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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.
What comes next? The Bloomberg Businessweek Innovation and Design blog chronicles new tools for creativity and collaboration, innovation case studies in both the corporate and social sectors, and the new ideas that have the power to change the way things have always been done.