No, I am not endorsing Walmart here. In fact I am not endorsing anyone via my blogs. I tend to have a strong liking for companies that are well run, by strong leaders, have a solid vision, are fiercely competitive and make my life easy – Apple and Starbucks are just some of those. And although Walmart is not really making my life easy, they claim to do so for many millions – by saving money and helping people live better.
Walmart’s latest ad features a truck driver claiming to make people’s life better by taking the shortest routes that serve the maximum number of Walmart stores in the most fuel effective way possible – thus reducing supply chain overheads, and that is how they offer lower prices on products. I am sure some fancy supply chain management consultant firm designed these strategies for Walmart and some even more fancy media firms capitalized on these words and wove a touchy message to woo the viewers.
Being curious is my second nature, so I just did a Google search for “save money, live better” phrase and found out that Walmart changed its tag line from “Always Low Prices,” to “Save Money. Live Better” in 2007. Pretty recent.
Another link that appears in search results for this phrase, was this report submitted by an independent organization, under the name of Walmart Watch. You can read the report here – http://walmartwatch.com/img/blog/state_tax_avoidance.pdf. In short – in many states the retail giant has been paying rent to itself and then deducting those amounts from its state taxes. Thus, Walmart, upon recommendation from Ernst & Young, has been capitalizing on one of the biggest tax loophole that the federal government closed years ago. As per this report, Walmart did this in 25 states across the country for almost a decade.
The proximity of these search results was purely coincidental – and their content seemed to be a perfect example of Cause and Effect relation – the relationship between two things when one thing makes something else happen. Simply put, when the world unveils your misdeeds, you should resort to philanthropy.
Toyota on the other hand handled a very similar situation very gracefully. Their latest blunder of Lexus and Prius recalls did not make them resort to cheap marketing gimmicks – they simple apologized via their TV ads and re-assured people about their quality and manufacturing excellence. This is how a true leader differs from a fake one- accepting your flaw is a part of growing up.
Now let us wait for BP’s philanthropic spirit to come out in exuberance in the near future.