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Bright Outlook from the Gap

April 19, 2013

By Lynn Santa Lucia

When you’re trying to revitalize a brand, you can get lost in an avalanche of opportunity. And if you’re like Gap’s global CMO Seth Farbman, you can tend to push very fast. The former Ogilvy exec, who joined the retailer two years ago, is a self-described type-A marketer and admits that initially he was looking in all the wrong places to inject some oomph into the brand — namely, at brands that made huge statements very quickly to set the stage for a huge turnaround.

Then Farbman took a breath and asked: What IS Gap? He considered the fundamentals: Gap’s own story and its pillar products. “Without those, we have nothing,” says Farbman, who presented at the ANA Brand Masters Conference. With a renewed focus on the values on which Gap was founded (American optimism and casual style) and on its winning fashion trifecta (jeans, khakis, and t-shirts), the brand is bouncing back. Indeed, we’re all the happier for it.

This would fit right in with Gap’s m.o. to “Be Bright.” “We see Gap as a window to what’s bright,” Farbman says. “We are believers in bright.” By giving us a “store with heart” (a fundamental desire of founders Don and Doris Fisher) and working to “create a brighter future for all” (not to mention offering a new dazzling palette of jeans), Gap is giving us something to smile about.

In the process, Farbman has discovered what really matters:


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