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July 3, 2008

Walmart Gets a Naming and Branding Facelift

Wal-Mart has given its brand name a facelift, dropping the old fashioned, clunky, all caps typography, the hyphen, the star and the red, white and blue color scheme in favor of a cleaner, more "dot-com" image.

Frankly, this almost counts as a name change, because we are all now expected to refer to the company as "Walmart."

walmart logo.pngThey even have a new logo that looks like a sun, or a star, or maybe an asterisk (Walmart execs refer to it as a sunburst that "looks organic"). The idea is to get an image into the consumer's mind much like the Target logo, although Walmart's strategy is to appear friendlier.

They also have a new slogan that was unveiled last year: "Save Money. Live Better" which coincides with the company's attempt to equate low prices with a better, healthier life. Brand New has tracked all of the Walmart naming since 1962 and feels underwhelmed by this naming shift. And while the change seems precipitated by some troubles the company has had recently, many feel that the change was at least ten years overdue.

protest-walmart.gifWalmart has some serious PR issues to contend with in my home state of Minnesota and they certainly need to work on their profile.

The Huffington Post reports that its corporate image suffered the third biggest drop on the Harris Interactive Poll over the last year. So a facelift is probably long overdue.

I'm not expecting any major strategy changes from Walmart, a company that is very successful in being blandly able to offer low prices to the consumer. Its name recognition and immediate association with its most powerful selling point, low prices, is unparalleled and I would expect the company to profit during the economy's downturn.

Finally, the Walmart "sunburst" reminds me of Apple's "loading" symbol.

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Posted by William Lozito at July 3, 2008 12:39 PM
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