The Social Marketing GAP

Mind the Gap warning on a subway platformI’m guilty; I’ve been making fun on The Gap and their new logo.  It is an ugly, half-assed, badly designed misstep from a brand that hadn’t made a logo change in over 20 years.  In our little world of Social Media, we are having a field day and The Gap is taking a heck of a licking for their latest new design.  As if that were not enough, now I’m taking things one step further and making fun of their mind-numbingly poor decision to leave the design up to the crowd and invite people to suggest better logos via Facebook.  I cannot help but mock their “Fine if you think we screwed up that badly, you do better” mentality.   They are really going to regret ever posting the follow up to what was already a fairly massive branding gaff.

That said, I am done talking about it and I think you should be too.  Here’s why:

We’re Not Helping

We aren’t convincing The Gap that we know better and that they should let us consult for them.  We are making them think that Social Media is a depraved hellhole that no brand should go near.  I work on the brand side of things and am trying to turn around the Titanic by evangelizing a radically new way of communicating within the walls of our 64-year-old company. When I put my personal passion for the Social aside, I really do worry that I may one day inadvertently throw our company to the wolves with a single misstep.

We’re Not Inviting

We tell brands to take a chance, to try something different, to accept this shift in communication.  Then we tend to circle above their heads, expect the world and attack the instant they slip up (I mean we need content for our blogs!).  If we want brands to be more open and to live in public, we are going to have to be a little more patient with the mistakes they’ll make along the way.  Social Media may not be a fad, but the way we act when there’s blood in the water makes brands wish it were.

We’re Not Encouraging

If we spent 1/100th of the time championing the brands that try, take chances and win you over with little details rather than harping on failures, it would encourage brands to do so much more.  Rather than feeling forced to participate, it would actually make them want to do it in the first place.  Many of us former geeks (ok, we’re still geeks) in the Social Media world have new found power and we are abusing it.  Sure, we can actually beat up the playground bully now, but why not just be his friend… it’s what we wanted, wasn’t it

Sadly, this will probably not stop.  This will become a meme, with people adding a little square box to the corner of random words.  This will be discussed to death on podcasts, with people questioning who is going to commit hari-kari over this.  This will become a case study to be shown at future trade shows as a ONLINE DISASTER akin to Motrin Moms, Dell Hell, Nestles (man people must have been heartbroken that nothing sounded good with Nestles) and Delta Skelter.  Bottom line: we are going to be hearing about this for a while.

I’m sure you’ve made a stupid tweet, a stupid decision online or said something you wish you could take back.  I know I have; heck, I may be doing that with this post.  I’m just saying that every once in a while, maybe we should cut a multi-million dollar conglomerate the same break we’d want them to give us.  It just might make them want to take Social Media and those of us working in it more seriously.

By the way, is it just me or is the new My Space logo stupid?  God… we really can’t help ourselves, can we?

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