The behemoth everyone loves to hate has changed its corporate identity. Its name is no longer the choppy, aspirated Wal-Mart; it’s the smooth, mellifluous Walmart. Its logo now employs a minimalist orange starburst at the end of a more fluid sentence case wordmark instead of a literal star between all caps.
When I read about this change
, I assumed the new design would be a lame attempt to put lipstick on the pig that actually achieved its goal of selling 100 million CFLs during 2007 in only 10 months
But you know what? I was wrong. The mark’s not bleeding edge, but then again neither is Walmart. What it is is current. Not a dramatic departure, to be sure, but an effective communication of a new idea
The wordmark shows me a kinder, friendlier Walmart
The bug makes me think of sunshine, energy, and ideas.
To make the bug green would have been too clever by half, but orange…orange just might be crazy enough to work.
The identity change has just begun
, of course. No stores have the new logo out front yet. The new identity is on the company’s homepage, but not in the corporate site’s header. In some places the company references Walmart, but in others Wal-Mart persists.
We get it – it’s not easy changing identities if you have over 7000 locations worldwide and have to create HR paperwork for 2 million employees. That's a lot of signs and stationery.
And what about changing the stakeholder experiences that really shape your brand
? A few years from now, once the new logo is on all stores, trucks, and customer comment cards, will Walmart have delivered on the second part of its new promise: “Save Money. Live Better.”
? (the new line launched last year to replace the more mundane “Always Low Prices. Always.”)
The logo helps communicate, but a logo can’t deliver. Neither can a tagline. That’s up to the company. Delivering means helping people to really live better. Not just by giving them incrementally more disposable income to spend at stores, but by helping customers consume more sustainably. By positively impacting the communities Walmart touches. By acting like the company of the future
they aspire to become. That’s not a matter of design. It’s a matter of behavior, and a culture that supports that behavior
. And that’s the hard part of building a brand. Compared to that, changing a logo across 7000 international retail locations is nothing.