Brain Gap: Neurofocus Study Reveals What Went Wrong With The Gap's New Brand Logo

< BACK TO MARKETING starstarstarstarstar   Business - Marketing Press Release
19th October 2010, 02:17am - Views: 1788

Misc Miscellaneous NeuroFocus 2 image


Brain Gap: NeuroFocus Study Reveals What Went Wrong With the Gap's New Brand Logo

BERKELEY, Calif., Oct. 18 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

     World's Largest Neuromarketing Company Applied Neuroscience Knowledge to

         Discover the Subconscious Reasons Beneath the Consumer Backlash

    On the spectrum of corporate rolls of the dice, altering an iconic logo

representing a brand that has been a consumer favorite for generations is a

high-risk proposition. The Gap is the latest company to confront that fact.

    What went awry with the Gap's recently-introduced logo? NeuroFocus, the

world's leading neuromarketing company, went looking for the most accurate

and reliable answers in the best place to find them: the deep subconscious

level of the brain. The company conducted neurological testing of Gap

customers to discover why the new execution failed to attract them - and in

some cases earned negative reactions.

    In addition to the EEG-based brainwave activity measurements and eye

tracking data it captured and analyzed in its study, NeuroFocus cited six

principal Neurological Best Practices that the new logo violated. These Best

Practices have been extracted from the thousands of neurological tests that

the company has conducted worldwide.

    Topline Study Findings:

    Subconscious Response Testing: The Key Role That 'Stylish' and 'Novelty'


    NeuroFocus' study captured consumers' subconscious responses and

evaluated them to reveal the effectiveness of both the original and the new

logo. NeuroFocus scores responses across seven core categories: three primary

NeuroMetrics of Attention, Emotional Engagement, and Memory Retention. Those

are combined to arrive at an Overall Effectiveness score.

    From the three primary NeuroMetrics, the company derives three more

Marketplace Performance Indicators (MPIs) of Purchase Intent, Novelty, and



    This MPI is an especially critical metric for the studies that NeuroFocus

conducts for branding projects, new product introductions, packaging designs,

and logos. Neuroscientific research shows that the human brain craves and

seeks what is new.

    EEG recordings revealed that the new logo did not register any

scientifically significant increase in the Novelty metric.

    "Our counsel to companies is: when there is a redesign of a brand, an

identity, a logo, a proposition, a tagline, a package or a product feature,

such a design must deliver a scientifically significant and substantive

change in the Novelty metric," said Dr. A. K. Pradeep, Chief Executive

Officer of NeuroFocus. "In this instance, the Gap's new logo failed to do

that. Our recommendation would have been: without a significant increase in

Novelty, this redesign will not succeed."



NeuroFocus utilized its Deep Subconscious Response methodology to tease

out consumers' precognitive perceptions of core brand attributes associated

with the Gap brand. In this study, three attributes were tested to determine

if the new logo produced any neurologically significant "brand lift" over the

original design.

    The three attributes tested were: active, stylish, and authentic.

    For 'active' and 'authentic', the results showed no scientifically

significant increase between the original logo and the new logo.

    "This is a red flag, because it reveals that the new design is not

contributing to heightened consumer perceptions of core brand attributes,"

Dr. Pradeep said.

    Moreover, for the 'stylish' attribute, the study results showed that

while the original logo scored at an exceptional level, the new logo failed

to register at all for this critical attribute.

    "When we saw this specific result from our testing, we were not surprised

by the consumer backlash," Dr. Pradeep said. "With the new design, the Gap

lost critical ground at the deep subconscious level for this essential brand

attribute. For a retail apparel marketer seeking to reach and motivate their

target audience, this loss of brand value in the 'stylish' category marks a

major cause for concern."

    Neurological Best Practices:

    In addition to its brainwave activity measurements, as the NeuroFocus

scientific team reviewed the new logo, they recognized that the design

violated six basic Neurological Best Practices.

    Dr. Pradeep outlined these six Neurological Best Practices that the Gap


    - Overlays Equal Overlooked: Neuroscience research reveals that when

      words overlay images, the brain tends to ignore or overlook the word in

      favour of focusing on the image. "In the new logo, the 'p' superimposed

      over the blue square is essentially bypassed by the brain; the brain

      tends to ignore the word in favor of the image. Not a good thing when

      that's your brand name."

    - Sharp Edges Unsettle the Subconscious: "Forcing the brain to view a

      sharply-angled box behind the letter 'p' provokes what neuroscience

      calls an 'avoidance response'. The hard line cuts into the rounded

      shape of the letter. We are hard-wired to avoid sharp edges - in

      nature, they can present a threat. Our so-called modern brains are

      actually 100,000 years old, and they retain this primordial reaction."

    - Interesting Fonts Work: Neuroscience research has shown that the

      subconscious prefers fonts that are a little unusual. The Gap's

      original typeface was just different enough that it tended to stand out

      to the brain amidst the clutter of other corporate IDs. "Being a little

      bit 'funky' appeals to the brain, and the Gap's original design

      accomplished that by employing an interesting font. Our study confirms

      that, and shows why 'boring' is bad for business when it comes to


    - High/Low Contrast: "The original logo presented the brand name in


sharp, strong contrast - white letters 'pop' against the blue

      background, and the brain loves pop-outs. Conversely, the new logo has

      the 'p' losing that contrast against the blue box. Again, the brain

      simply tends not to register the letter well as a result."

    - Stronger Semantic Content: "In the new version, the capitalized 'G'

      followed by the lower case 'a' and 'p' cause the brain to read the

      three letters as part of a word, and therefore seek semantic content.

      In the original execution, all three letters are capitalized, making

      them more logo-like than word-like, which is what you want for a logo."

    - Lost Legacy: "The Gap sells a lot more than just blue jeans today, but

      relegating the blue of the original logo to minor 'legacy' status in

      the new version loses that essential connection in the consumer's

      subconscious to the brand's core origins. We always emphasize to

      companies: depict your source. When it comes to products, the brain

      seeks to know from whence you came. Instead of honoring their past,

      unfortunately the Gap relegated that past to ower relevance."

    "The Gap's experience simply reinforces the critical importance of the

two questions that brand marketers should ask before moving ahead with

something as central as a logo redesign," Dr. Pradeep added. "They are: does

the new design violate any Neurological Best Practices? And does the new

design build upon the existing brand attributes that are identified through

the Brand Essence Framework? For companies seeking to avoid costly and

all-too-public mistakes that can erode brand image and brand loyalty and

impact purchase intent, measuring consumers' responses at the subconscious

level of the brain is the best means to ensure success. Neuroscience proves

that attempting to divine accurate and reliable answers to these questions

through articulated responses is prone to failure. 'The brain makes

behavior', and we applaud the Gap for recognizing their error and correcting

it so that consumers will once again respond to this iconic brand in a

positive way."

    Dr. Pradeep is the author of the new best-seller The Buying Brain:

Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind (,

available through 



    More information about "The Buying Brain" can be accessed by visiting the

book's Facebook page ( and Twitter 

    NeuroFocus Methodology

    NeuroFocus employs high-density arrays of medical grade EEG sensors to

measure across the full brain. Each sensor captures brainwave activity at

2,000 times a second. The company also applies eye-tracking technology to

identify the location of visual focus at the pixel level. A third measurement

of GSR (galvanic skin response) is also made, to further confirm degrees of

emotional engagement.

    About NeuroFocus

    The world's leading neuromarketing firm, NeuroFocus

( brings advanced neuroscience knowledge and expertise

to the worlds of branding, product development and packaging, in-store

marketing, advertising, and entertainment. NeuroFocus clients include Fortune

100 companies across dozens of categories.

    Headquartered in the U.S. and operating globally through offices and

NeuroLabs in the UK and Europe, the Asia/Pacific region, Latin America, and

the Middle East, the company leverages Nobel Prize caliber and

Doctorate-level credentials in neuroscience and marketing from the University

of California at Berkeley, MIT, Harvard, Oxford, Columbia University, and

other leading institutions, combined with executive business management and

consulting experience.

     SOURCE: NeuroFocus

    CONTACT: Tom Robbins of NeuroFocus, 



Misc Miscellaneous NeuroFocus 3 image




To view this and other AsiaNet releases please visit

news articles logo NEWS ARTICLES
Contact News Articles |Remove this article