The keyword for when you're dealing with a potential damaging issue is NOW.
1. To be one step ahead of whatever might happen, always remember to monitor your mentions in social media. You have to constantly be there to watch everything that's happening in social media, if you don't want to be caught off-guard.
2. Once you've done that, you also need to be proactive in your approach: don't wait for a crisis to happen to make you engage with possible advocates of your brand. The bigger your network of fans is, the bigger the opportunity for them to stand up for you.
3. Expect the worst, because in social media, a crisis can get amplified like you never even dreamed, and there's a bigger possibility for things to get out of hand. And don't be afraid, people complaining about your services is not such a bad thing, at least you get the chance to make up for the problem and get a confidence vote.
4. Don't remain silent when a war is unfolding in front of you; it's best to admit the error and apologize. Use every social media outlet you have to give out information on how things are standing and respond to people's questions (everybody knows about the Domino Pizza apology video, that's a well thought-out use of a communication channel).
5. Respond to negativism, not acknowledging it won't help. Dissapointed people will not only stop any relationship with you, but they will surely influence others - and bad stuff spread like fire in social media. Transparency is very important, people need to know what happened, not knowing will leave room for rumors and can deepen the crisis. Here's a case when being prompt and publishing all the needed information helped save someone's reputation.
6. In social media, everything happens at the speed of light, so you'll have to be fast when dealing with the problem. Try to find the underlying cause of the crisis, then establish an appropriate tone of voice, according to the magnitude of the issue.
7. And, most importantly, follow-up on the issue. You'll have a great case study to help prevent such problems.
Gap can now capitalize on the coverage it got for what seems to be an uninspired change of logo, since they listened to the public voice and insights from their clients. Most probbaly, they did monitor what people had to say, and now thay can turn all this into something positive, with the right spin.