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July 2008

Comments

Heidi

I agree with two things: bad design, and the logo isn't going to change the general perception of the store. People who shop there for "price, price, price," as Erik Johnson commented, won't care about the logo. To the disenchanted, the logo change is very suspect because it doesn't correlate to a change in attitude or action by the company.

I do think that as an identity the new logo waters down the "big" feel of Wal-Mart which to me has been a big part of the brand. Why not make the transition more subtle with the yellow burst in the middle of the name, like the star replaced the hyphen? (Of course, with the star there, I never knew if I should hyphenate it or if that was just a logo thingy.)

Other than "big," my perception of their brand would be "impersonal." One big box store after another, all looking the same. I'm guessing that Wal-Mart wanted the new logo to look friendly. Which it does, I guess, but it's too late in the game to be fresh -- too many other companies, new and old, have "green"-ish logos now.

I realize that the Wal-Mart designers (or the firm they hired) had it tough -- it's no easy feat to brand or re-brand such a large chain of stores that carries such a variety of goods. All the more reason to go slow, and have a really good reason to change it.

Martin Calle

So if a brand is something that a rancher puts on his cattle so that other ranchers or rustlers don't steal them why do CPG companies brand their products? So competitors or brand rustlers won't steal them. Yet in many ways products (cattle) in most categories (pastures) are the same - commodities - and like cattle heavily price driven categories at that, ground roast coffees, disposable diapers, edible oils, etc.)
So if the rancher (cattle owner) wants to sell more of his cattle (brand) at auction (chain grocery and drug stores for example) what must he or she do? Make a better product? A steer is a steer. Meat on the hoof is meat on the hoof. And a better product would screw up the margins.
I believe that legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden had it right when he said, "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." These ranchers (marketers) have been raising cattle (brands) the same way year after year. The feed (gathered and measured data) comes from the same vendors year after year. It seems to me that the only thing that would make a difference would be to create new knowledge - knowledge that has never previously existed to be gathered and measured. After all, most gathered and measured (cattle/brand feed) data comes from consumer survey panelists who answer questions for points and prizes - they don't even get cash anymore. An if it's done online, you can't even look the panelist in the eye to see if he or she is telling the truth (suspect data). That feed could be anything! I believe creating new knowledge, that which is yet to exist to gather and measure would sire an uber brand. (It made Folgers worth $1.6 billion when auctioned to a brand rancher in Orrville, Ohio. Then everyone else could once again rush to converge on the same position (pasture) saying the same things about themselves (branding) their own way. The symbol (brand) might look different, but the meat inside is pretty much the same (commoditization). To continue doing things the same way would be illogical because no matter how much you study the past (entrenched or shifting consumer habits and practices or beliefs) it will never give you everything you need for the present. Does anyone actually believe that closing a thousand stores, recipe dissemination, a few novelty fro-you drinks and user generated input from MyStarbucksIdea.Com is going to turn Starbucks around? No. It's just trimming the fat to get ready for an auction where Starbucks is the cattle and rancher Schultz can cash out. “A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others do.” That way the auctioneer (Costco) can't tell the rancher (P&G) how to breed the cattle (Tide). It's called differentiation, which today, can only come from new knowledge. Jeez, I think I've been hanging around CPG companies too long. Starting to sound cynical like George Parker. Man Laura, your posts make me think too hard. Stream of consciousness hurts! Difficult to string all my cynicism together and make sense.

Dileep

Hi Laura,

Hope u r doin fine! Got your mail and read the blog too!..Logo seems to be very minutive part in case of WaL- Mart, whtr they want to be insync wid something new, logo just can't revitalize!
I would say Hutch to Vodafone transition in India was taken with very calculative risk...keeping the "chinese pug' as the symbol of relationship..vodafone India ads are still ringing the same story which Hutch was telling!.. "Pug" is not part of the logo...but they dint dare to do away wid it..WAl - MART is not evrything about logo-- more being EDLP or evryday low price! and availability!

Erik Johnson

I agree, to many changes all at once. At first I didn't know if the image was an asterisk, flower, sun, or just a silly image. And why is it on the right side??? I think for Walmart the all caps did work because it related to the sheer size of the stores, very similar with Target and Kohls. Subtle changes over time is the best way to go, well said Laura.

BIG Kahuna

Normally I would agree with you 100%. But in this case I can't.

Walmart is all about price. People shop in their stores because of price. They have no other identity other than price. Price, price, price.

Therfore they could have a big pile of dog ________ as a logo and it wouldn't matter to their target audience who shop their. All they want is a low price.

Walmart has no meaning or reason of being other than to save some money for price conscience people.

Most of their customers won't even realize Walmart's changed their logo. They'll be too busy looking at their savings on the receipt.

Rajesh Aithal

In India we observe many of the older companies going in for a change in the look of their brands. The most recent one being the Godrej group, which is more than 100 year old. The logic is that though the brand is well know but the younger generation finds it difficult to connect with it. Which actually makes sense, but I don't see a very strong logic behind the Wal-Mart's change.

Rajesh Aithal

In India we observe many of the older companies going in for a change in the look of their brands. The most recent one being the Godrej group, which is more than 100 year old. The logic is that though the brand is well know but the younger generation finds it difficult to connect with it. Which actually makes sense, but I don't see a very strong logic behind the Wal-Mart's change.

Rajesh Aithal

In India we observe many of the older companies going in for a change in the look of their brands. The most recent one being the Godrej group, which is more than 100 year old. The logic is that though the brand is well know but the younger generation finds it difficult to connect with it. Which actually makes sense, but I don't see a very strong logic behind the Wal-Mart's change.

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