Six months ago, Facebook modified its name to Meta (FB) apparently to reflect its focus on the virtual reality areas called the metaverse. The announcement was at the same time important and strange, echoing another tech giant’s name change — Google’s 2015 move to rename itself Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL).
It’s difficult to tell if Meta’s name change has been embraced by the public or, for that matter, if Alphabet’s has. even as I’m writing this, it feels weird to refer to Facebook or Google by anything apart from the names I’ve grown thus used to seeing on my laptop and smartphone screens.
So, why would a company go against the linguistic grain in the initial place?
There area unit a few basic reasons a big-name company would enforce a name swap. Sometimes, this name doesn’t extremely make sense for the direction the company’s moving in, or it’s wanting to shed the baggage related to its current name, said Patti Williams, a selling prof and vice dean of executive education at the University of Pennsylvania’s wharton school.
“Sometimes the name itself just gets a little bit outdated,” she said. “Sometimes there is just heaps of bags with an existing name, in a very manner that the firm may want to lose some of what comes with that baggage.”
Beyond Facebook and Google, a wide range of companies have changed names in recent years. Last year, payments company sq. became Block (SQ) and, in 2016, Snapchat became Snap (SNAP). In 2017, Tesla (TSLA) even dropped the “Motors” from its name. There have also been some notable name changes in client house within the 5 years, including Restoration Hardware’s rebrand to RH (RH), and Weight Watchers’ move to become WW.
For Facebook, the context in which its name changed was contentious. Facebook said it’d become Meta in Oct 2021, the same month whistleblower Frances Haugen’s bombshell interviews hit the news. Haugen, a former worker, contended that Facebook knew the extent to the company its platforms were used to spread info and hate, and selected spread nothing, kicking off a firestorm for the company.
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