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Why has Facebook’s official name changed, and what does it mean for you?

So, after the past couple of years, does anything really shock us? Don’t stay at home, stay at home, don’t go shopping but if you need to, go shopping. After what can only be described as a period of mass confusion, it seems that 2021 isn’t finished with us yet. Enter the frame, Facebook, or more specifically, Mark Zuckerberg and the boffins at Facebook HQ.

So what is it? We’ve heard the noises, but what do they appear from a cloud of smoke with? Is it a plaster for the seemingly ongoing problems? No. Is it a new platform or some kind of game-changing ideology? No, wrong again. It’s, it’s Meta, whatever that means.

In an almost unbelievable Kanye West style name change, Facebook now wants to be known as Meta, and who are we to say no?

What about my relationship with the little blue icon?

Well, Zuckerberg also announced that the app as we know it isn’t changing, so no need to start worrying just yet. The social media platform will remain under the name of Facebook whilst the umbrella company becomes Meta, and honestly, it sort of makes sense…

So why Meta?

Before we get into the whole Metaverse conversation, which has become Mark Zuckerberg’s catchphrase overnight, let’s look at the Facebook brand.

It’s easy to just think of Facebook as the app we know and love, but that isn’t the case in reality. The company believes that the name no longer reflects everything they do, and of course, they’d be right. Just think of what you know, Whatsapp, Instagram, VR platform Oculus, none of which have Facebook in their name, although the blue app that started it all has its thumbs in every pie.

On to the metaverse

So, here’s Zuckerberg’s big bet. Within his keynote presentation, The Zuck, as he’s affectionately known (especially if you’ve watched the Social Network film) is putting more of his eggs in the metaverse basket, which is why the rebranding to Meta is so crucial for the company.

He went on to stress that he believes that to secure the future of the brand Facebook, they will have to allow their users to interact, hang out and cooperate in a virtual environment. This highlights why the term ‘Metaverse’ was so widely used throughout the keynote presentation.

During the speech, Zuckerberg went on to show how an employee may appear in a meeting as a hologram and how people could play games with friends purely through the implementation of VR.

“We believe the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet. We’ll be able to feel present — like we’re right there with people — no matter how far apart we actually are.”

Whilst all of this is incredibly exciting, Meta didn’t go on to show any actual movements in technology towards this very futuristic approach. So, judge it as you will, but the whole thing felt a little bit like a shot in the dark and a bit of forward-thinking speculation by Zuckerberg, time will tell if these grand ideas work out for Meta.

It’s hard to ignore the move and the suggestions made by one of the world’s leading lights in the technological sector. However, without any tangible developments, all we have to get excited about is a new name, and that’s not really going to cut the mustard, is it!

Could there be other reasons?

Well, despite the ninety minutes of the Zuck, we were all left a little bemused by the purpose of the keynote presentation. Which, of course, meant that the masses were going to look into the whole thing with a little more scepticism. So, could there really be another reason behind the change of name?

The truth is, whether they wish to acknowledge it or not, as the world has moved on around them, Facebook is probably at its weakest as a brand. As other platforms have emerged, with audiences looking for something more nourishing, Facebook has been reasonably static.

In recent months, we’ve had countless issues. Including the global blackout at the start of the month, which meant brands potentially losing heaps of revenue and sales. There have also been numerous privacy issues that were highlighted by the fallout with Apple’s new iOS earlier in the year, has there ever been a better time for a rebrand? Probably not!

Most concerningly for the overarching brand Facebook, is that the app’s growth as we know it is slowing down rather rapidly. As the audience who use Facebook become older, there are obvious concerns amongst those in power at HQ. Our mums and nans love Facebook, but that isn’t the target market; unfortunately, Facebook and a biscuit aren’t what Zuckerberg is looking for.

There’s also the worry that the other globally powerful social media brands associated with Facebook will become tarnished for their failings. For example, as the criticism has been poured onto the app itself for the way it mismanages data through its algorithm, the same angered clientele could end up boycotting Instagram and Whatsapp in the same breath.

Instagram doesn’t share divisive news in the same manner that Facebook does, and so this rebrand could protect some of these other assets whilst attempting to put out the flames within the app itself.

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What we believe we’re seeing here is a combination of all the factors mentioned above. We see Mark Zuckerberg, who undoubtedly has an eye for these sorts of things, making a prediction that most can buy into and could support. At the same time, as a branding agency, we can’t help but look beyond the rebrand as a means to protect other entities and move the public attention away from their platforms.

A rebrand is something that a business of any size can benefit from, whether strategic or for something fresh and modernised. Branding is one of our strongest suits at Create8, and we enjoy a challenging project to get our teeth into. So, if you think that a branding project with us could help your business on the path to success, contact us today.

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