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.
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 range 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 the time GAP acquired the following brands:
- Banana Republic
- Old Navy
- Forth & Towne
- Janie & Jack
- Yezzy Gap
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’s 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 the 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 was depicting “the generation gap” to focus and attract the youth, children and at the same time was targeting adults by producing just the different variant of a pair of jeans for each demographic.
We now understand what is the target audience of GAP, let us now understand its business activities further by going through its 4Ps of the marketing mix in the coming section.
Marketing Mix of GAP
A marketing mix is a variety of different strategies that an organization uses to advance the interest for its image or product to its customers. The marketing mix of GAP includes the 4Ps: Product, Place, Price & Promotion. Let’s examine each of these in the upcoming section.
1. GAP Product Strategy
The brand offers wardrobes with apparels and accessories for women & men under the names GapKids, babyGap, GapMaternity, GapBody, and GapFit collections.
The collection of lifestyle brands offering apparels, accessories & personal care products for women, men and children under the Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, & Athleta brands.
Old Navy offers products that are on-trend, playfully optimistic, affordable, high-quality & which are available in all sizes.
The Banana Republic creates timeless, modern and versatile clothing, eyewear, jewellery, shoes, handbags, and fragrances with the finest fabrics.
Athleta is a premium fitness brand that creates beautiful apparels to inspire confident women and girls.
2. GAP Place Strategy
GAP place strategy includes various distribution channels. Customers can buy its products from stores as well as online.
The company operates stores in many countries such as Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, Italy, United States, United Kingdom, China, Taiwan, and Mexico.
Old Navy opened its first store in the United States & now has expanded to more than 1200 stores. The company operates more than 3700 stores.
3. GAP Price Strategy
GAP’s pricing strategy combines psychological and product line pricing techniques.
In 2016, the company began price optimization by integrating a cloud-based optimization system to localise inventory pricing in its network of retail stores.
This new strategy allows the brand to optimise pricing in a variety of ways, including determining the location of the closest distribution centres to stores to reduce costs.
4. GAP Promotion Strategy
GAP used various promotion techniques through print, television, magazines & media as a form of advertising. It provides e-gift cards to the customers when they buy from the stores and website.
Campaigns & partnerships are also a part of its promotional strategy. It also conducts contests and provides gifts like merchandise, GAP accessories, etc.
Now that we understood the 4Ps of the marketing mix, let us now look at the successful marketing strategy by GAP
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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 time, now let us look at GAP’s SWOT analysis.
SWOT Analysis of GAP
The SWOT analysis depicts a crystal clear image of the brand’s key Success and the areas which need improvement. It helps to define the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Let us have a look at the SWOT analysis of GAP:
1. GAP Strengths
- Global Brand Recognition
- Clothing is high quality, elegant, simple, durable
- BabyGap is in great demand
2. GAP Weaknesses
- GAP seems to be a bit orthodox and slow in transition with the current trend
- It only markets in the apparel market
3. GAP Opportunities
- Celebrity endorsement
- Launching of new stores in developing countries.
- Boost its sales and marketing strategy with the use of social media like Twitter, Instagram.
4. GAP Threats
- Competitors are affecting more fashionable clothing at a more reasonable range.
- Rapid changing trends can be a threat.
- The current economic climate suggests less consumer expenditure means fewer sales.
We did a close study regarding the brand’s swot analysis. Let’s take a look into the social media presence of GAP.
Social Media Presence of GAP
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 Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
It has a strong online presence to promote its products successfully to popularize.
(Youtube of GAP with 100 K followers)
(Facebook of GAP with 9,004,913 followers)
(Twitter of GAP with 619.1K followers)
(Instagram of GAP with 3.1 million followers)
So here we are at the end of the case study. Let us conclude in the coming section.
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.
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