The Facebook Rebrand Will Be an Epic Fail



Well, after numerous rumors the change was impending, Facebook has launched a new umbrella company/brand name, “Meta.” The change is being positioned as a way to expand the company beyond social media. It would be very strange indeed if Zuck weren’t hoping a rebrand might lessen the heat of the company’s historically horrible publicity.

The problem with umbrella brands, and rebranding in general, is that rebranding is almost always a pointless waste of time.

This is certainly true of umbrella brands, as evidenced by Google’s attempt to rebrand itself as Alphabet. While the financial reports use the new company name, it’s just not sticking in real life. Everyone calls the company Google and will probably continue to do so in saecula saeculorum, amen.

Rebranding in general is usually, at best, a pointless exercise and, at worst, a publicity disaster. Some rebrands simply crash and burn:

  • Netflix to Qwikster. The company wanted to separate its DVD-rental business from its streaming business. It immediately failed because stupid.
  • Pizza Hut to The Hut. The company wanted to serve more than pizzas. Why anyone would want to go to a “hut” to eat is a total mystery.
  • Radio Shack to The Shack. Why do I think Radio Shack hired the same ad agency that tried to rebrand Pizza Hut? And why buy anything from a shack?
  • Boston Chicken to Boston Market. I guess they wanted to sell more than chickens, but isn’t a “market” something bigger than 1/20th of a strip mall?

Other rebrands are simply pointless:

  • Dunkin’ Donuts to Dunkin’. Everybody who sees a “Dunkin'” sign in front of the donut outlet is just going to think somebody screwed up the sign.
  • Xerox to Xerox: The Document Company. The company spent decades and untold dollars to convince people that a xerox wasn’t really a xerox.
  • Chevrolet/Chevy to (only) Chevrolet. General Motors has for years been trying to get people to stop saying “Chevy.” Good luck with that.
  • SciFi Channel to Syfy. This was because they couldn’t trademark SciFi, but I’ll bet some marketing dweeb just thought Syfy looked cooler.
  • Kraft to Kraft Foods. I mean, who really gives a flying …
  • Kleenex to Kleenex Brand Tissues. [eye roll]

No matter what new names the company comes up with, the name Facebook will remain forever ensconced in the collective intelligence as the company that screwed up the internet.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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