…And we’re back! For the tens of you that read my blog on a regular basis, I apologize for my lengthy absence. I had to move ship from Chicago to Boston for a career opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
After shuffling around for the past two months I have gotten all my professional and personal ducks in a row and am ready to get back on the neuroscience track. So let’s get back at it.
Real Solutions from Neuromarketing
Whenever I’m describing neuromarketing to people I tend to get the question back in response, “Yeah, but how does it actually apply to business strategy and execution?”
Rather that spout off answers about EEGs, fMRIs, and other lab testing equipment I try to tell stories of relevant real world solutions neuromarketing has supplied. Today, we need not look any further than American clothing icon GAP.
Mind the GAP
Here’s the ultra brief synopsis of the woes The Gap Corporation has faced since changing their logo. It was not well received by loyal customers. Done. Wow, that was quick!
Gap briefly changed its logo and then changed it back after a groundswell of negative reaction from consumers and social media bloggers. Facebook even had a group of outraged consumers form.
You can point a lot of fingers over the logo change and reaction, but to cut through the clutter, world-leading neuromarketing firm NeuroFocus stepped in and gave this examination of where GAP Logo Designers went wrong.
NeuroFocus Explains Why the Logo Made People Angry
According to the neuromarketing company NeuroFocus, there’s actual brain chemistry at work when a person rejects poor advertising. NewScientist reported the group used EEG and eye-tracking techniques in a series of tests to gauge volunteers’ response to the new Gap logo. Here were their results:
1. Overlapping the letter “p” with the blue square means that the word is ignored while the brain selectively processes the image. In other words, the distracting blue cube makes the reader miss the all-important brand name.
2. Our brains, being hard-wired to avoid sharp edges, react negatively to the sharp edges of the blue cube cutting into the round curve of the letter “p”.
3. The font used in the new logo isn’t different enough to what we’re used to seeing on a day-to-day basis, so it’s not processed as novel.
4. While in the old logo the white letters “popped” against the blue background, the contrast is lost for the black “p” against the blue square in the new logo. We’re inclined to pay less attention to it as a result.
5. By having the last letters of the word in lower case, the brain is prompted to look for a semantic meaning in the word. Advertising is more successful when a series of letters is uniform, and easier to process as a logo.
6. The new logo was too different to the old, established logo, making it hard for existing customers to attach what they already know about the brand to the new logo.
“LAY OFF ME! I’M MARKETING”
Neuromarketing can and often does cut through the clutter of the marketing world. Examining the GAP logo from a neuroscience perspective is key to understanding the reaction of our brains to logos in general.
If this was a traditional marketing focus group someone might say, “Well people just don’t like change.” And maybe that’s why 8 out of 10 products fail – because that’s the best evaluation of a new logo they’re going to get.
Neuromarketing is much deeper that a vocal response. Our brains’ subconscious doesn’t lie, nor does it like the new GAP logo apparently.
Kevin, I’d simply like to say that your final paragraph was a very succinct summary of how full-brain EEG-based neurological testing can be of benefit to marketers. It’s refreshing to read commentary from someone with a clear grasp of both the underlying neuroscience, and the field of marketing.
I personally enjoyed the new Gap logo, especially the visible gap between the word “Gap” and the old familiar navy background. When I made this discovery after hours of studying the new logo, I became filled with a sense of accomplishment so great that I celebrated by going out and buying a bunch of Gap clothing at Goodwill (I still have found no better marketing than selling clothes for less than 3 dollars.)
Keep up the good work! Hope Boston is treating you well!