Why do organizations rebrand by themselves?

OF ALL THE issues a enterprise needs alone compared with, cancer is far down the list. But that’s what Facebook got from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a far-left congresswoman, after rebranding itself as Meta: “Meta as in ‘we are a cancer to democracy metastasising into a global surveillance and propaganda machine’”, she tweeted. Facebook is barely the to start with enterprise to rebrand. Why do they do it?

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Occasionally rebrands adhere to mergers: neither firm needs to surface the lesser, so a new identify is hatched. Often they signal a broadening of ambition, as when France Télécom grew to become Orange and began increasing exterior its residence marketplace. Google metamorphosed into Alphabet soon after venturing over and above lookup into sexier realms, such as autonomous driving and surgical robots. Facebook’s rebrand looks equally impressed. In a online video in which he appeared practically lifelike, Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s main executive, stated the title was intended to mirror that the firm’s chief reason for becoming is now to construct products for the “metaverse”, a networked digital actuality. And over and above its namesake social-media platform, the company owns other apps, like Instagram and WhatsApp, and components manufacturers, this sort of as Oculus. The new umbrella title resolves that “inherent awkwardness”, explained Mr Zuckerberg (its subsidiary items will keep their names).

Often companies rebrand to polish their name. As any marketer can attest, manufacturers have fairness that can depreciate. From time to time they are greater ditched, so as to acquire distance in the consumer’s thoughts from a tarnished very good. Philip Morris, a tobacco business, is now Altria—though it even now sells cigarettes, which nonetheless cause most cancers. The opposite can happen way too, where by corporations seek to bolster themselves by way of their marquees: which is how BSN, a soulless acronym, turned Danone.

Separating the corporate entity from the product also allows firms convey various messages to different audiences. Corporations interact with investors, politicians, regulators and employees although solutions communicate to shoppers. This enables for two-monitor messaging devoid of appearing contradictory, says Laurent Muzellec of the business college at Trinity College or university in Dublin. Diageo can guidance accountable consuming although Guinness ads on Tv set convey to tipplers to guzzle the things. Meta, speculates Mr Muzellec, could sponsor initiatives to cut down teen on the web dependancy although Facebook carries on hooking the children.

Rebrands are not normally successful. In 2001 Britain’s Royal Mail, for some reason, determined to get in touch with alone Consignia, which price £2.5m ($3.4m). It then unrebranded, which charge an additional £1m. PwC Consulting grew to become the butt of corporate jokes when it took the title Monday, which was scrapped in a takeover by IBM.

No rebrand can deal with underlying issues with a products. Superior, much more engrossing competitors are just a faucet away—as TikTok’s rise demonstrates. And it are unable to be coincidence that Fb rebranded just after yrs of unfavourable tales. The rebrand will make none of them go absent, nor does it make its chief any much more credible. Meta might have just 50 percent the letters in Facebook’s title, but it retains all of the company’s complications.