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Discussing the Facebook rebrand — Welcome to the Meta-verse!

Can rebranding help Facebook?

Facebook is rebranding. Its new name is Meta, and it seems it’s here to stay.

With everything that’s going on with the company, we have a bunch of questions: 

Can a rebrand help Facebook? Does it hinder them? Does Facebook need saving as opposed to helping? What’s the reason behind the rebrand? Is this a strategy to carve Facebook off and focus on some of their other properties and initiatives?  And is it too little, too late at this point?

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Recorded on October 29, 2021.

Transcript

Brad Breininger: 0:00
Hi everybody, and welcome to this week’s everything is brand. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have heard of Meta, the new name for the Facebook companys. Let’s talk about it Alright, right. So the question is, can a rebrand help Facebook – they’ve been dealing with some bad press recently. And of course, the whistleblower issue. And the question is, all of a sudden this new brand comes out and so now they’re Meta? Is this gonna help them? Does this hinder them? Does this make it better? Does it make it worse? What do we think?

Jeremy Linskill: 0:43
I think the real question here is, does Facebook need saving as opposed to helping. I really think that they’re in a world of I don’t want to say trouble, but a loss of identity, maybe trying to figure out how to compete against the Snapchats and the Tik Toks. And the Instagram, you know, which falls under their umbrella. But I think that that’s the bigger question here. I mean, I’ve gotten a lot of negative press going on. But I think at the base of it all, is they’re losing users, people are falling off, they’re losing the younger demographic, and they can’t seem to figure out how to win them over, win them back, get them on board in the first place. I don’t know what you guys think.

Brad Breininger: 1:21
So do you think that this is almost like a strategy to carve Facebook off? At some point, maybe if it does tank a little and focus on some of their other properties?

Jeremy Linskill: 1:32
Yeah, that’s what I feel like. Yeah, I feel like it’s a little bit of like, you know, everything was listed under Facebook. And now, separating Facebook from everything else would almost doesn’t hurt everything else, is a little bit of what’s going on at the, you know, in the strategic side of things.

Gabi Gomes: 1:46
Yeah, I think it also allows them to basically look at products or other services, or it’s, I find that it’s no different what they did with meta than what Google did with Alphabet, for example, right? It just opens them up to do whatever. Now whatever happens to Facebook, whatever, we’ll have to see you’re right Jer, they don’t have the Gen Z in there. Maybe they’ll acquire another one. Maybe they’ll look – I don’t think they’ll acquire Tik Tok. But maybe they’ll acquire another platform that does have that demographic. But my question is, because of when they’re doing this, and how late in the game they’ve done this, is their reputation tainted? Like, is it too little too late? Right to be making this move? Should they have done this beforehand?

Jeremy Linskill: 2:33
Yeah, it’s kind of interesting, because I mean, Google did it. It came out of kind of the middle of nowhere, right? They just decided to announce that they were calling themselves Alphabet, and doing all that kind of stuff. And people were like, well, why are they doing it when they did it? Well, now you can kind of see why. Because if you do it this time, it works against you a little bit, right?

Gabi Gomes: 2:51
Yeah. And I feel it’s a bit disingenuous that it’s happening right now. I feel like they’re trying to cover up everything that’s going on with, I feel like, you know, the whole whatever, you know, children, negative press, blah, blah, blah, had they made this shift a year plus ago, et cetera, you know, probably would have been a different results… but –

Jeremy Linskill: 3:13
Wasn’t it a year ago that they moved everything under Facebook? It wasn’t that long ago, right, that they bought Instagram and all that? Right. So it’s almost like when they did that they should have done this?

Gabi Gomes: 3:22
Exactly? Yeah. When they went to buy Facebook, underneath WhatsApp, Instagram, everything else, right? Yeah.

Marko Zonta: 3:31
Right now, it feels a little desperate. I mean, you brought up Google. And as far as I remember, Google wasn’t really dealing with any negative press or any real issues at a time when they actually made that decision. And so it looked like a sound business decision in a very strategic they were going about it just doing normal business. With Facebook, it feels like they’re actually just trying to solve a problem that, quite frankly, I think it’s a little bit too late to solve that Facebook image problem. So maybe they’ll try to distance themselves from it over time and hope for the best.

Gabi Gomes: 4:07
From a business perspective. I think it makes sense what they’ve done.

Marko Zonta: 4:10
Oh, absolutely. Yeah, it’s just that right now. They’re actually dealing with this dark cloud over Facebook. And to your point earlier, they may actually just let Facebook kind of die over a period of time and focus on other things.

Brad Breininger: 4:24
The most important thing here, if I was to distinguish between what Alphabet did Facebook or Meta is doing now, the whole Alphabet thing felt very financial and very business focused. Like it felt very much like they were trying to redirect the company, whereas this almost feels like they’re trying to make us forget that Facebook is at the root of all of this organization. And even the messaging alphabet was more of a rebrand whereas this feels like they’re getting into the whole metaverse. and redefining what the next foray into digital is going to be. I mean, basically what Zuckerberg said in that address that he gave was that you know, the metaverse is going to be about – it’s the next step in going from the mobile internet now into the metaverse. It’s almost like, not even just a rebrand of the company, but almost like he’s in charge of the entire world of technology. That’s how it kind of came across. Doesn’t that seem a little… much?

Gabi Gomes: 5:32
And coming from a person that, you know? Is he really trustworthy? I don’t know.

Brad Breininger: 5:38
Well, he looked like a robot. So I understand the whole robot thing. Like he looked like a robot in that address.

Gabi Gomes: 5:43
I think one of Facebook’s major issues is the trust factor. Google has a very different position when it comes, you know, I mean, sure, suffers from many of the same things. But if I put up against Facebook as to who do you trust more, I hands down, I probably think Google would win that competition versus Facebook. And did somebody not give him like the brand book on what to do and not to do because he just seems to be doing it all wrong, like somebody needs to tell him, we don’t trust Facebook, or they have a big trust factor problem.

Marko Zonta: 6:13
Keep in mind, though, you know, Facebook has been dealing with this for a while, and people are still on Facebook. Right? So are people not paying attention? Why are people not deleting accounts? Why are they still using Facebook then? Right? If it’s such a big problem.

Brad Breininger: 6:30
People are deleting accounts. I mean, there’s an exodus happening. It’s just that Facebook is so big, I mean, 3 billion people, it’s gonna take a while. But I guess the question is, is Mark Zuckerberg, the architect of the world of technology, because that’s how he made himself sound. That’s how he made meta sound? Is that what he thinks? Is that what we think?

Sasha Codrington: 6:54
I would say he has a good steak though, as someone who uses social media, those are the social medias I have – Facebook and Instagram. I’m not on Tik Tok, Snapchat, those other things. The only reason I’m – I’m on Facebook in a very limited capacity – but they do offer some things that other platforms don’t like groups, that something that is useful for events, there’s a group for my neighborhood that I’m able to keep in touch with people and there’s useful information there, that isn’t as easy to communicate on something like Snapchat, that would never work. That’s the only reason that I’ve had a Facebook account, it has a couple pieces of value for me that I’ve kept it. But beyond that, I have Instagram. And that’s something that I’ve used for years and coming from a creative background that does provide a lot of value for me, that particular platform. And even though I’m someone who doesn’t like Facebook, has a lot of question marks about them. Those are the platforms that I have – still. So it’s difficult that way, when it does provide those different value pieces.

Brad Breininger: 7:56
One of the things that he said in his address was that most people will enter the metaverse through gaming, that’s going to kind of be the main directional element. Do you think that that’s kind of a nod to the fact that Meta is going to get big into gaming? And that’s going to kind of change the face of gaming a little bit? What do you guys think?

Gabi Gomes: 8:17
That sounds like he wants to play in that space? Well, he does. Oculus? Yeah, absolutely does. Yeah.

Unknown: 8:23
Oculus is from my understanding kind of the leader in in that VR space already for gaming and that’s huge. So I can see them taking that further – easily. They already have a leg up in that way.

Brad Breininger: 8:35
Yeah, in VR gaming, for sure. But I got the sense that he was saying that gaming is going to change. So then he’s going up against Sony and Nintendo, like all of the Microsoft players. Oh, yeah, Microsoft, too. Yeah, that’s true.

Jeremy Linskill: 8:51
I think it’s a little bit of opening up the avenues for himself, like allowing him to move into those spaces. It’s almost like Elon Musk, right, moving from cars to space, and allowing himself to do that. And that – that’s a little bit of what’s going on here is setting himself up so that he can move around those pieces. Another question I have, though, is, is it a little bit of like, Facebook has reached its full potential, and there’s nowhere else for Facebook to go. And they spent the last few years a little bit trying to find new things for Facebook to do but is that helping Facebook or is it hindering it? By doing that? To Sasha’s point it has some things that it does well, so why not just leave it at that and kind of move on to other things as opposed to trying to force Facebook to be like Tik Tok or Instagram or like all those other things right? I wonder.

Brad Breininger: 9:38
Yeah, and I mean, if you look at the brands, that’s precisely what it looks like they’re trying to do – that Meta will become kind of the main brand because I think that’s part of the problem is that Facebook has been the main brand and keeping it there… it feels like kind of like calling your shipping company Titanic at some point you want to switch it over because There’s some negativity connected to what that brand might be.

Marko Zonta: 10:03
So it’s interesting to that point, they’re not fixing the Facebook brand. They’re moving away from the Facebook brand. Yeah. You know, strategically, they basically created a whole new brand, a whole new entity that can slowly start to unplug or disconnect from Facebook, or at least be seen as the Facebook brand. So i ‘s quite interesting that this r ally gives them an opportunity t go into new markets, new t chnologies, and to Jeremy’s p int earlier, is Facebook at a p int where there’s really not a w ole lot that you know, it can s ill do, so let’s focus on o her things.

Brad Breininger: 10:45
Well, there’s been like a shift, right? The shift is that Facebook started as a product, then it became a company and a conglomerate. And now it’s going back to becoming a product and Meta is taking over the conglomerate brand.

Gabi Gomes: 11:00
Do we think that this shift will help their image?

Jeremy Linskill: 11:05
I think it’s gonna just isolate Facebook issues to Facebook, as opposed to affecting Instagram, WhatsApp, all that other stuff. Yeah, I think that that’s really what the strategy is here.

Gabi Gomes: 11:13
Yeah, because we are seeing the spillage happening on WhatsApp. Right. We saw the shift this year, from WhatsApp to Signal because of all their issues. Again, trust issues, Facebook issues, and it just seems that that bad publicity about Facebook just keeps on trailing whatever else they touch. I mean, Instagrams still relatively okay. But as they change their advertising, criteria, platforms, whatever, that could also be tainted.

Jeremy Linskill: 11:43
I wonder if the tainting is now going to attach itself to Zuckerberg as opposed to Facebook. Like, I wonder if he’s going to become the problem more than anything else, right, because he’s so tight to the brand. Anything he touches might still not turn out so nice.

Gabi Gomes: 11:57
We’ve got the same issue with Amazon and Jeff Bezos right. So

Jeremy Linskill: 12:01
Exactly, you know, he did take a backseat.

Marko Zonta: 12:04
I mean, it was suggested for Mark Zuckerberg that he should not be in that position, that it’s time for him to step aside. Right. So that was actually a few years back that that was very closely considered. But clearly, he’s still in that position. So

Brad Breininger: 12:19
Yeah, I think he’ll be in that position for a long time. I agree. The issue though, Jeremy, I think is that some brands work with a person at the helm and the person being a big part of the brand. I mean, if you look at Virgin and – what’s the guys name… Richard Branson. Thank you! Yes. That’s just my memory. That’s not their branding capability. But Richard Branson is a good marquee for the Virgin brand. I’m not sure. Like you said, Gaby, I’m not sure Jeff Bezos or Zuckerberg are good marquees for their brands. And obviously, it’s their power in their ego that keep them there. But is it the right thing? It’s good question.

Gabi Gomes: 13:04
Does anybody know who owns Alphabet or the CEO about Alphabet? No. Nobody knows that.

Brad Breininger: 13:11
No, it’s a good point, Gabi. Yeah. I mean, I mean, you know, like Sergey Brin kind of started it along with, you know, the other guys. But yeah, I couldn’t tell you right now, who the face of Google – I don’t think there is a face of Google or Alphabet.

Marko Zonta: 13:25
Yeah, like, I mean, it’s quite interesting. Like, I really think that they are running it much more like a business. So the brand is the important element, the company is the face, not individual’s running it. And I think that that’s quite different. I mean, you know, some brands do really well, by having the leader being kind of the face of the brand. For as long as you know, there is no problem with that particular individual. Right. And we’ve seen, especially in the last few years, how many brands really suffered because of their leader running into some kind of trouble. And you know, having to step down or really kind of pulling the whole company through that issue. So, yeah, so there is a lot of

Brad Breininger: 14:08
And it’s not even just the leader, it’s even danger in doing that. after the leader passes away, like, look what’s going on with Rogers right now, right, where the family who runs it is in a battle to control the company. I mean, this is now a $34 billion dollar company that touches almost every Canadian family. I mean, you know, other than Bell and TELUS really Rogers is your only choice. And yet, that $34 billion dollar company, the decisions are made by a small group of people because of preferred voting shares. So even though people can own shares in the company, all of the voting happens on preferred shares that are run by the family trust. So at the end of the day, here’s a public company $34 billion, that is run by a family and when the family gets pissed off at each other, then what happens? Well, exactly what we’re finding out now, with the whole Rogers

Gabi Gomes: 15:07
But going back to the title of the podcast, do we debacle think that this rebrand for Facebook can actually help them? Is it too little too late? And I mean, part of, you know, that question is looking into the crystal ball. And what do we think? Personally, I think it’s a little too little too late. On it, time will tell unless that he’s going to be making some, like you said, Marko, stepping back a bit, taking some bigger strides in some areas that we haven’t seen, “Facebook”, in gaming, whatever. And maybe that’s kind of you’re dialing down Facebook, and you’re dialing something else up to kind of take eyes off of Zuckerberg and Facebook, but I’m not sure I’m not sure if this will actually help that brand.

Marko Zonta: 15:53
It’s interesting, because I actually don’t see this as a Facebook rebrand, I think that this is a creation of a new entity, a new brand, so they can distance themselves from the Facebook brand. I don’t think that rebranding Facebook at the channel that it is, would really help them in any way, they clearly made a business strategic decision to create a new brand, and focus on other things.

Brad Breininger: 16:20
But what they did was they demoted Facebook. So Facebook was the CEO of Facebook. And now Facebook is basically one product in the grand scheme of things. And it’s actually a really smart idea, because of what they’re going through right now. Because by becoming Meta, and whether you like Meta or don’t like Meta, doesn’t matter, what it will do is it will give them the first of all the brand chops to to buy other things go into other areas, focus on some of the brands that they already have in a stronger way. Like you guys said earlier, I mean, Oculus is probably going to take a lot more of a front row seat to the meta brand than Facebook will. It almost feels like I think you said it, Gabby, I mean, they’re gonna move Facebook, down and down and down until it’s just going to be one of the products that Meta brings to the marketplace. I think, you know, one of the other bigger questions that’s going to be asked, because there’s been a lot of call on, you know, the US government to break Facebook apart, which is now Meta, because the fact that they own WhatsApp and Instagram and Facebook and Oculus. Is that too much? Is that too much digital pioneer power for one organization? I don’t know what’s gonna happen here. I mean, are some of their products just gonna slowly die off where they don’t have to be broken apart? Who’s to say? I don’t know.

Gabi Gomes: 17:50
I also think it positions him to sell off any of those arms.

Brad Breininger: 17:54
I think he could have always done that. I don’t think they want to sell them off. I think they want to control the market as much as they possibly can. Right?

Jeremy Linskill: 18:05
Yeah, I don’t think they need any more money. So I think they’re okay.

Brad Breininger: 18:08
I don’t think it’s about money. I almost feel like there’s this competition going on with some of those billionaires now where it’s like, you know what, who’s got more money? Who’s going to be the first trillionaire? Like, really? So you’re on first name basis with all of these? Yeah.

Gabi Gomes: 18:21
Yeah, who owns what, right? Zuckerberg owns social, Bezos owns you know eco merce, I probably throw Toby in there from Shopify as well on he heels of that Jeff, Toby Mark. There’s no females in there. I’m sad to see there’s no females. Oh, yeah. Yeah, good.

Brad Breininger: 18:47
Where are the females? Okay, that’s a whole other podcast. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, let’s do it. Not just females. Where are the females where are the people of color. Where’s the diversity at the top? Again – that’s a big question. All right. So bottom line. Does Meta Help?

Jeremy Linskill: 19:06
I think it does. Yeah, I think I think it will a long run. I think it’s a strange time to be doing it. And there’s going to be some cleanup they are going to have to do but I think in the long run, it’s going to help them. I think it’s the move they should have made a year ago opposed to putting everything under the Facebook brand. And they just have to recover from that. But I think it’s going to allow the other entities to shine to stand out. And we’ll see where it goes. See which ones take off and which ones flounder. I think Facebook will always be around as a as a company or as a social media platform. I don’t think it’s going to go away. I just think that there’s a bit of an identity crisis. They need to figure out around who they are and just embrace it as opposed to fight against it. You know, just recognize you got the 50 year olds, the moms, the grand moms on there, sharing their recipes and all that kind of stuff and go with it. Everybody turns 50 eventually.

Marko Zonta: 19:56
The only thing that I wonder about it – and Facebook is dealing with their image issue. And quite frankly, should people trust the other brands that are now associated with the bigger company in the sense that it’s like if the leaders of Facebook, didn’t really care about children and didn’t really care about all other things, in terms of politics, and all that kind of stuff. Like there is a lot of stuff that’s coming out… Do they really care about your privacy and security and your children and all of that when they’re developing gaming products and are developing, you know, all those other things that we’ll be using five years from now? 10 years from now? To me, it’s a bit of a bigger question that I think people will have to really kind of the public in general will have to pay attention to that then just see, did I trust those leaders? Because the leaders are not changing.

Jeremy Linskill: 20:51
Are you talking about Facebook? I mean, do we trust any of the leaders of any of these businesses? Amazon? I mean, I think the reason that Facebook is thrust into limelight in this area is because they’re dealing with social media, your personal information, your friends, your family, like all of that kind of stuff. So it’s up front. But I think that all the other companies are doing the exact same thing as Facebook, I really do. I think it’s out there, we just weren’t, it’s closer to us, with the social channel, where, you know, we’re on there, and we’re talking about personal stuff. And I think that’s a little bit why they get the bad rap. But I think that it’s it’s out there with Google with Amazon, all that other stuff. I really do.

Christian Rosenthal | ZYNC: 21:31
The concern is that they already have our data, right? So privacy is always going to be looming around any company, any new company that they create, right? Because they own Facebook, because they own WhatsApp. So they know what we’re saying. They know where we live, they know what we’re posting. So

Brad Breininger: 21:53
wow, that sounds really…

Gabi Gomes: 21:57
They’ve got our fingerprint and our retina, and what else?

Brad Breininger: 22:02
What’s that line, if the company doesn’t have a product you are the product. You know, here’s the bottom line. From the dawn of time, corporations and organizations have done things that aren’t necessarily in the best interest of the public. You know, it used to be the big throw chemicals into a river. Now they’re selling your personal data. So I mean, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t good things that corporations do, but there’s always going to be the kind of the dark underbelly of the corporate world. And these organizations are just so huge. And then there’s competition and everything else. And by no means am I justifying it, but it’s part of the reality. It’s the reality of you know, what’s going on, do I think putting a pretty logo and a cool sounding name like Meta on a group of people that are the same, a way of business, that’s pretty much gonna probably stay the same, and filter into new organizations? It’s a good question. I mean, I think that to your point, Marco, the public needs to be asking what’s going on behind the scenes. So yes, this organization might be taking us into whole new worlds and the digital realm. But what else is it doing? And then how’s it affecting us? And but again, going back to our initial thesis, is this rebrand going to help Facebook? Absolutely, it is because at the end of the day, Facebook was kind of falling down a hole when it comes to brand trust and brand loyalty. And what they’ve actually done is they’ve taken the focus off of Facebook, and they’ve put the focus squarely on something bigger. And you know, meta really will be a broad range organization that will own all of these other brands. And Facebook has been relegated back to product status, and that can’t hurt them. doubling down on Facebook or staying with the Facebook brand probably would have hurt them anymore. So in a lot of ways this change is going to help. Will it be the saving grace that they’re looking for? Who knows it’s gonna take a while for people to forget what the old brand was as it doesn’t any brand transition. But I think they made the right decision maybe a year late, but they made the right decision and let’s see what happens. So that’s this week’s edition of everything is brand new. Join us again next week. We’ll have a new topic, a new discussion. And remember, everything is brand.

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