Social media marketing

Facebook Name Change Is Example Of Marketing Tactic Used By Companies Under Fire – Forbes


This illustration photo taken in Los Angeles on October 28, 2021, shows a person using Facebook on a … [+] smartphone in front of a computer screen showing the META logo. – Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday announced the parent company’s name is being changed to “Meta” to represent a future beyond just its troubled social network. The new handle comes as the social media giant tries to fend off one its worst crises yet and pivot to its ambitions for the “metaverse” virtual reality version of the internet that the tech giant sees as the future. (Photo by Chris DELMAS / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that the company has changed its name to Meta — Greek for “beyond” —is an example of a marketing tactic that has been used to divert attention from an organization that has received negative publicity and is confronting a crisis situation.
It’s doubtful, however, that the name change will do anything to help alleviate any of the crises or controversies now confronting the company.
Mark Bayer, president of Bayer Strategic Consulting, noted that, “A name change now—when Facebook is under intense scrutiny—reinforces the perception the company is trying to elude responsibility for its lengthening list of misdeeds. Even if disconnected from the current crisis, the name change will be seen as a clumsy PR move. It’s a gift for comedy writers everywhere.”
Zuckerberg said the name change was made to “reflect who we are and what we hope to build…Building our social media apps will always be an important focus for us. But right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future.
“Over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company. I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we’re building towards,” he said.
Michael Grimm is vice president of national strategic communications firm Reputation Partners, “Conveniently, in the wake of intense scrutiny from Congress, whistleblowers, the media and public at large for the negative impact Facebook, Instagram, and its other social media websites may have on its billions of users, Facebook announced it is planning to rebrand the company with a new name,” he said.
“This is interesting because it is an apt example of an often-used marketing tactic to divert attention away from negative publicity by rebranding or introducing a new identity for the company.
Grimm noted that, “Introducing a new name that can act as a parent company overseeing subsidiary groups like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and of course, Facebook, can help divert negative publicity to each business unit while trying to keep the overarching new brand name clean from blame and negative reputation.
“We’ve seen other companies like Google do this with the creation of Alphabet. It will be up to “Meta” and Mark Zuckerberg to prove that this switch wasn’t an obvious crisis communication strategy to divert from the crises plaguing Facebook, and that it backs up its rebranding explanations for the switch with real value for consumers and shareholders,” he concluded.
Elie Jacobs, a partner at Purposeful Communications, said, “The ‘meta-answer’ is that a name change will have no bearing whatsoever on the crisis situations Facebook is facing.
“Think of how few people refer to Google as Alphabet or how many people still call Altria Phillip Morris. Facebook will still be Facebook and each week will uncover yet another scandalous thing Zuckerberg & Co. have tried to cover up,” he said.
Jacobs observed that, Meanwhile the stock is likely going to continue to rise until the government takes real action. While there is a long-standing Jewish tradition to rename a person going through life-threatening medical challenges, I don’t think Zuckerberg had that in mind. I don’t think the lesson for business leaders here is renaming equals rebirth…”
Business consultant Jeff Pedowitz said, “I think the timing feels strange given the recent scrutiny the company is under. Name change aside, the company has a lot of work to do to rebuild trust and confidence in consumers and demonstrate that it can really protect privacy while maintaining balanced and fair standards that are applied to everyone, not just select individuals.
“They need to take tangible steps to reaffirm the brand promise. Demonstrate real transparency and accountability. Right now they are papering over the issues and everyone sees right through it. They should consider replacing some of their key executives and invest in outside agencies to review and provide oversight of their changes. That would go a long way to demonstrating they are serious about improving their image and what they really stand for.”
Christopher Tompkins, the CEO and founder of The Go! Agency, said “Facebook’s decision to change the platform’s name is a classic redirection to pull attention away from not only what the public perceives, but what every marketing professional knows. There are more changes going on behind the scenes than the public at large know. They are not really money-motivated monsters. Power is what they are looking for, and gaining.
“Business leaders can learn the lesson that redirection is a powerful tool to hide the tarnishes on their brand, but it is how you sell it and get buy-in from their true audience that matters most. In this case, the opinion will be divided,” he predicted.
Terry M. Isner, owner and CEO of Jaffe PR, said, “A name change or a logo change does not change a brand. It can’t hide or erase the past with a face lift. If the perception is that they are using it to remove themselves from past issues, they are actually giving more life to that thought process by making this change opposed to deflecting it because they hope everybody will be distracted by a new shiny name and logo.”
Isner said, ““They are shining a spotlight on their problems, while also creating more doubt around the brand. The name “Facebook” associated the tool with people and humanity and a need to collaborate, share and connect. “Meta” actually fits as a name, as it appears they are moving towards a data driven platform and not connecting people.
“This feels similar to Disney’s latest issues, as they both seem to be going the wrong way while rest of the world is focusing on connecting, empathizing, and staying relevant by being, and putting, people first. It seems these CEOs are trusting in data and not the user. If this was a long time coming and the change has value, I think they blew it by making the change now,” he said.



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