In business, as with all things, change is inevitable. Over time, a company may opt to be identified by a specific product or service; alternatively, it may seek more ambiguity in its brand to avoid being pigeonholed by one thing. Brands evolve over time, but directionless changes can hurt more than they help: indeed, when it comes to branding, there’s a fine line between changing enough to stay current and keeping enough to stay recognizable. Today, we’ll take a look at four components to evaluate when thinking of rebranding your business, through the lens of the most recent large-scale example of this: Meta.
Before anything else, it is important to assess why you think a rebrand is necessary. Have your goals, visions or services changed? Do you have, or wish to have, a new target audience? If you’re struggling to find an answer, then a rebrand may not be the right call. Brands establish consistent, recognizable identities, so big changes without a clear purpose could confuse or alienate your customers. Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive of Meta Platforms, Inc. (formerly Facebook, Inc.), says his vision is to redirect his corporation’s focus to the virtual reality sector. As such, the decision to rebrand is logical – the company is changing gears, and a rebrand can be a good way to reflect this.
If you’ve determined that you have a good reason to rebrand, you’ll next want to consider which elements of your brand should be updated. Maybe your logo just needs a refresh, or maybe a new tone of writing is appropriate for your marketing efforts. Meta Platforms, Inc. made the dramatic decision to overhaul the company’s visual branding, as well as its name. Facebook has long been recognized as a social media network, and more recently, as the parent company for a conglomerate of acquired connectivity platforms. The original social site and its umbrella company shared a name, which created “confusion and awkwardness,” in Zuckerberg’s words. The new name, Meta, is intended to alleviate this confusion and reflect the future of the brand (referencing its proposed virtual world, The Metaverse.) Changing your brand name is a drastic measure which demands adjustment from your existing customer base but can be an effective tactic when it reflects equally drastic changes in your company.
So, you’ve determined why you want to rebrand your business and which elements need to be updated. Before you go any further, now is the time to do some research. It is critical to ensure that the ideas you have in mind do not infringe upon any existing trademarks before you commit to a rebranding strategy: needless to say, it’s not a great look for your freshly rebranded company to face the threat of a lawsuit. Unfortunately, this is the exact scenario in which Meta currently finds itself. The new name for Zuckerberg’s company could potentially violate a pending trademark application that was filed earlier this year by Arizona-based company Meta PC. With proper research and due diligence, Meta Platforms, Inc. could have circumvented the negative press surrounding its alleged trademark infringements which now cast a shadow over its rebranding efforts.
Lastly, timing plays a key role in deciding whether or not to rebrand. It’s important to consider the social climate, the sentiments of your target demographics, and your company’s existing reputation. For Meta, the timing is less than ideal. The former Facebook, Inc. has been under scrutiny recently, after internal documents were leaked calling into question whether its social media apps are being used for more harm than good. Zuckerberg states that he’s thought of rebranding since his acquisitions in the early 2010’s, but critics question whether this is an attempt to distance his new ventures from Facebook’s existing allegations. Time will tell if this will backfire on Meta, but it reminds us that gauging the climate surrounding your company is critical before making any big branding decisions.
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