"A product is something made in a factory; a brand is something that is bought by the customer. A product can be copied by a competitor; a brand is unique. A product can be quickly outdated; a successful brand is timeless."
Stephen King, WPP Group, London
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is and American multinational corporation. A multinational corporation is an entity that manages production or delivers products in more than one country. So, we can say that Wal-Mart is an international brand. Walt-Mart owns chains of large stores and warehouse stores. It is one of the largest public corporations all over the world and one of the most valuable too. The company holds over a family-owned business. The owner of the brand is the family called Walton. Wal-Mart was founded in 1962.
The brand was registered officially in 1969. Since that moment, it has not stopped growing. At the very beginning, it has around 30 stores in one state of the USA. Nowadays, it has more than 8,000 stores distributed in 15 countries. In the 80s, the company continued to grow rapidly and by 1988, they had stores all over South America. Walt-Mart stores are situated at the top of the market. They have more than 20% of the grocery business control. In 2010, the company bought a firm called Vudu. That way, they got into the Silicon Valley. What the Silicon Valley is? It is a region of San Francisco and it is the biggest high-tech manufacturing center in the United States. This means that Wal-Mart stood at the hearth of business in the USA.
The brand is not only perfectly located and situated but it has also a stand on the brand life cycle. But, what a brand life cycle is? It is a model developed in the 90s. It was designed to help companies know how brands are positioned and the strategies they may need. The stages are: product development, introduction, birth of the brand, growth of the brand, maturity and decline. Below, you can find a graphic that shows this particular brand’s cycle.
As it has been said before, the products were first introduced to market and there the product development started. In 1962, Walton opened the first Wal-Mart Discount City store. Within seven years, the company expanded to more than 20 stores and reached millions and millions in sales, approximately 10 million dollars.
Then, the birth of the brand occurred seven years later. The publicity campaigns were launched to promote the product and as it functioned very well the attract customers made the brand grew buying or trying the products/services offered. After that, the brand started to build up. The company was incorporated officially as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in 1969. It stated as a trading stock company. Months later, the strategies began to work and Wal-Mart became a stock-split company.
The last step of the cycle is the decline of the brand. The brand awareness is very high but the sales are very low (falling prices, new products on the market, competitiveness). Knowing all of these steps of the cycle, we are able to say that Wal-Mart Inc. is situated at the MATURITY STATE of the brand’s growth. What does it mean? The brand has a market share and has reached their sales peak. They are a very well-known company all over the world and their sales are doing fine. This also means that they have a lot of influence and the marketing strategies are still working efficiently.
According to the brand cycle, the brand has become into a ‘global brand’. It has started as a trademark, then a product brand, category brand, experience brand and corporate brand. It has expanded globally to become a geographically dominant company.
As a conclusion, we may say that Walt-Mart has gone through every stage of the market growths to become one of the most important companies all over the world. It is a brand which is going on the maturity of the process. The global brand is at the top the brand life cycle so their marketing strategies and sales are at the best moment ever. Hopefully, it can takes decades to arrive at the decline stage of the a brand.