Sam Walton's 1993 Autobiography

Sam Walton's 1993 Autobiography

The folks at Walmart have been working hard to improve their image of late. They’ve pumped up their public relations, hooked up with environmental advocates and launched appealing new ads with the help of The Martin Agency. The work is beginning to take hold, but as the deepening economic crisis casts shadows on the U.S. economy, Walmart may have an opportunity to take a giant leap forward with their brand. 

Imagine if Walmart announced a decision to work with its manufacturers to move 20% of their production back to the U.S. within five years. It would be a private economic stimulus that would have a huge impact on the economy and the brand.

Walmart would have no problem arranging a press conference with President Obama – the press would be filled with quotes from grateful consumers – and the actions might inspire companies like Target and Home Depot to follow suit. Goods sold under the program could be showcased under “Made in the USA” signs. And while consumers might pay slightly more for these products, they’d be contributing to bringing jobs back to their hometowns.

Walmart’s significant economic power could really make a difference in increasing employment and jump-starting a recovery, which would lead to stronger sales and a higher stock price. Think of it as a virtuous cycle that results in passionate admiration of the brand.

Am I dreaming the impossible dream? Maybe, but Walmart is working hard to reclaim the legacy created by Sam Walton, a man who titled his autobiography “Made in America.” In his time, Walton encouraged his company to buy domestically made goods and consumers rewarded the company for it. What a powerful statement it would make for the brand to signal its commitment to the consumers who buy its goods, by buying theirs.