by not thinking about the impact changing a logo would have on its overall brand. Gap is a long-standing very traditional brand that many have come to love over time. Gap was/is timeless, much as Coke was/is. Messing with the “mix” without proper planning is just plain wrong. See New Coke as exibit A. Messing with a LOGO without thinking about the overall brand is … well just stupid. Frankly Gap has a brand problem. Has had one for a very long time.

GAP brand logo spoofChanging the logo is the act of a desperate marketing team that wanted something fast to help immediate sales. In doing so they’ve opened themselves up to ridicule and jokes all over the web. Perhaps they can turn this exercise into a win, much as New Coke ended up doing so for the overall brand.

The simple fact is many traditional ad agencies are not prepared to help clients in this branding struggle because agencies in general have spent years branding advertising, not branding companies. Branding advertising is the best way to achieve communications synergy for clients.

Branding a company is the best way to enhance corporate value for clients. Learning the difference between branding advertising and companies, and understanding how to work with clients at a strategic level to do a better job of branding is critical to the long term success of any marketing firm. Your goal should be to move from acting as communications vendors, where price is the deciding factor, to becoming a trusted brand advisor where value-added is the key consideration. Perhaps you should look into how best to do some brand consulting for your clients?