Rebranding Facebook into Meta

Ask any marketer and they will tell you that rebranding a company is tough – and expensive. Once a company’s brand is firmly established, it has a value that carries to the company and all its products/services. Consider that a brand is the position a company holds in the consumer’s mind. State a brand name such as Nike, Tesla, or Google, and a specific image will quickly come to mind.

Let’s try it. “Facebook.” What thoughts and images did you immediately recall?

Now let’s try another name – “Meta.” Any thoughts?

Meta is the new company name for the formerly-known Facebook company. Why the shift? After all, Facebook is already one of the most well-known and valuable brands in the world.

To explain the change, Facebook/Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated it this way: “We are a company that builds technology to connect…. But over time, I hope we are seen as a metaverse company.” The new name is designed to help the company (and its audience) transition from being seen primarily as a social media company into something much broader and more ambitious, encompassing the “metaverse.”

What is the metaverse? The term originated in science fiction from writer Neal Stephenson. It refers to a virtual space where people can do virtually everything from playing games, meeting with friends, attending concerts, and of course buying many different kinds of digital (and physical) goods and services. (Think “Ready Player One” or “Snow Crash.”)

In the past 15 years, Facebook has bought a whopping 78 companies in many areas of technology. The most well-known and valuable acquisitions are Instagram (acquired for $1 billion in 2012), WhatsApp ($19 billion in 2014), and Oculus VR ($2 billion in 2014). These acquisitions have helped the company expand using social media and advanced technology – most geared towards young users. They also set the stage for developing new services into gaming and the metaverse interactions.

Facebook has also been under intense pressure this fall after stories emerged about its calculated social media strategies and toxic handling of Instagram for teenage girls. Other issues that Facebook faces includes antitrust regulations and privacy concerns in the U.S. and Europe.

What does the future metaverse hold for us?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance and value of a strong brand.
  2. Poll students: Should Facebook rebrand? What does ‘metaverse’ mean to them?
  3. Show Meta website:
  4. Ask students to define “metaverse.” What is its appeal to consumers?
  5. View a video from WSJ:
  6. Additional videos are available on Meta’s YouTube channel:
  7. Discuss other corporate rebranding efforts such as Google’s rebrand to Alphabet.
  8. When does rebranding make sense for corporations? When should it be avoided?

Source: Forbes; New York Time; The Verge; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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