Why Brand Names Change: Facebook becomes Meta

October 31, 2021

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After a busy week, I have finally had a moment to reflect on the Facebook holding company changing its name to Meta.

Brand names, once adopted, are difficult to change, especially when the name is as ubiquitous as Facebook. However, the time was ripe and there were several reasons for Facebook to do this finally.  

Here’s my take on this.

1. What they’re saying:

The strategic shift of the business towards building a social technology company and leading the foray into building a metaverse. When your holding company expands its offerings significantly beyond the product, it becomes imperative for the brand name to reflect the overarching strategy.

Other Examples:

Google > Alphabet, to represent the super-set of capabilities that the company has built in addition to the Google search engine.

Apple Computer > Apple, Inc., dropping the computer to showcase the expanding portfolio of products for the business.

2. The obvious reason:  

The negative connotation of the Facebook brand. The challenges the company has faced with data privacy issues, inability to police hate groups and the platforms being damaging to teens (especially girls), are all bearing down on the parent brand. The societal pressure on Facebook is high and the hope is that the new brand name will reduce some of the impact of these associations.

Other Examples:

Philip Morris > Altria

GMAC > Ally

3. What we’re not thinking:

A fresh start. The company hopes to give itself a fresh start with a new name – breathing a new life into an old engine. Facebook brand name has been associated with the aging Facebook platform, while TikTok & Instagram are the younger, more vibrant counterparts.

Other Examples:

Comcast > Xfinity

Time Warner Cable > Spectrum

What are your thoughts on this brand shift? Let us know!

Written by Isha Vyas
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