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Brands are the ultimate products, strictly going by the tectonic shifts they can make happen in a product range, create a new niche market / area and the way they can control the price. Brands are created by hard work where quality speaks and with it the easy availability and support, which can be readily available. The branding campaigns for products like Maggi and few others would have been successful, but there are quite a few, who do it on their own worth, without the costly media blitzkrieg and rule the world. Lots get into the trade after they have already made some reasonable amount of money and want to get on the trajectory of exponential growth.

Might be its more difficult to shed a brand by a change of name or cosmetic changes in logo, color and what not. In the same way as these things cannot make a brand, it cannot take the company through a successful rebranding. A material change in the brand philosophy, integrity and lack of transparency can put any brand in peril, more so if you are dealing with billions of people in the social media space. Facebook happens to be a living example. Mark Zuckerberg and others at Meta thought they would get the magical wand to play, once they changed the name of the company. Companies who play with the lives and sentiments of people, cannot continue to gain the respect of  the earlier avatar only by changing the name. A Yahoo Finance survey puts Meta (Facebook) as the worst company of the year 2021 in US.

It was an open-ended survey and it got more than 1500 respondents. Facebook has a checkered history starting at least from the US Presidential Elections in 2016, going through the Cambridge Analytica saga to the various congressional hearings and now one more whistleblower. These sordid milestones would have hundreds of others interspersed which have not seen the light of the day. Facebook was voted as the worst company and with a very handsome margin of over 50% more votes than Chinese e-commerce company giant Alibaba, which came at the second position. The respondents found lots of things done wrong by the company in 2021. The users were of the opinion that Facebook has been ’censoring’ a bit too much. Seems to be a whimsical story.

There is also a general opinion which came out of this exercise that the company does not do much to tackle both fake news and the misinformation on the platform. ”A significant number of responses focused on executives and founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.” A whistleblower told this year that ”Facebook’s algorithms were designed to make people depressed and angry.” The downslide was known to the company. Meta was chosen as the name for rebranding because it can mean beyond. The great philosophical logic dished out by the beleaguered company was that Meta ”captures the commitment to building social technologies that take us beyond what digital connection makes today.” New logo and new color accompanying the brand seems to have cut no ice. Rebranding can’t change the company’s DNA. People can read easily through the rebranding exercise.


Sanjay Sahay

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