Facebook’s Rebrand Has a Basic Problem
Last week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that his company was changing its name to Meta.
But the most important problem with this brand redesign is that the new model is introduced without major changes to the company.
Zuckerberg described the reconstruction of the name when speaking at the company’s event, Facebook Connect, saying, “It’s time to adopt a new type of company that incorporates everything we do.” But, that is not true. The post-Meta view is still just that: a view. At the moment, social media is always the backbone of a company’s operations and revenue. By adopting a brand name based on potential future power and stage and brands, with Zuckerberg’s approval, which may not be established for nearly a decade, the company sets itself up to confuse people at its best; worst of all, it will disappoint people and reduce their confidence in the company.
Not surprisingly, Facebook could take this strategy; many companies do. When business leaders seek to change the ownership of their company or to restructure their business, they often resort to external messaging and communication first – a new name, a new logo, an advertising campaign. This is because these types of high-level changes are easy to make; it is very difficult to make real changes in the business and corporate culture.
There may have been a time when the business transformation was successful in changing public perception. Today’s customers are very knowledgeable. They should be given something very different or see problems with credible evidence resolved before they can believe that the company has really changed. They want authenticity in the companies in which they do business, and expect companies to be within what they claim to be on the outside.
By adopting a new name, Facebook may be trying to say that it is developing new technologies that connect people in new and exciting ways. But in reality, it is a company that creates and promotes products that can be harmful, that keeps the culture of the working class ineffective, and loses the trust of its customers. He had to wait until he had these problems, and more importantly, set himself up as a provider of metaverse products or applications before announcing a new version.
That is what Google did when its business was renamed Alphabet in 2015. Over the years leading up to the change, Google’s business had grown beyond its search engine output. By the time the company adopted its new name, it was already a technology organization that integrated many companies with products including non-motorized vehicles, medical equipment, and smart home appliances. As a result, product modification not only made sense but also effectively reduced mergers between Google and its sister companies, protecting Google from public concerns about emerging technologies (“terrible” drones, dangerous private vehicles, etc.) and protecting other businesses on the Wall Street Profit expectations set out by Google.
Without its new name, Facebook cannot successfully make any distinction between its telecommunications business and metaverse and other developments because these days are still young.
Of course, not all companies rely on word processing to improve their public image. Consider Microsoft changes. When CEO Satya Nadella began restructuring the company and talking to its critics, the company adopted AI strategies, cell phones, and clouds; opened partnerships (e.g., Linux); gains pursued by violence (e.g., LinkedIn); and using digital transformation in all its activities. Most importantly, Nadella has transformed the company’s culture from one that is characterized by struggle and inertia to a thriving learning organization in partnership with customer satisfaction. And yet, Microsoft has not felt the need to change its name or launch any kind of organizational initiative to promote change. Instead, it relies on its operational and cultural changes to revitalize its business and transform public opinion. There is no indication that anything similar is being spread on Facebook.
Many people refer to a product as a promise, but the token must be the promise delivered. In its quest for innovation, Facebook is making unseen promises that it can now make.