Written By Guest Author Claire Carlin (IAPR Graduate)
A corporate identity change or an image shift?
On October 28, 2021, Mark Zuckerberg, founder, and CEO of Facebook Inc., introduced in his Connect event the rebranding to Meta. This reflects the company’s updated vision and purpose, now including two different segments: the “family of apps” and the “future technology”.
In his Founder’s letter, he expressed the shift as a need to reflect the company’s identity and role in the construction of the Metaverse. They will now be “metaverse-first, not Facebook-first”.
While the company’s ambition for an even more connected future is attracting both enthusiasm and criticism, Mark Zuckerberg warned that the metaverse will not be effectively running until after at least a decade of investment and work.
The rationale for re-branding.
The media questions the timing of the rebranding, wondering if it had to happen this early, especially when the company is facing a storm of accusations. Examples include the “Facebook Papers”, Instagram’s impact on teenager’s mental health, etc.
Could the timing of the introduction be more than just a cover-up and change of subject? Is the rebranding an effort to reflect its new identity? Or does the company remain the same and is only conveying ideas and plans that are yet to be established?
When searching for clues, we found a new set of values introduced by Zuckerberg on February 15th, 2022, to enforce Meta’s vision and purpose:
#1 Move Fast
#2 Focus on Long-term impact
#3 Build awesome things
#4 Live in the Future
#5 Be Direct and Respect Your colleagues
#6 Meta, Metamates, Me
Through these, Meta is setting the tone for a new era. It’s imposing itself as a company focused on long-term impacts, moving “fast together” towards its one shared goal, with the individuality of each member set aside to work for the greater cause. These core values draw a line between the old Facebook-focused days and serves as proof of its seriousness in the metaverse quest.
As physical clues, Meta has also unveiled its new logo, a “two-toned blue infinity symbol”, which according to Michael Evamy, author of Logo, “checks a lot of boxes” with its colors and shape inspiring trust and safety, something Meta has yet to work on given its rocky past. The company has also opened its first permanent brick-and-mortar store in California, to showcase its virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) hardware products.
While some physical aspects have changed and will certainly continue to do so, we might remain stuck wondering if the rebranding made sense for the company to set a name in the metaverse’s construction, or if it was more of an image-saving move. We have yet to see concrete evidence of a new identity, beyond its dream of a more connected and safer world. However, that might take years to materialize. For now, the corporate identity change seems to be as uncertain as the metaverse fruition, the two being closely intertwined.
Find Claire Carlin on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/claire-carlin-iapr