GAP: Fashioning Its Marketing Strategy

Updated on: Sep 6, 2021
Marketing Strategy of GAP featured image | IIDE
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My name is Aditya Shastri and I have written this case study with the help of my students from IIDE's online digital marketing courses in India.

Practical assignments, case studies & simulations from Business Review helped the students from this course present this analysis.

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GAP is an American multinational retail brand that is known for its marketing strategy. Diversification is one of the key factors which has kept the brand in the top four fashionable industries in the US market. Its focus on lively and youth-centric clothing leads it to one of the finest brands worldwide. 

This case study will discuss the Marketing Strategy of GAP, including its target market, campaigns, SWOT analysis, etc. Now without any further ado, let us learn more about GAP.

 

Digital Marketing Academic Challenge 2024 - DMAC

About GAP

GAP Brand Logo - Marketing Strategy of GAP | IIDE

Gap Inc. which is also known as GAP is an American clothing and accessories retailer, founded by Donald Fisher and Doris Fisher in 1969. It is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

The company has a worldwide presence of over 3000 stores of which 80% are in the United States. The company deals in an extensive variety of ranges in design, size,  & colours.

The clothing brand had a basic idea of providing comfort to all age groups with some bit of fancy alamode. The brand made its commitment towards designing pairs of jeans. Over time, its commitment towards foreign customers and its demand rose drastically. The brand remained sole focus on providing top niche cloth material and designs to its prospective buyers.

The company manages over 135,000 employees and 3,727 stores around the world. 

With time GAP acquired the following brands:

  • Banana Republic
  • Old Navy
  • Athleta
  • Forth & Towne
  • Piperlime
  • Intermix
  • HillCity
  • Janie & Jack
  • Yezzy Gap

What’s new with GAP:

  • Gap is to expand its presence in India with the launch of over 100 stores in partnership with Reliance Retail.
  • Global clothing and accessories retail chain Gap Inc. opens its third stand-alone outlet in India in Hyderabad, a company official announced in a social media post.
  • Reliance had signed a long-term partnership agreement with Gap Inc., to launch the American fashion brand in India.
  • Gap has said it will close all 81 of its stores in the UK and Ireland.
  • Gap Inc. is placing its hopes on CEO Richard Dickson to turn around the company’s fortunes. Dickson, known for his success in reviving Mattel’s Barbie brand, has been credited with transforming Barbie’s image and generating buzz, but sales gains have not always been sustained.

Now that we have basic knowledge about the company, let us look at the target market of GAP in the coming section. 

GAP Target Audience

A target audience is a group of potential customers to whom the brand wants to sell its products and services. Its initial target is the younger generation, and its name refers to the generation gap of the time between the age of 18-28, but the consumer range starts from babies to elderly people. People of all ages can experience the fashion of GAP. The company has its brands and each brand has its target market. The target market of the Old Navy brand is the lower-middle to middle-income consumers. It is one of the largest of the three GAP brands. 

The Banana Republic targets customers between 25 and 35 years old. It targets people who believe that style and fashion is important. GAP,  the basic fundamental of keeping this brand name was to attract the targeted customer by its uniqueness. Through its name, it depicts “the generation gap” to focus and attract the youth, and children and at the same time target adults by producing just different variants of a pair of jeans for each demographic.

Buyer’s Persona

Name:

Bhavya Desai

Place:

Mangalore

Age:

23 years

Profession:

Fashion stylist

Motivation

  • Comfort
  • Variety
  • Fabric
  • Chic fashion
  • Value for Money

Interest & Hobbies

  • Trekking
  • Dancing
  • Travelling
  • Dressing Up
  • Styling
 

Pain Points

  • Basic colour clothes
  • Same pattern and Texture
  • Size availability

Social Media Presence

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Billboards
  • TV channels broadcasting
  • Newspapers
  • Online shopping platforms

Marketing Strategy of GAP

Marketing strategy helps a brand to achieve its goals and objectives. Gap’s current marketing work is to attract a wide range of customers. So let us look at the marketing strategies that GAP has implemented to attract its customers:

1. Niche Marketing 

Niche marketing is a strategy that focuses on a unique target market. The brand has mastered its impressive concept of precise niche marketing. Want to know how GAP uses niche marketing effectively?  Let’s have a keen look at each of the marketing strategies. 

  • Old Navy

GAP x Old Navy - Marketing Strategy of GAP | IIDE

When you visit the company’s website you will notice a colourful homepage. Next, you will notice the current sale featured in the middle of the page. Sometimes it could be a dress, or it could be a swimsuit or it could be a discounted pair of jeans. Old Navy has worked hard to prove that its brand is perfect for price-sensitive consumers who still want to be fashionable. Although not everyone likes the styles of clothing that the company provides, everyone will appreciate the affordability aspect highlighted by Old Navy.

  • Banana Republic

GAP x Banana Republic - Marketing Strategy of GAP | IIDE

One word will come to your mind after visiting Banana Republic’s website: modern. Its homepage is well organized and it looks expensive. You will notice the latest collection and also it offers high-quality fashion to the consumers. The Banana Republic presents a refined image with self-expression and an easy-going personality.

  • Athleta

GAP x Athleta - Marketing Strategy of GAP | IIDE

Athleta is a women’s activewear clothing company, which was acquired by Gap in 2008. It provides customers with the opportunity to purchase new products from companies they already know and trust. Whether a teenager is looking for a cheap but stylish T-shirt or a marketing executive in desperate need of classic and chic workwear, GAP can help you in your specific phase of life.

2. Pop Up Stores

.   GAP Pop up Store - Marketing Strategy of GAP | IIDE.   GAP Pop up Store - Marketing Strategy of GAP | IIDE

Pop-up stores provide a way for the brands to show off their new products to the customers. Also, it offers the brand a chance to engage with the customers and inform them about its products and services. GAP is known for specialising in classic denim, white shirts, simple stripes and khaki. The pop-up stores add new space and add youthfulness to the old favourites.

3. Advertising Strategy of GAP

It offers a variety of hard cards and electronic gift cards that can be used to purchase at all sites and stores. The online gift cards get delivered within 3 days with personalized message options. One of the main promotion techniques used by GAP is to display products in the best way through mannequin display stands or wooden boards and posters with trendy label lines.

The brand is fond of magazines. Also, it uses media advertising to deliver information to target customers. GAP has been using viral marketing in controversial ways, such as supporting interracial families through advertising, which has caused a lot of discussion on this topic and gained brand awareness. 

Some other strategies include organizing competitions and giving away brand accessories and merchandise as gifts. By having an understanding of the brand’s plots and planning, let us now look at GAP’s creative marketing campaigns.

Marketing Campaigns of GAP 

Marketing Campaigns run by the brand are always according to its sales target, demographics, and product launches. It not only promotes the merchandise but also sends a meaningful message to connect with the customer. So let’s have a look at GAP’S marketing campaigns.

  • BRIDGING THE GAP – A Marketing Campaign of GAP

GAP Marketing Campaign - Marketing Strategy of GAP | IIDE

Through the “Bridging the Gap” marketing campaign, GAP is celebrating individuality. In the one-minute video, many celebrities got featured, for instance, Jasmine Sanders, Priyanka Chopra, Fernanda Ly, Wiz Khalifa & many more. The video shows celebrities wearing a basic white T-shirt which shows simplicity. The campaign was all about authenticity.

  • I AM GAP  – A Marketing Campaign of GAP

GAP Marketing Campaign - Marketing Strategy of GAP | IIDE

It’s very interesting as well as the controversial marketing campaign started by GAP. For the first part, Tyrone Lebon and Valerio Spade’s second part shot I AM GAP  with the cast of the common people who expressed themselves by wearing the clothes by the brand. 

Through this campaign, it was to showcase the generation gap and the void created because of different understanding levels. This wardrobe contained all those clothing materials worn by all the generations with vibrant colours.

  • DREAM THE FUTURE  – A Marketing Campaign of GAP

GAP Marketing Campaign - Marketing Strategy of GAP | IIDE

Dream The Future is the latest campaign started by GAP, as we all are amid a pandemic, having a future is becoming translucent day by day. It was a reflection of hope. Through its series of clothing, it portrayed the essence of living in the present and hoping to see the next day. 

It wanted its buyers to be merrier, gayly, cheerful, joyous, and delightful. It was launched on national television as well as on digital platforms.

GAP uses a colourful and youth-centric marketing campaign strategy to attract its customers. We just went through some of its best marketing campaigns in recent times, now let us look at GAP’s SWOT analysis.

Digital Marketing Strategies of GAP

Digital marketing, also known as online marketing, is the promotion of brands to connect with potential customers via the Internet and other forms of digital communication. As a marketing channel, this comprises not only email, social media, and web-based advertising, but also text and multimedia messages.

To raise brand awareness, businesses must have a strong online presence. A brand’s digital presence aids communication with its customers. GAP frequently updates its social media accounts with new posts and commercials. It also advertises its deals and plans, and the company even answers client queries. The brand is actively present on YouTubeFacebookTwitter, and Instagram

It has a strong online presence to promote its products successfully and to popularize. 

GAP Social Media Youtube Channel - Marketing Strategy of GAP | IIDE

(Youtube of GAP with 100 K followers)

GAP Social Media Facebook - Marketing Strategy of GAP | IIDE

(Facebook of GAP with 9,004,913 followers) 

GAP Social Media Twitter - Marketing Strategy of GAP | IIDE

(Twitter of GAP with 619.1K followers)

GAP Social Media Instagram - Marketing Strategy of GAP | IIDE

(Instagram of GAP with 3.1 million followers) 

Top 5 challengers of the Brand GAP

  • ZARA- Its success is grounded on its capability. Zara is constantly accessing and replying to the terrain in a matter of weeks. The brand designs new styles and pushes them into stores while the trend is still at its peak.
  • H&M- Its business idea is to offer fashion and quality at a stylish price in a sustainable way. With a broad and varied product range, H&M makes it easy for anyone who is into fashion to express their own particular style.
  • FOREVER 21– It is valuable to consumers. This model operates by keeping the store exciting with new merchandise brought in daily.
  • InditexIntermix of all brands, provides a variety of vesture.
  • Uniqlo It has reinvented itself in Japan as LifeWear. LifeWear isn’t disposable apparel, but perfect factors made with quality. Clothes benefitting every day

Illustration Of Failed Campaigns

1. What was the issue– Gap’s new logo was immediately met with counterreaction from consumers who took to social media to denounce the new design. 

2. What backlash did the brand face– More than 2,000 comments were made on Facebook to protest against the new logo, and over 5,000 followers were gained on a Twitter account opposing the brand.

3. What did Brand do in this situation- In response to the harsh backlash, Gap discontinued the new logo and reverted to the original logo within a week of the rebranding launch.

Suggestion of BETTER CAMPAIGNS

  • Turn shopping into an adventure! Create an interactive campaign where customers unlock discounts and rewards by visiting physical GAP stores located in unique and unexpected places. This campaign encourages exploration, introduces GAP to new markets, and adds an element of excitement to shopping.
  • Wardrobe Remix Challenge: Encourage customers to send in their old GAP clothes for a chance to win a complete wardrobe overhaul. The twist? The old clothes will be redesigned, upcycled, and transformed into brand-new, unique pieces by fashion-forward designers. This campaign embraces sustainability, creativity, and personalized fashion.

So here we are at the end of the case study. Let us conclude in the coming section.

Digital Marketing Academic Challenge 2024 - DMAC

Conclusion

 

GAP is a world-renowned clothing and accessories brand. Several brands in its portfolio have unique styles. The company is popular because of its consistent focus on quality and design. It has introduced a large number of campaigns and its customer preference is its utmost priority. By providing a large variety of classy, casual, and affordable apparels, it has attracted a lot of customers. The brand continues to expand its product line through the acquisition of new brands.

But it is always said that “The only constant in life is change”, so the brand needs to focus on new trends. It should try to change its marketing strategies to gain more customers, which will help to increase its profits.

Thank you for reading! We hope you found what you were looking for and learnt something new from this case study. If you did, be sure to share, comment, and check out more of our blogs on  IIDE’s website. Also If you wish to explore digital marketing, IIDE conducts a free Digital Marketing Masterclassevery week.

 

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]

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