The social media company is focusing on its future growth plans rather than getting its house in order, say experts who think the change will not impact the company’s individual brands.
On October 28, Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebranding of Facebook Inc. as Meta, to include both the company's "social experiences and future technology" focus.
The new identity is meant to reflect the company’s increasing focus on building a ‘metaverse’ and other next-gen tech. The metaverse is a digital world where people can move between different devices and communicate in a virtual environment. Facebook Inc's (now Meta's) CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been trying to make 'metaverse' the next buzzword in the world of technology and communication. The company has already put billions of dollars in virtual reality and augmented reality, developing hardware such as its Oculus VR headsets, working on AR glasses and wristband technologies.
So, what’s the hot take on the new brand?
Senior advertising executives, design and digital specialists that Storyboard spoke to say Meta’s primary attempt would be to demystify the technology to its user base without changing anything about its individual brands.
Ashwini Deshpande, co-founder and director, Elephant Design, a Pune-based strategic design & innovation consultancy, says, "It makes absolute sense for Facebook to become a house of brands." She believes changing the parent brand name was a "logical step that mitigates risks" of individual apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and others.
The company name Meta wouldn’t change the lives of the users on these apps, she adds. However, "It would be an attractive space for innovators as well as investors," says Deshpande.
The Meta View
Speaking specifically about Facebook's new identity - Meta, Rayomand J Patell, the chief creative officer of Idealake, thinks ‘Meta’ fits in well with the company’s new direction. "One of the founding principles of the net was to connect people and minds. From the earliest days of text-based bulletin boards to Star Wars, where we’ve seen holograms of people talking to each other one way or the other... while that's science fiction, using technology to connect people is what Meta’s stated ambition is," he explains. Meta, in the long run, will represent, "an aggregation of services and tech that builds a universe," says Patell.
Not a quick fix
Across the world, the social media giant has been facing intense criticism and scrutiny from regulators, lawmakers and the public for its practices and impact on people, communities and countries. Will the company’s brand refresh help fix some of the cracks in its brand?
Kunel Gaur, founder and creative director of independent creative shop Animal, says, "In the midst of scrutiny and a call for decentralisation of the opaque conglomerate, they decide to do the exact opposite. Solidify and cement all their existing entities 'inwards' and call it Meta." Gaur also thinks the identity itself is dated, and "a sad reminder of the most used symbol in branding history, starting from the nineties, just with better graphics and visualisation."
On the other hand, Omkar Joshi, founder and chief creative officer of the digital-first consulting shop, hybrid>, thinks that, for the company, “future growth plans” is more important than “getting their house in order.” He adds, for the “long term this will prove to be a smart move because while the name Facebook might be targeted and hated, Meta is no longer connected to that legacy."
While the jokes and memes have started doing the rounds, Gaur concludes, Facebook will succeed "because of hard and sheer capital but not in creating a culture around the future of the Internet and all the promise it brings to us."
(Edited by : Jomy Jos Pullokaran)