Why rebrand? - 12 November 2019

| Written by Henry

Facebook recently hit the news with its new rebrand and it got us thinking…

The purpose of Facebook’s rebrand was to distinguish its apps (Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp) from Facebook, the company, whilst also ensuring that the new branding would “connect thoughtfully with the world and the people in it”. The solution: a dynamic colour system to the new logo for each app, along with a separate Facebook Business logo.

 

(Source BBC News)

Facebook is one of the most iconic, identifiable and successful brands in the world right now. So if it’s not broke, why try to fix it?

Creating a new brand can be expensive, so the process of brand extension is often seen as a cost-effective way to take advantage of a brand’s full growth potential. A rebrand usually follows the same principle. Facebook clearly wants to benefit from the huge popularity that these apps have by putting its name on them too, in an attempt to increase consumer trust.

What Facebook is doing is following a consumer trend. Consumers seek simplicity, demand authenticity and want to know which company is behind the products they choose to use. However, in this case, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp are brands with long-established identities in themselves. Sticking the Facebook name to them may actually confuse the consumer. 

There are several ways brands manage their brand architecture. From straight forward brand extensions to creating a Branded House. 

A Branded House is when a company starts out and then extends into different areas but all these areas carry the main brand name, e.g. Google with Google Search, Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Home Hub, etc.

A House of Brands is the opposite. Think about brands like Mondelēz, Procter & Gamble and Unilever. These companies own many household brand names but rarely mention their own in advertisements. Most consumers have no idea these brands are owned by the same company, and most likely, have never heard them. Did you know that Dove and Ben and Jerry’s are owned by the same company, Unilever? Or that Cadbury and Halls are owned by Mondelēz? Despite this, most of these individual brands are hugely successful and loved by consumers. In 2009, Unilever started to feature its logo in consumer advertisements, but the jury remains out on whether or not this has been beneficial.

 

(Source Reddit)

Going back to Facebook’s rebrand purpose, to create better transparency, it is evident they have missed the point. Facebook’s approach suggests this rebrand has been planned with a top-down approach, without any real consumer insight. Compare this with bottom-up approaches from companies like Airbnb and Co-Op and you can see the difference. Airbnb’s rebrand produced a logo representing the root of the brand; people, places, love = Airbnb. Similarly, Co-Op rebranded a couple of years ago with an emphasis on its roots through the strapline, “it’s what we do”. This reminds people that Co-Ops nature is ultimately about communities, not just profit. Both of these rebrands have been hugely successful and grown these brands.

This is what a brand is: real consumer insight that serves a purpose. A brand is much more than a logo. But that’s a whole new topic to dig into.

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