Walmart* Rebrand… What’s Taking So Long?

January 11, 2011 - 5:17 pm

In June of 2008, Walmart* unveiled its new brand identity, designed by Lippincott. At the time, the brandmark was generally not well received. Some speculated that the ‘starburst’ symbol was more reminiscent of an asterisk, a sphincter, or a bursting Target bubble.


Regardless of the initial reactions, the new brand has continued to be applied to Walmart* contexts and advertising. Notably, however, there are many Walmart* stores and many, many Walmart* trucks that still retain the old brand signature.

Why is this? Why after two and a half years would the largest retailer in the world allow its old brand to retain such a visible presence on the American landscape? Two possible explanations include:

The Great Recession.
Times have been tough for many since the downturn. Though its usually thought of as being recession-proof, perhaps Walmart* has trimmed its rebranding implementation budget to focus on other things? Implementing a new brand across an enterprise like Walmart* is a massive and expensive proposition to be sure.

Lack of Conviction.
Given the overall lukewarm reception of the new identity, is it possible that the Walmart* management team is looking for a new solution or evolution of the mark? Perhaps it hasn’t caught fire the way they had hoped, or perhaps there was never overwhelming buy-in for the new logo from the beginning.

walmart old logoIt takes guts and determination and total commitment to implement a new brand for any existing company, even more so for Mega Brands such as Walmart*. The truly great and successful rebranding initiatives happen with more urgency and energy and excitement than are apparent with this ‘new’ identity system launch. Given the long time it has been since the logo was first announced and the fact that many stores and trucks still languish with the old logo suggest that the latter explanation may be the more likely scenario.