As we all know, over time things have changed in many markets. Strategy is key for businesses to stay in the game of making money and keeping its customers. Walmart is a perfect example of things changing while remaining successful as time progresses, and for a reason of course. Walmart, founded by Mr. Sam Walton, utilized multiple strategies throughout the years that have allowed them to become successful. The questions posed: was it the right decision to change Walmart’s tagline of “Always Low Prices, Always”? I feel that in order to discuss this first I must be informed as much as possible about what a tagline is. “A tagline should represent your business; a distillation of your corporate values and identity into a pithy phrase that you can reinforce your brand and stress the differences between yourself and your competitors as well as what makes your business valuable to you customers”. It is in my opinion the tagline of “Always Low Prices. Always” should have changed and mostly because of strategy and market research. As learned in Module, value proposition is an important strategic key in developing a marking plan to provide solutions to the consumer. Doing the necessary research is important to stay on the rise in any economic condition. The importance of these elements is what I feel Walmart utilized allowing them to be successful in any economic condition.
Upon delving into the history of Walmart, I am pretty impressed with what the company has accomplished over time. When Walmart’s founder, Sam Walton started this company, he took a lot of risk by decreasing his share of profits to provide value to its customers at the same time. This was a particular strategy that other companies were not performing. At this time, Mr. Walton wanted to stand out to his customers amongst his competition by doing something different and giving them a tagline of “Always Low Prices. Always”, established in 1992. It was the research that Mr. Walton performed that allowed him to know that his customers would be attracted to his business. Mr. Walton also knew that having a direct tagline, promising “always” gives the customer a sense of control and choice but more importantly they could depend on that tagline as a promise. Certainly, it was the brands personality that created a sense of excitement that now the consumer had a much better option than the ordinary.
At this time period, Mr. Walton’s move was exceptionally smart because no other competitor did such a thing and customers now knew that they should check Walmart first before other retailers, according to. The addition of this campaign, this challenged other retailers to find a way to keep up giving Walmart separation from its competitors and the spot light shine. As a customer, we look for the value in a product for the least amount possible. This feeling makes us feel like we are getting a deal because of their perceived value. Usually, if providing consistent value to the customer, you may see customer display loyalty. As a direct result in lowering prices and providing the customers value at the same time gives reason for consumers to want to return for great deals. Customers can check Walmart before going to any other store or competitor knowing they are getting the lowest price possible. However, this changed in the early 2000’s in which several complaints of employee wage and working conditions being far below standard or even hazardous to their health. Lawsuits were delivered up and threating statistics affected communities in the area of Walmart’s built within 10 years. Affecting communities, tarnishing the pockets of their employees and their families, and hazardous environmental conditions destroyed the relationship between Walmart and all parties in association, despite itself. Even though the company was still powerful, it was apparent that consumers and employees alike, took their business elsewhere. This bad publicity rang the alarm to other competitors like Target who then decided to take action and seek ways to get those rejected customers. They also realized that the implementation of strategy and research again was necessary at this crucial moment. Making adjustments to their stores allowed customers to seek refuge in Targets brightly lit and wide aisles. Learning from the mistakes of another company was crucial strategy in Targets’ move to take some of Walmart’s customer base as learned in Module 2.
Staying current with researching what others companies are doing to provide value to its customers was very important here. In 2007 Walmart introduced its new tagline of “Save Money. Live Better”. This attempt to regroup and rebrand explained Walmart’s new mission, saving its customers money as well as aligning with better life morals. “A good tagline helps set you apart from other companies that provide similar products”. I feel this step of changing its tagline was a noble move but not only that, the company changed many things across is business structure. New environmental infrastructure was in consideration in the form of recycled parts to support a “green” initiative. Walmart payed attention to a new environmental trend as consumers wanted to protect its environment. Decreasing energy costs and consumption was another answer to a question consumers may have not even been aware of, unexpressed needs. Aligning itself with its customers’ morals was especially smart because now the customers that shop there will feel like they are shopping in a business that has the same considerations as them, even the one that they don’t express. Paying attention to your customer’s values and needs is important to a customer because they feel like they are being heard. The same applies to its employees, around this same rebranding period, Walmart also introduced 401k retirement plans for their employees, providing them with more incentives than they had in the past.
These changes unveiled a new face to Walmart. This was an opportunity to say, we have listened and heard what we could have done better. The change of the tagline also allowed consumer and employees alike to see what Walmart has done for them by announcing the new reform initiatives. As addressed and analyzed each element of change affected both consumers and employees. The term “Save money”, which was the original clincher that motivated their customers originally, ensured that Walmart was still focusing on providing value at a low cost. Understanding your target based on different socioeconomic factors is key here. As read in Module 6, there are different social groups all affected by the current economic depression. Being transparent about this specific economic decline was a way to connect to other social classes, specifically those affected financially. Saving money is under the consideration of consumer social classes; some families under the poverty line can still be able to enjoy products at a lower cost especially during a recession. Understanding that there are needs for the families under the poverty line, Walmart here continues to provide to its employees as well by changing the amount paid to its employees and providing things like retirement accounts. (3) The implication “Live Better” was also a great part of its rebranding, eluding to life will be better or healthier with products introduced with a healthy initiative. With its implementation of a “green” initiative, Walmart now had a tagline that represented its business and corporate values. In all, the implementation of the tagline is communication with the customers and employees, “Taglines actually fulfill a very important purpose: they let you quickly and efficiently sum up what your company is all about.” (4) It was through market research, comparing themselves to its competitors and the revision of strategy that allowed Walmart to stay on the rise in the midst of any economy weak or strong. Instead of reacting immediately it evaluated options and figured out what areas need improvement could provide to all affected parties.
In conclusion, Walmart had some challenges that it overcame. The company’s poise allowed it to take some time to research areas of complaints. The rebranding tagline was necessary to change its customers and employees mind about who Walmart really was and to express its morals values clearly. The original tagline didn’t represent the company well and the introduction of the new tagline also came with some new operational changes and exploitation of its values creating transparency. It allowed the company to remain successful during a depression through the administration of research from the media as well as its competitors.