Facebook’s Meta facelift

Can a new name signal a fresh start for the troubled social media giant, and what are the hidden challenges Meta faces in its grand plan for reinvention, asks Wayne Deakin

Facebook is changing its name to Meta. Well, the company behind the social platform is having a facelift, at least. But the news comes at a torrid time in Facebook’s history, and it takes more than a new logo to unlock the true potential of any brand refresh.

Parent company rebranding is a well-trodden route in big tech. In 2015, Google re-organised under a holding company called Alphabet, underlining that its interest and ambitions extended beyond its search engine to things like health tech and driverless cars. In 2016, Snapchat became Snap Inc, debuted its first Spectacles camera glasses, and forevermore referred to itself as “a camera company”. In September 2021, Clubhouse renamed itself Shortcut.

But unlike most other categories of business, tech firms have a particular mindset when it comes to rebranding. The fact is that most product-led companies start out in a product mindset with brand as an afterthought, and in big tech this is even more so.