2010 Is The Year @Gap Got Social

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For better or worse, it’s been quite the social media banner year for Gap. Although Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal as a Gap sweatshirt-wearing Mark Zuckerberg didn’t revive the trend I so fondly remember, Gap has had no shortage of awareness this year. Let’s dive in for a closer look at Gap’s social 2010, in 9 parts.

1. Project Reindeer

Let’s start with the most recent initiative. From December 15 to December 19 Gap put your holiday discount in the hands – well hooves – of reindeer. The reindeer were overseen by a zoologist, appropriately named @deerjosh on Twitter. Gap utilized promoted tweets to help garner exposure to his account. However, as of this morning, there were only 121 followers. It might just be me, but did this program spring up out of nowhere? Following Starbucks’ popular “12 days of __” I do see “Project Reindeer” as a possible fun, reoccurring holiday initiative for Gap. Let’s hope they can learn from the slow start and expand it next year with more success. http://www.projectreindeer.com/ One key learning opportunity: Does it make sense to create a new Twitter account for a five-day initiative? I’m going with… no.

2. Twitter

Not too much to report here. Pretty standard dissemination of Gap information with sparse community engagement. The most interesting part for me is that there is no Gap bio and the link is to its Facebook page rather than Gap.com. @Gap

3. Facebook

For portraying its brand, this is a model Facebook page. Videos, pictures, tabs for different collections and a great app integration. If you ‘like’ a video on the “Want” tab, Gap will donate a dollar to the featured charity. That’s a win!

4. Facebook Places

Gap held the first major promotion from the roll out of Facebook places. On November 5th, the first several people to check-in at a store received a free pair of jeans. I happily got a pair. However, if you read the comments from its Facebook event page, you’ll see a lot of confusion and disappointment. Including someone who posted “I’ll be there” … on Dec. 10th.

5. Foursquare

Before Facebook Places there was Foursquare. On August 14th, Foursquare users received 25% off. Looking at it now, that’s a low percentage compared to fall’s more frequent 30% off, 40% off and free jeans offers. In fact, the current Foursquare special is 30% off one regular-price item. Gap will donate $1 to the Foursquare founders’ charity – campinteractive.org – as well. The Foursquare founders received more love. Gap featured them in its 2010 holiday ad campaign. Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai can now add modeling to their (unnecessary) resumes.

That wasn’t all for its holiday campaign. Gap also integrated Foursquare in its online ads. It was a one-click way to add your nearest Gap store to your Foursquare to-do list and another reminder for you to activate the 30% off check-in special mentioned above.

6. Groupon

The digital marketing blitz in August continued with Gap receiving honors as the first brand to host a national Groupon. The deal was a typical one for the local deals site; $25 for $50 worth of merchandise. This Gap initiative brought in nearly $11 million in one day. Specific profits for both Gap and Groupon were not disclosed. A total of 441,000 Groupons were sold. The deal averaged 10 Groupons a second at one point. If you bought, I hope you redeemed your Groupon. It expired in November after 3 months.

7. Mobile Apps

iPad app. iPhone app. Android app. Gap wants to make sure its accessible on the go. Get outfit ideas from lookbooks, videos, your own digital closet and – best of all – the community. These apps are a great tool for inspiration or a simple way to shop online. I’m hoping that next year will hold better integrations for merging its mobile and in-store experiences.

8. Gap Casting Call

A recent segment on a NYC broadcast alerted me to the Gap Casting Call and a local finalist: Kaylene (pictured below). What’s better than user-submitted photos of adorable children hoping to be the next Gap model? Here’s what: online voting interactivity. For four new faces of babyGap and GapKids, 20 finalists were selected from more than a million photos. Winners will be announced in mid-January 2011. http://www.gapcastingcall.com

9. The Logo Incident

At least they thought “outside the box” on this one. In October, Gap unveiled a new logo (seen here). It was instantly mocked and the power of social media brought the old Gap logo back in a mere week. This Backtype.com graph says it all. If you want to relive a little logo fail fun, look no further than: craplogo.me and @gaplogo.

2011 Resolution

As the year comes to a close, we must counter with a resolution for the year to come. Here’s my 2011 resolution for Gap:

Better Community Management

I sat by the computer the morning of Gap’s free jeans Facebook Places promotion and repeatedly gasped. My community managing instincts shooting alarms. In fact, it was enough for me to jump into the Facebook event wall to let people know that checking in did not include writing such on the event’s wall. A friend of mine, Jon Thomas, felt the same way and wrote a fantastic post about it. If Gap wants to improve its social media initiatives in 2011 it should focus on:
  1. More frequently joining and creating discussions on Twitter.
  2. Like its confusing Free Jeans event counterpart, the Gap Facebook page is filled with people asking questions and requesting help. To me, if someone writes “HELP” on your brand’s wall you help them. This is noticeably absent.
  3. Educating its corporate and in-store staff on all initiatives and platforms. It’s never a good impression to try and redeem an offer in-store that a cashier can’t properly accommodate.
  4. Continuing to leverage its community to be a part of the brand. The Casting Call, charity holiday ads and community StyleMixer on the apps are a great start.
What good is taking initiative just to fall short on the follow up and continued dialogue? Missed opportunities aside, we should applaud Gap for putting itself out there this year.  2011 may not be the same without other brands learning from its successes and failures. Here’s hoping for a timeless logo for years to come. What brand do you think will take the lead in 2011? What are your thoughts around Gap’s use of social media platforms this year?]]>

PSSST…

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