NEW YORK (AP) – Facebook Inc. announced on Thursday that it was changing its name to Meta Platforms Inc., joining a long list of companies that have tried to rebrand over the years.
This decision comes as the company faces the fallout from Facebook papers, a mine of documents disclosed who exposed the ways Facebook has ignored internal reports and warnings about the damage its social network has created or amplified across the world.
The name of the Facebook app itself won’t change, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company at large will focus on the “metaverse,” a computer-generated virtual space where people can interact. It includes other growing companies that are not its namesake site, such as virtual reality hardware arm Oculus and Horizon Worlds, virtual reality software that is still in beta testing mode.
A corporate rebranding strategy sometimes works – like Andersen Consulting, which changed its name to Accenture – but sometimes fails – for example, when Tribune Co. attempted to rename Tronc and was widely ridiculed. Here is a sample.
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1997: ValuJet at AirTran
ValuJet was founded in 1992 as a low cost airline, but a plane crash in 1996 with 110 fatalities tarnished the brand. It acquired AirTran Airways in 1997 and took the name of this airline. Southwest Airlines purchased AirTran in 2011 and AirTran flights ceased in 2014.
2001: Andersen Consulting at Accenture
Andersen Consulting was a spin-off from the accounting firm Arthur Andersen. Frictions with its parent company led to a legal battle that ended with Andersen Consulting not being legally able to use Andersen’s name, so it renamed Accenture. The timing for the rebranding was happy when Arthur Andersen found himself embroiled in the Enron financial scandal later in 2001.
2003: Philip Morris in Altria
Tobacco giant Philip Morris changed its name to Altria in an attempt to focus public perception more on the consumer food products it owned under the Kraft brand rather than tobacco. But people still equated Altria with cigarettes, and Altria ended up parting with Kraft in 2007 and refocusing on tobacco.
2011: Netflix to Qwikster
Netflix did not rename the entire Qwikster company, but in 2011 it announced that it was going to split into two services, the online service we know today remaining Netflix, and the rental service of Physical DVD, known for its red envelopes, renamed Qwikster. In the wake of a price hike for customers who suddenly had to pay for two services instead of one, subscribers weren’t in the mood to joke about the fancy name and blasted it online. Netflix dropped the name a few months later.
2014: CVS Caremark Corp. At CVS Santé
The company now known as CVS Health had a long history of buying chain drugstores and retail stores to grow. In 2006, it acquired Caremark, the manager of pharmacy benefits, and became CVS Caremark Corp. She changed her name to CVS Health in 2014 and stopped selling cigarettes in an offer to rename a health-conscious company, not just a drugstore chain that makes money on prescriptions.
2015: Google to Alphabet
In 2015, Google was facing growing complaints from investors that its forays outside of its core search business, dubbed “moonshots”, were not transparent enough. It also faced growing antitrust issues regarding its advertising business. The company therefore renamed itself Alphabet. , a conglomerate that distributes more financial data for its operations beyond research.
2016: Tribune Publishing Co. in Tronc
Founded in 1847, Tribune Publishing has a long history as the publisher of the Chicago Tribune and other major dailies. But in 2016, newspaper advertising revenues were disappearing and the big chains were consolidating. Tribune, trying to avoid an offer to acquire Gannett and increase online advertising dollars, announced a name change to Tronc Inc., which stood for “Tribune Online Content.” The name was widely ridiculed and Tronc changed its name to Tribune Publishing in 2018.
2017: Verizon Oath to Verizon Media
Verizon had high hopes when it spent around $ 9 billion to buy AOL and Yahoo over two years from 2015. It housed media companies in a division it called Oath. But the expected revenues from aging online brands have not materialized. The year after the Yahoo purchase, Verizon noted the value of the combined deal, roughly the value of the $ 4.5 billion it spent on Yahoo, and renamed it Verizon Media. Verizon sold the division earlier this year to a private equity firm for $ 5 billion, and it was renamed Yahoo again.
2018: Priceline Group at Bookings Holdings
The name change from Priceline to Bookings Holdings reflects the change in popularity of Priceline.com, which began selling flights, to Booking.com, a Dutch hotel and vacation rental site that Priceline bought in 2005, which is now the company’s most profitable site. Priceline grew rapidly after its inception in 1997 thanks to the popularity of its nominal price feature, but hotels and vacation rentals are more profitable than selling flights.
2018: Weight Watchers at WW
Changing from name to initial is a popular way to change your name: Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC or Restoration Hardware to HR, for example. Weight Watchers has gone to its initials in an effort to move away from the idea that this is a weight loss company as people increasingly realize that dieting is not healthy and that weight is not necessarily related to general well-being.