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Rebranding –the Why and the How

In 2021, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook, declared a major change which entailed bringing all his products under one parent company, Meta.

Facebook now becomes a brand under what is the Metaverse.

This change was made because Facebook alone was not representative of all that Meta does and intends to do in the future.

WhatsApp and Instagram are now ‘from Meta’, not ‘from Facebook'.

In 2015, Google made a similar change where the parent company was named Alphabet.

Why did these brands make these changes?

A brand is much more than a name and its tangible manifestation on stationery, clothing, plants, equipment, flags, and other items.

A brand has significance for all stakeholders, but especially for external and internal customers. It reflects a set of ideals, commitments, and even a personality for them.

Kotler’s (2003) categoric but perhaps not surprising statement about branding:

Perhaps the most distinctive skill of professional marketers is their ability to create, maintain, protect and enhance brands. Branding is the art and cornerstone of marketing'.


Corporate rebranding differs from corporate branding, which refers to the first, cohesive articulation of a company's brand and can happen at any moment.

The disjunction or shift between an initially created corporate brand and a new formulation is referred to as corporate rebranding.

Brand revision refers to a shift in a company's vision, a clear emphasis on how and to what degree the business brand should be altered

The emphasis is on justifying the brand adjustment, both in terms of advantages and expenses.

To gain brand buy-in, a well-structured change management program is required; and emphasizing the need of informing all stakeholders about the new brand.

Why Facebook needed a ‘Meta’ Rebranding-

1. Facebook’s as a social media have been slowly but steadily going down ever since better and more engaging platforms emerged in the market.

2. Facebook was steadily garnering the reputation of selling user data. After the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, Facebook garnered a bad reputation over privacy breach.

3. To detaching itself from the name “Facebook”.

Now Facebook is just one of the services Meta provides, in spite of being representative of the services, which includes both social media and messaging apps (Instagram and WhatsApp), and the futuristic AR-VR (Oculus)

The two major principles of Rebranding-

1st principle

Designing a good brand vision for the corporate rebrand should strike a compromise between the necessity to maintain the corporate brand's basic ideology while also progressing the brand so that it stays relevant to current conditions.

The first principle illustrates the paradox that all business rebranding initiatives should strike a balance between staying the same and progressing.

2nd Principle

To construct a bridge from the present corporate brand to the updated corporate brand, successful corporate rebranding may include preserving at least some key or peripheral brand concepts.

There is always pressure to keep the brand new in order to keep it relevant in today's world.

Maintaining a link between the existing and altered corporate brands, however, is critical.

These two corporate rebranding concepts expand on previous literature and focus on re-creating the brand idea for a more modern market. Corporate rebranding theory currently involves not only brand re-visioning but also internal branding and brand strategy execution.

The rebranding continuum consists of 3 stages-

1. Aesthetic changes -It can range from a basic face lift to restyling and revitalizing a brand's image or aesthetics that have become outmoded and need to be updated.

2. Repositional changes- Marketing methods, particularly communication and customer service approaches, are used to positively reposition an existing brand name, giving it a fresh image.

3. Rebranding- Stakeholders don't know what the brand stands for because the term is new to them. As a result, an integrated marketing communications strategy must be used to communicate the new brand's values and image to all stakeholders.

Corporate rebranding is the renaming of a company as a whole, and it usually indicates a substantial strategy shift or repositioning.

the first category entails renaming-

  • Guinness/Grand Met became Diageo,

  • Andersen Consulting became Accenture, and

  • Ciba Geigy/Sandoz became Novartis.

The second category includes the rebranding of business segments inside multinational businesses.

This is a circumstance in which a subsidiary or division of a bigger firm is given a unique name in order to distinguish itself from the parent.

A same name or corporate design, on the other hand, would provide consistency throughout all subsidiaries. This might be because to a forced demerger, as in the instance of

  • AT&T's several business divisions (Lucent Technologies, Avaya, and Agere), or

  • For competitive positioning reasons, as in the case of MMO, a British Telecom subsidiary.

Individual product rebranding is uncommon and usually relates to a name change, such as

  • Jif becoming Cif and

  • Immac becoming Veet.

It's frequently a tactical decision motivated by a goal to establish a worldwide brand and benefit from economies of scale in packaging and advertising.

After the initial brand audit, market analysis, and opportunity identification, rebranding involves the following steps-

1. Identification of brands to be retained permanently, those to be retained temporarily, and those to be removed.

2. Identification of target audience

3. If assessment is not carried out during the planning phase, many possibilities to improve the campaign will be overlooked. As the need for change becomes apparent, a staged review permits any part of a plan to be changed. In addition, to get a more holistic picture of the planning process, a review or overall evaluation should be done at the conclusion.

The corporate brand may be characterized as having two important dimensions: the image and the identity.

The image is the outward view of the corporate brand; the identity is the internal perspective or the response to the question, "How do we perceive ourselves?". Rebranding a company tries to change the image (the perceived self) and/or reflect a change in the company's identity (the core-self).

In conclusion, the present state of corporate rebranding theory may be described as a combination of the three major themes.

1. The necessity to re-vision the brand based on a thorough understanding of the consumer in order to suit both current and future demands.

2. The use of internal marketing or internal corporate rebranding branding to guarantee the commitment of the necessary stakeholders.

3. The function of advertising and other marketing mix elements in the implementation phase.

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