Jesse de Agustin, Brand Strategist

Consumers are familiar with the Gap brand; and perhaps too familiar. I argue that brands must embrace consistent action while being aware that a redundant experience has potential to cause consumer apathy. There is a fine line – we want brands to be familiar to us – but not the type of familiarity that breeds contempt. Injecting energy into Gap’s “classic" appeal won’t be easy since Gap must hone in the target focus of a brand that is too spread out.

But consumer expectation of the Gap brand isn’t all that high – probably slightly above the middle. Bridging the existing components of the Gap brand for better experiences is premature and won’t accomplish much. Gap should step back and think broader in terms of how that brand complements their existing brand architecture along with some other considerations I introduce below.

  1. Gap’s one-day online/in-store promotion where customers “set their price” on a pair of khakis is short sighted and focused not only on product – but one specific category. The website lacks authenticity nor do I think will ignite long term engagement. 
  2. Gap announced that they will remodel their stores and this is a good step forward. Yet it is not only the atmosphere that is worthy of an update. The product along with target audience must fit into and evolve alongside store remodeling. Moreover, the in-store experience at Gap should have a distinct feel – one that is different than its other brands including Banana Republic.
  3. At, there is a toolbar with links to other brands within the Gap portfolio. In order for Gap to re-fresh and distinguish itself from competition, it must be clearly distinguished from its internal counterparts and overt links to Gap’s other brands should be removed.

Gap is not the only retailer faced with identity challenges. I also argue that Pacific Sunwear is drenched with “retail ambiguity” and is faced with similar, yet distinct issues. Thus far, attempts to revive the Gap brand are only temporary fixes. Promotions only stimulate traffic for so long and Gap should focus on crafting a brand that’s updated and desirable.