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Small Biz: Change Your Logo Like Wal-Mart?

When you're the country's biggest retailer, everything you do gets analyzed obsessively.

So it's no surprise that when Wal-Mart (WMT) debuted a new logo this week, marketing and design experts began decoding the meaning behind it.

If your small business is considering redoing its logo, you could take a lesson from what everyone's saying about the change from the Arkansas-based behemoth.

For instance, a logo alone won't reinvigorate your company. But, as in the case of Wal-Mart, it can be an important step in an overall transformation.

The key is to show that there's some substance behind your new look.

Wal-Mart's logo has changed a few times during the company's almost 50-year history (in the '60s and '70s, it featured a black, Old West-style font). Since 1992, the name has been emblazoned on storefronts in blocky white capital letters, separated by a star.

The new logo takes a less in-your-face approach. Gone are the forceful capital letters, replaced by a more casual, rounded lowercase font. The word "Walmart" now runs together without interruption; instead of a star in the middle, there's a bright yellow something (a star? the sun? a flower?) at the end.

The company itself has been cagy about what the new look is supposed to represent. A press release describes the updated logo as "a reflection of the refresh taking place inside our stores and our renewed sense of purpose to help people save money so they can live better." (No word on what the yellow thing is.)

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