NEW YORK , Facebook Inc. announced Thursday it will change its name to Meta Platforms Inc.. This joins a long line of companies who have attempted to rebrand over the years.
This is in response to the Facebook Papers. The leaked document trove, which revealed how Facebook ignored internal reports about the damage its social network caused or magnified around the globe, has led to the company’s decision to make this move.
While the Facebook app’s name will not change, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of , says that the company will be focusing on the “metaverse,” which is a virtual space created by computers where people can interact. It also includes Oculus, a virtual reality hardware branch, and Horizon Worlds. Horizon Worlds is a virtual reality software still in beta testing.
Sometimes a corporate rebranding strategy works, such as Andersen Consulting changing its name to Accenture. But sometimes it fails. For example, Tribune Co. tried to rebrand under the name Tronc, but was widely ridiculed. Here are some examples.
1997: VALUJET to AIRTRAN
ValuJet was established in 1992 to be a low-cost airline. However, a 1996 plane crash that resulted in 110 deaths inflicted a bad omen on the company’s reputation. In 1997, it acquired AirTran Airways and adopted the name of the airline. Southwest Airlines purchased AirTran Airways in 2011. AirTran flights ended in 2014.
2001: ANDERSEN CONSULTING TO ACENTURE
Andersen Consulting, an accounting firm Arthur Andersen spun off, was a highly successful consulting venture. Andersen Consulting was unable to legally use the name Andersen due to friction with its parent. Accenture took over its branding. Lucky timing was important because Arthur Andersen, a financial scandal victim of Enron, became involved in the rebranding process later in 2001.
2003: PHILIP MORIS TO ALTRIA
Philip Morris, the tobacco giant, changed its name from Altria in an effort to make the public focus more on the Kraft brand’s consumer food products and less on tobacco. People still associated Altria with cigarettes. Altria spun off Kraft in 2007, and refocused on tobacco.
2011: NETFLIX to QWIKSTER
Netflix did not rename Qwikster as a company. However, it announced in 2011 that it would split into two services. The online service will remain Netflix and Qwikster the physical DVD rental service. Red envelopes are a hallmark of Qwikster. The name was slammed online by subscribers after a sudden price hike for customers who had to pay more for two services. The name was dropped by Netflix a few months later.
2014: CVS-CAREMARK CORP. TOCVS HEALTH
CVS Health, now CVS Corp., had a long history in buying up retail and pharmacy chains to expand. In 2006, it bought Caremark pharmacy benefits manager Caremark. In 2014, it changed its name from CVS Health to CVS Health and stopped selling cigarettes to promote itself as a health-conscious business that is not just a drugstore chain making money on prescriptions.
2015: GOOGLE TO ALPHABET
Investors were complaining that Google’s forays beyond its core search business, known as “moonshots”, weren’t transparent enough in 2015. There were also growing antitrust concerns about its advertising business. The company was rebranded as Alphabet to reflect its financial independence and support other operations than search.
2016: TRIBUNE. PUBLISHING CO. TRONC
Tribune Publishing was founded in 1847 and has a rich history as the publisher of the Chicago Tribune, and other major daily newspapers. In 2016, however, newspaper advertising revenue was declining and large chains were consolidating. Tribune announced a name change from Tronc Inc. to Tribune Publishing to avoid an acquisition bid by Gannett.
2017: VERIZON’S OWN TO VERIZON MEDIA
Verizon had high expectations when it spent $9 billion to buy Yahoo and AOL over two years, starting in 2015. The media companies were housed in a division called Oath. However, the revenue it had hoped for from the aging online brands did not materialize. Verizon Media was renamed Verizon Media in the year following the purchase of Yahoo. The combined value of the operation was roughly $4.5 billion. The division was sold by Verizon earlier in the year to private equity for $5 billion. It was then renamed to Yahoo.
2018: PRICELINE GROUPE TO BOOKINGS HOLDINGS
The name change of Priceline to Bookings Holdings is a reflection of the popularity shift from Priceline.com which began out selling flights to Booking.com which was a Dutch vacation rental and hotel site that Priceline purchased in 2005. It is now the most profitable site in the company. Although Priceline’s name-yourself price feature was a huge success, hotel and vacation rentals were more lucrative than selling flights.
2018: WEIGHT WATCHERS TO THE WW
A popular way to rebrand is to change a name to your initials. For example, Kentucky Fried Chicken has changed to KFC. Restoration Hardware has changed to RH. Weight Watchers changed its initials to avoid the perception that it was a diet company. This is because people are increasingly aware that dieting is not healthy and that weight doesn’t necessarily correlate with overall health.