Meta Company Profile
A company that has recently responded to major change is Meta. In 2021, the company rebranded whereby it changed its name from Facebook to Meta. Meta is an online social network service. The company was founded in 2004 and the past two 18 years it has grown to become one of the largest corporations in the world. It became the largest social network globally, with nearly 3 billion users as of 2021. Half of that number is still using Facebook to date. The attractiveness of the platform is mainly from its insistence on transparency. Facebook forbids its members from using false identities. The transparency allows individuals from all over the world to form personal relations, share information and ideas, and build up a society. Additionally, the platform’s bottom-up, peer-to-peer connectivity among its users makes it easier for businesses to connect with their target customers (“Introducing Meta: A Social Technology Company”, 2021). It is these aspects among other advantages offered by Meta that have allowed it to be the biggest social media platform, with over 3 billion users.
The reason behind the Change from Facebook to Meta
Meta changed its name in an effort to encompass everything that the corporation does. Before the rebrand, the company used the name Facebook, which is also the name it uses for its most successful product (Facebook social media platform). The company explained that it changed the name to Meta to encompass everything that it does. Currently, the corporation offers several products including Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook Watch, and Facebook Portal. The company has also acquired Mapillary, Kustomer, Giphy, and Oculus. It also has about a 10% stake in Jio Platforms. According to Meta’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, the corporation implemented the rebrand to select a name that represents everything that it does (Yohn, 2021). The brand name is based on the future as it believes that it is a company of the future offering futuristic products and services.
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Meta stands for metaverse, which implies the company’s effort to offer futuristic products. According to Zuckerberg, metaverse is a network entailing 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. In science fiction and futurism, metaverse is described as a hypothetical iteration of the internet realm as a single, worldwide virtual world facilitated by the utilization of virtual and augmented reality headsets (Heath, 2021). The rebrand from Facebook to Meta involves recognizing a shift inside the organization which seeks to expand it to embody its immersive vision of the internet. The corporation seeks to create a unified account system to span all its social media platforms, the Oculus Quest headset, a portal, as well as future devices. According to Zuckerberg, in the future, Meta users will not need a Facebook account to use Quest (“Introducing Meta: A Social Technology Company”, 2021).
Besides expanding its vision, the change is also geared toward addressing the recent barrage of criticism. The criticism arose from leaked internal documents from a whistleblower. The documents, which gave the public a look at the corporation’s operations tarnished the Facebook brand name causing the rebrand to Meta. Facebook also took a lot of criticism for the way it handled the COVID 19 pandemic. The social media platform was pestered by misinformation, which even led to President Biden accusing the platform of killing people. The leaks by the whistleblower added insult to the injury by demonstrating how chaotic the efforts were inside the corporation. The leaks showed that the company was unprepared as it did not have any measures put in place to flag systems of misinformation. The change to Meta was accompanied by an implementation of COVID-19 lockdown defense. The defense was entirely dedicated to vaccine hesitancy, whereby it automatically flagged systems for misinformation (Brandon & Robertson, 2021). Thus, the change was not entirely about the corporation’s expounded vision but it was also geared toward public relations branding.
Evaluation of Success
The company rebranded in an effort to reposition itself and clean up its brand image. The rebrand entailed a change of the organization’s name, a new logo, and an advertising campaign. Whereas the name and the campaign insist that it is leaning toward creating a futuristic experience, the change was implemented on the surface level and, therefore, has not changed the company’s organizational culture. According to Yohn (2021), implementation of lasting organizational change requires embedment of the changes into the organizational culture. Organizational culture is deeply embedded in the system and, as such, for real change to happen an organization must be incorporated into the organizational culture. Meta changed its name and logo and carried out an intensive campaign but did not embed the changes it claims to adopt within its culture and practices. Cleaning up brand image requires that an organization addresses the root cause of the problem. The underlying problem that led to Meta’s tarnished brand image. A successful organizational change to address the issue would have addressed the systems that were lacking. The company should also have redefined the collection of values, practices, and expectations that guide and inform the actions of all the employees.
Whereas the surface changes implemented may work in the short term, they are not lasting. Meta’s goal should have been to rebrand and put in place measures to protect the integrity of the brand. According to Im et al. (2019), ensuring brand image should be a constant activity. The long-term success requires that all the necessary stakeholders are on board, ensuring the integrity of the brand on an ongoing basis. Implementing superficial changes as an effort to clean up brand image is contradictory as it bears the risk of furthering the damage. Im insists that the changes must be embedded into the organizational culture to ensure long-term success. Embedment of changes into the organizational culture facilitates credibility and authority of the brand in people’s eyes.
Effect of the Change from Facebook to Meta on Stakeholders
Since the change entailed a rebrand that did not change the operations of the organization it did not face resistance from the employees. According to Stouten, Rousseau, and De Cremer (2018), employees resist change if it alters the way they have been carrying out day-to-day operations. The only notable way it affected the stakeholder is the shift from a name that the corporation has used for almost two decades. Such a change can have an impact on the identity of the employees in relation to the organization. However, Meta did a plausible job of ensuring that the name sticks by running an extensive campaign purposed toward publicizing the new name.
Overall Implications of the Change on Departmental Collaboration
The change largely benefited departmental collaborations. Before the change, the organization still had various products but the Facebook name overshadowed them. The name change created an even for all the products hence improving departmental collaboration. The new name presented Meta as a single unit offering various complementary products. The complementary nature of the products dictates that the departments must collaborate to create the desired futuristic experience that Meta seeks to provide to its target customers. Therefore, although the rebrand may not have succeeded in cleaning up the company’s tarnished brand image, it facilitated increased departmental collaboration. The collaborative teamwork between the departments will benefit the Meta by facilitating more ideas, process improvement, shared workloads, and a culture of continuous learning.
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What Worked and What Did Not
The change was partially successful. The success comes from the fact that the change created a level field for all the products that the company offers. The name change also highlights the company’s vision. Now people do not see it as an organization that offers a single social networking platform (Facebook), but rather as a company offering many products geared toward creating an enhanced user experience in the virtual networking world. The change was partly a failure since it did not effectively address the issue Meta had stemming from its tarnished brand image. The efforts to clean up the brand name were superficial rather than thorough and, therefore, may not have a lasting impact.
To address the above-mentioned shortcoming, Meta needs to change the practices that led to its tarnished name. Moreover, it needs to embed the changes into its organizational culture to ensure that they stick. Thus, it is imperative that Meta’s leaders carry out research to identify the missing systems that led to its tarnished name. After identifying the missing systems, it should implement them and ensure that they are embedded in its organizational culture so that they become part of the organization’s day-to-day activities. This will ensure that Meta always protects the integrity of its brand as a reputable social technology company.