Archive for 2010

Gap, have you heard of crowdsourcing?

Well, well, well it seems that the ‘power of the people’ has had an overwhelming effect on Gap. The might brand of Gap has executed a speedy ‘U-turn’ of which even the DVLA would be proud!

Why so? It appears that customers always come first, Mark Hansen the president of Gap Brand North America says so, so it must be true.

It appears that customers called for a return to the blue box logo in such numbers on Facebook that Gap had no option but to listen to them. Mark Hansen said;

“We’ve been listening to and watching all of the comments this past week. We heard them say over and over again they are passionate about our blue box logo, and they want it back. So we’ve made the decision to do just that – we will bring it back across all channels.”

Now we don’t want to blow our trumpet however, we’ve been talking about crowdsourcing for a while now and we were quoted in Michelle Rodger’s column in the Scotland on Sunday on 11.07.10. This is what we had to say on the subject:

Claire Dunning says crowdsourcing is a cost effective, realistic and more or less instant way to get to the needs, thoughts and views of your target audience, and it also provides a platform to interact and have a dialogue. It works because of the proliferation of social media.

Founder of Dunning-Creating Sparks and former president of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, she has used crowdsourcing for lobbying – via LinkedIn – and building a fanbase on Facebook.

How powerful a tool is this now and for the future? Dunning says you can’t put a price on it. “Now there is no need – and this is the real appeal for SMEs – to engage in market research, just get in touch through LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook and have real time, two-way conversations with the people that matter.”

The Gap president also admitted that they “did not go about this in the right way” and “missed the opportunity to engage with the online community”.

“There may be a time to evolve our logo, but if and when that time comes, we’ll handle it in a different way,” he said.

Hey Mark, a word to the wise – Try Crowdsourcing!

Claire Dunning says crowdsourcing is a cost effective, realistic and more or less inst

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ant way to get to the needs, thoughts and views of your target audience, and it also provides a platform to interact and have a dialogue. It works because of the proliferation of social media.

Founder of Dunning Design and former president of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, he has used crowdsourcing for lobbying – via LinkedIn – and building a fanbase on Facebook.

How powerful a tool is this now and for the future? Dunning says you can’t put a price on it. “Now there is no need – and this is the real appeal for SMEs – to engage in market research, just get in touch through LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook and have real time, two-way conversations with the people that matter.”

Mind The GAP – do the logo-motion

GAP, the American clothing and accessories retailer based in California, and founded in 1969 by Donald G. Fisher and Doris F. Fisher, they’ve rebranded. Big wow you might think but if you look at the fact that in September 2008, ‘Gap Inc.’ had approximately 150,000 employees and 3,465 stores worldwide, you can see it’s a fairly big deal. In 2008 GAP was, as the Americans would say, ‘the world’s largest apparel retailer’. Along with being the biggest, they were also the best. Cool, mould-breaking, multi-award-winning advertising and brand building, understated casual gear that the World grew to love. You had to love GAP.

Which one do you like?

Which one do you like?

Obviously, since 2008, a good deal of water has flowed under the ‘apparel retailing’ bridge! Global recession had a huge effect and copy-cat and sometimes superior competition (in the form of H&M, American Apparel and countless others) made it very tough out on the High Streets and Malls. As well as this, a ‘sweatshop’ Internet hate campaign which alluded to the fact that this squeaky-clean, all-American Brand wasn’t quite so squeaky clean was taking place. The suggestions that GAP didn’t just clothe young foreign kids, it also employed them, wouldn’t go away and GAP became one of the first ‘Corporations’ to suffer a really strongly-negative internet campaign. Not so much a whispering campaign, more of a highly damaging, internet shouting campaign. So much so, they became the scary, ‘case study’ that no Company wanted to emulate.

Impressive trading figures became not-so-impressive trading figures and the byword for cool became the byword for ‘sweatshop’ gear. This meant the Golden Boy of US retailing began to suffer. What would they do to stop the rot?

Although The Fisher family remained deeply involved in the business and still own a significant portion of the company (Donald Fisher served on the board until his death in 2009) it’s probably no surprise that change had to happen. Lots of ‘new brooms’ have started (and left) at GAP and someone, somewhere within the organisation brought up the topic of ‘rebrand’. There are quite a few Global firms that have an iconic mark with just three letters and the three-letter Internet domain is King, so it might seem strange that GAP have felt the need to change the iconic square logo after 40 years, but that’s what they’ve just done.

The results of this can be seen here. Like every new look, it’s evoked ‘discussion‘ and there are some people (mainly us!) who think it’s taken a few pointers from arch-competitors American Apparel. Of course, like every rebrand, it’s a lot more than simply a ‘logo’ they’ve bought into. There will be a root and branch re-think into EVERYTHING they’re doing but as we know, when a new brand is created, everyone (including the media and all their competitors) simply and unfairly focus on the logo and just what a waste of bloody money it’s been.

It’s a funny old game the Branding game, as is the Retail game, so, it’ll be interesting to see how things pan-out.

Being Victor. Joined up ain’t nothing without content.

We’re not film-makers (although we have been accused of being rather camp) so perhaps the Filmcamp10 event which took place in Glasgow recently was a strange event for us to want to attend.

However, it only took until the first speaker got started to make us realise, there’s no real boundaries for any kind of communication any more. As we’re doing more and more of it, we were there to learn more about the craft of ‘the moving image’ and that was the crux of the whole event. What exactly is ‘film’ these days?

When Kat Hebden from Shed got up to tell us all about Being Victor their latest drama, which is being filmed in Glasgow, we think she’s changed things, quite a lot. Shed’s stock-in-trade is telly fodder and they’ve had huge success with the likes of ‘Who do you think you are’ and ‘Supernanny’ so ‘airwaves-wise’, they really know their stuff. However, it’s clear that this ‘divergence’ Being Victor project, which appears on STV, MTV, Facebook, Twitter and on numerous other ‘Internet’ platforms, was really quite different. It’s maybe the first time (certainly in Scotland) that we’ve every heard anyone talk of a really media-neutral, totally collaborative project. It struck us that we might be witnessing a wee bit of ‘I was there when that happened’ media history. A bit like when we witnessed the Jean-Marc Bosman ruling, which changed football forever.

So what’s going to be the acid test for this and other similar projects that will be ‘in the pipeline’ all over the world? More importantly, will this multi-platform, joined-up, collaborative approach make money? Well, as Shed boldly claim on their website, ‘We Know Content’ and in effect, that’s what it all comes down to. If Being Victor is well-written, pithy, controversial and really making use of the many and various platforms, then it’s going to succeed. If you’ve got good (or, better still, great) content, it will work. Avatar was amazing in 3D but it was still brilliant in traditional form. That’s because it was a good ‘content’ package. Audiences want good stuff, no matter what platform they happen to be consuming it on.