Enter the social media company that was previously known as Facebook. They announced recently that it will now be known as Meta going forward.
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Facebook has changed its title to Meta because it is focusing exclusively on virtual reality. Founder Mark Zuckerberg said it will pivot its experience toward the “metaverse,” a science-fiction-based expansion of the Internet through virtual reality.
Focus on Meta
The name change, as well as the new focus on business, show Meta officials working to unify the company’s portfolio, including Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus. This will create a more coherent offering, as experts suggest they are trying to attract investors and fresh talent.
“Now we’ve got a new North Star,” Zuckerberg declared during the announcement on Thursday. “From the moment onwards we’ll be the first to enter the metaverse. We’re not going to be Facebook first.”
However, it is possible that the Facebook and Zuckerberg brand names could be difficult to modify, especially after an anonymous whistleblower gave regulators thousands of internal documents. They prove that the founder of the company and Facebook prioritized profit over engagement. And the safety of its users.
Why Companies Change Their Names
The majority of companies change their names when they’re expanding to an entirely new, clearly defined area of business. The process of renaming requires massive amounts of legal and financial resources. And it’s most likely to succeed when a company quickly and systematically shifts away from its previous products to new ones.
Now Meta is facing the challenge of convincing customers, employees, and investors that it really is more than just social media for business and that its new, overarching image will act differently and is not just a cosmetic solution to its burgeoning reputational issues.
“The biggest opportunity for them is to streamline the branding structure and demonstrate that they’re moving in a different path,” said Manfredi Ricca, who is the global chief strategist for the consulting firm Interbrand. “The biggest risk is that the fact that nothing is changing.”
Listed below are two other notable corporate brand transformations and how they compare to Facebook’s name change.
Andersen Consulting Becomes Accenture — 2001
Andersen Consulting changed its name, as it was legally required to do so following its separation from sister companies Andersen Worldwide and Arthur Andersen.
However, the change to Accenture is welcomed by branding experts as the new standard, Adamson said. Accenture is a catchy name that is always helpful. However, the executives of the newly branded firm quickly outspent their competitors in advertising, making Accenture an iconic brand, Adamson said.
People perceived the Andersen businesses as old-fashioned accounting companies. Accenture was a firm that embraced its 21st-century history. It claimed to be an innovative competitor to the powerful rivals McKinsey as well as Booz Allen Hamilton.
“Arthur Andersen’s branding was about accounting. It was meant to tell you what had already occurred,” Adamson said. “Consulting will tell you what’s coming in the near future.”
Google Transforms into Alphabet — 2015
The most popular search engine in the world began actively expanding into other technological products and services: Android smartphone, Waymo autonomous electric vehicles, Calico life sciences, and many more.
The Google brand name was too confining. It required a storage vessel that could tell investors that Google is more than simply typing an item into a search box. The Alphabet name has meaning also. The Alphabet is the basis of the language and is the search engine’s origins, Google founder Larry Page said. It’s also a reference to Google’s “bets” on innovative technologies that can generate “alphas,” or returns over the investments.
Ricca said that the Alphabet name has performed its job. It’s a solid brand that attracts investors and provides its subsidiaries the ability to unite themes. In the ideal circumstances for Facebook, it’s Meta brand will follow the same pattern.
How Facebook Affects Your Feed
“To the investors, you’re looking for a higher multiplier telling them that, as an institution, we’re heading to a new future with lower risks and better chances than the present business as it is,” Ricca said. “A new name to show what’s essential. You’re trying to utilize the name to convey the investors a more compelling story.”
People change their names all the time. They do this for many reasons.
Some are hiding. Some want to start a new life. Then there are those who receive messages from the “spirit” or interplanetary communications. These folks change their brand out of delusion. Companies are no different. They may have the most sound and practical reasons to do so or their upper management may just be hearing voices. The proof, as always, is within the bottom line.