Wal-Mart's forthcoming logo makeover: a good move?

Posted by: Reena Jana on June 30, 2008

Can a cleaner, sleeker corporate identity make Wal-Mart more attractive to consumers? On Saturday, you may have seen a report in
The Wall Street Journal stating that Wal-Mart is planning a new logo, dropping the hyphen, and ditching the star. On Sunday, the Associated Press confirmed it, adding that stores would begin bearing the new logo in the fall. The Journal’s story included renderings of the new model for “Walmart” stores. And Wal-Mart posted an official announcement that shows off the logo to its Web site today (June 30). You can see that the font Wal-Mart is planning to use is not the same, Death Star-ominous, angular, all-caps style—it’s replaced by rounded letters, mostly lower-case and friendly-looking. The star/hyphen is gone, and is replaced by what appears to be an asterisk/flower.

The font used seems to echo a style that appears on Wal-Mart’s current Web site, as well as on its pharmacy prescription bottles, but not in the company’s current logo. As far as getting rid of the star…well, that to me always seemed like the coolest part of the logo. While the asterisk/flower is cute, something about an asterisk suggests a tangential quality. It’s not as assertive or as, well, rock-star-like. And while a flower is certainly pretty, and “organic,” it also comes off as a bit wussy. Maybe Wal-Mart wants to associate itself more with its increasingly eco-friendly identity. But stars (as in the sun), of course, are organic, too.

In any case, let’s see how such a change affects consumers. I’m curious why it’s happening now. One might think that in tough economic times, a low-priced mecca such as Wal-Mart might find itself attracting all sorts of new customers even without a facelift.

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Reader Comments

rick

June 30, 2008 09:56 AM

The five pointed star that Wal*Mart uses is a symbol of god, peace, and tranquility and should not be replaced by a six pointed star that is the sign of the devil. If Wal*Mart removes the star, it should be replaced with a -Hyphen.

InnovateOrPerish

June 30, 2008 01:54 PM

I don't know if its just that Logo that will bring the customers that flock to Target back. Just try getting some assistance in a WalMart & you realize how miserable of an experience it is. I only shop at WM as a last resort.

Eddie F

June 30, 2008 05:17 PM

It beats a "squiggly" any day. Only Wal~Mart old-timers will know about the "squiggly."

Andy

June 30, 2008 05:43 PM

I can't tell if Rick's comment is sarcastic or not, but besides being hilarious, it's actually representative of Walmart's typical customer.

Marla

July 1, 2008 10:20 AM

The new softer-looking logo is a nice change for Wal-Mart, but an improvement in customer service and cleaner facilities would be ground shaking! Imagine a Wal-Mart with Nordstrom-type atmospherics and customer support--its target market could be greatly expanded.

Jared

July 1, 2008 01:16 PM

Rick's comment is not only hilarious, but completely wrong. A five sided star is a pentagram, generally not considered to be heavenly. Study up, Rick.

Andrew Bogucki

July 1, 2008 01:55 PM

Retail monolith Wal-Mart has taken the plunge and changed its identity. While I’m specifically referring to the logo and the design elements that support it, it seems to be an indicator of an identity shift in the more universal sense.

While highly profitable, perceptions of the world's richest company have suffered from decades of aggressive business practices and dubious employment policies as well as a decidedly un-cool, low-end image. Can design help?

The obvious competitor in the mega-retail space is Target, who has always understood the value of good design in all aspects of the brand experience, and who’s favorability scores overtook Wal-Mart’s last year in CoreBrand’s Brand Power Analysis. Perhaps Wal-Mart is trying to get design to work a little harder for them as well.

Obviously, it takes a number of changes to shift the perception of an organization. Wal-Mart is stocking and promoting many new “green” products, and turning to lifestyle- oriented messaging in its slick new commercials. On the logo front, it’s using some tried-and-true design treatments to signal change. The bold, all-caps, industrial strength typography has been replaced with a lighter, friendlier, upper-and-lower case treatment. The deep, monopolistic blue has been traded for brighter, less ominous cyan. The military-style star has turned into a bright yellow spark. The hyphenated name has been collapsed to one word.

Is it about a new customer base? Maybe. To help purge some brand baggage? Perhaps. Will it cost millions, even over a billion, just in signage alone? Definitely. Will it make them cool? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Marsha

July 1, 2008 11:57 PM

It never ceases to amaze me..that W-M can spend billions on a logo that looks like a left over from the 60's flower power age of hippies...my be they have been smoked to much Cuban cigars.....but, It NOT going to change my mind about them....W-M CEO Lee Scott and President Bush made a hefty $29 million dollars off you [poor saps]
which is course you are not...but as long as they have you believing you are ...you will never see your selfs but anything other than what they what you to see your selfs as POOR....
Control over the mind as control over every part of you....and for the that the last 45+ yrs..Spend Less Save More...Will I can tell you...you DO NOT SAVE ONE CENT by shopping at Wal-Mart....They just want you to think you do..I hate to bring it up..
But, by being Brainwashed for over that many yrs. you are programed like a robot...Made in China...Sorry !!!!
You will do anything they say...Even if it means, without realizing it you have just began a supporters of communist ran countries......
Eddie F. comments on us old times only knowing about Squiggly ~ One of Sam Walton's earliest imports from Asia team spirit..Enthused by a factory cheer he witnessed in 1975 at a Koren tennis ball plant. Walton
instituted HIS very own "Wal-Mart Cheer" still a staple of the company's Corporate culture..He liked the DRAMATIC device for its "whistle while you work philosophy"
Sam Walton was NO pillar of society, he was a far cry from this the picture that many Americans have of the legendary folk hero...
"From the very beginning, Walton bought goods where ever he could get it from the cheapest supplier..with any other considerations secondary"
The truth, Walton's "Buy American" campaign did NOTHING for U.S. manufacturers, if they didn't follow by hi playbook...he wrote suppliers and made it very CLEAR he was committed to buying U.S. goods ONLY if he could buy them dirt cheap !!!
"we're not interested in charity here;we don't believe in it."
He wanted everything cheap, even went it meant selling out the U.S. and going over seas..
And for this Sam Walton was the architect of
Wal-Mart's unpublicized "Buy Asia" program..
And as far as today U.S. tax payers pay for all of W-M's
employees, benefits, health insurance, wages, government subsidences, they have nearly taken 99% of their full time and made them part time..with no way to pay for insurance, health, housing, food, hire the POOR while the whole time the U.S. government is giving W-M Tax insensitiveness's, loopholes, and anything else they want...
There is NO law on the books that says what and company sauh as Wal-Mart has to disclose in Tax's

Walken

July 2, 2008 11:54 AM

If you put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig.

Wal-Mart has down more to drive down wages, steamroll local economies and degrade the environment than any other American company.

dbwokc

July 2, 2008 08:17 PM

I agree wal-mart is not perfect, but they're trying to change.

worker

July 2, 2008 08:58 PM

Why spend thousands on new logo and signs in stores? Why not hire more help?

Robin

July 3, 2008 09:36 PM

Hey Marsha!!!

You do have valid points about Wal-Mart and old Sam, but if you want to be taken seriously then please go back to school and learn the basics of spelling and sentence composition.

And Rick, well he is beyond help and hope. Like the stereotypical Wal-Mart customer I'm sad to say.

To think that Wal-Mart is in business for anything other than profit is just nonsense, PROFIT is what business is all about. They do make changes but only when driven to it by either competition or labor laws.

If anyone is wondering, I shop at Wally World because of the prices. Shopping at Wal-Mart is like shopping at Sam's, you need to know what items cost elsewhere before you buy something. Not everything is cheaper and you need to do your homework to save money.

Another thing you need to look for, what's called the Tab by Wal-Mart, the sales circulars. These are NOT the same type of sales circulars that most businesses use. When you look at the prices in them take note to see if it says, "Everyday low price." If it does then that is the price the item sells for all the time and is NOT a sale price.

If you want to save some money while shopping at Wally World then look at the red tag items, these are deleted items that the store NEEDS to move out. Deleted at Wal-Mart simply means it will no longer be sold in the stores or it means a new model has replaced it. The electronics and camera departments can be a source of savings if you buy red tag. Don't just pick an item up and throw it in your buggy though. Talk to the department manager and a lot of times he will lower the tagged price, price override, just to get it out of inventory. Not all managers will but try it anyway because you may get one who will. If he will lower the price then pay for the item in that department to make sure you get the lowered price. Standard store direction allows a 10% reduction and if it's a display then 20% can be taken off. But be careful of the display models. Kids of all ages play with them. Only buy displays when you can be assured of it being backed by warranty and it looks like it's in good condition. If it does break then it's covered.

Oh yes, the new logo, I don't like it. It's too soft looking and Wally is anything but soft.

fred

July 4, 2008 11:31 PM

Walmart is a **** hole that should be closed down!!!

Christa Avampato

July 7, 2008 11:22 AM

I'm not a Wal-Mart fan, though their new logo is a good move for them, especially in these economic times. "Save Money, Live Better" is the hook they have to hang their hat on. It also gives them a decidedly less conservative feel, which in the current political climate, seems appropriate. Now if we'll have to see if they can get their operations to live up to their new logo...

the rest of us

July 10, 2008 11:23 AM

Hey Robin !!!

I prefer to see an authentic comment.

Comments about grammar and spelling should never be a requirement, unless there is some law I don't know about.

I'll take passion over spelling any day.

Marsha, your comments are great!


GSRCrow

July 12, 2008 01:08 AM

Hey I was just curious why you think that Helium and Hydrogen are organic. That is what comprises stars, as well as our sun, you know. They do produce the organic compounds that ultimately comprise all living things but I wouldn't say that they themselves are "organic." Just a thought from a nerd.

Jacii

July 12, 2008 04:40 PM

No Rick, the 6 pointed star is technically a star of David. What you are thinking is the misrepresentation of the pentacle, which was turned upside down and into a sign of bad / evil during the crusades.

Please try to educate yourself before you slander jewish and pagan religions in one fail swoop.

On another note, I like the new logo.

Juanita

July 21, 2008 02:40 PM

I think that the new logo looks good.

Aaron Martin-Colby

July 21, 2008 03:56 PM

The new logo fits the times, but isn't very identifiable. Lots of companies are using simple shapes as logos and they all get mushed together. The ultra-bold 'star' logo was very identifiable.

I assume they're simply relying on their omnipresence to make the logo identifiable.

And perhaps, that may be intentional. Using a kinder, more generic logo to not make people feel and their towns feel steamrolled by a massive, logo-wielding, evil empire of a company.

mike

August 2, 2008 06:23 PM

It's obvious whoever designed and/or approved the new Walmart * logo never read "Breakfast of Champions" by Kurt Vonnegut. Or maybe they did. It's highly appropriate.

jlhughes122

August 29, 2008 11:17 PM

Yeah I liked the old logo. Why change it? Now it looks fruity and hippy. At least with the star in the middle, it seemed slightly pro-America. Hippies and hippy values are taking over...

Elizabeth

October 7, 2008 12:56 AM

I can't believe that WalMart paid Lippincott millions for something that looks remarkedly like a you-know-what hole. You know that this must have crossed the designers mind! I think it is hilarious and would love to see it animated.

Sean

October 29, 2008 11:48 PM

The new logo looks cheap and generic, which I guess is appropriate for the company it represents.

Everyone who thinks they are getting a better price at Walmart should understand that part of the strategy at Walmart is to convince suppliers to lower prices in any possible way. Often suppliers are encouraged to manufacture similar looking products overseas, using inferior methods. At first glance these products seem identical to higher priced products available elsewhere, but do not be deceived. One example is Levi Strauss. Walmart buyers knew that Levi's couldn't sell to the Walmart target customer at the prices they sold for at other major retailers. Levi's, a company which prided itself on being an American manufacturer, was encouraged by Walmart to manufacture a lower end jeans product in China. This became the "Levi Signature" line. These jeans are not American made, and not of a similar quality as the traditional Levi jeans.

This is a common practice at Walmart, not an isolated practice by any means. The bad thing is that most of the products you buy at Walmart will wear out and need replacement far more quickly than the slightly more expensive similar products at competing retailers, such as Target. If you think you are saving money by buying three pairs of jeans for twenty dollars, rather than one pair for forty-five, I suppose that is up to you. The math simply doesn't work. It is a clever scheme by Walmart to price items lower, thereby convincing their customers that they are saving money, but in reality the customer is buying more of the product and spending more in the long run.

Those who believe that Walmart is feeding a poverty class and creating a larger class of poor are, in the end, correct.

Scarlett

November 30, 2008 10:29 PM

Jared "study up" because a five pointed star is heavenly jack**s. The spirit which tops the pentacle is spiritual. a pentacle simply means the elements of life over ruled by spirit contained in a seamless circle meaning unity od our universe. and what's so special about heaven anyway?

Baba

October 2, 2009 07:15 PM

The 6 pointed star is a Kabbalistic magical sign called Soloman's Seal. the logo contains the so called Star of David, and the blue is the Israel Flag blue. So I won't be shopping at Walmart.

Alexis

October 22, 2009 11:41 AM

I like the new type, it's more friendly. But I'm not feeling the new star...or flower...idk what that is.

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