Facebook has rebranded.
The company unveiled new branding for its subsidiary companies last month, with Facebook chief marketing officer Antonio Lucio explaining it’s about the brand being “clearer about the products that come from Facebook”.
The rebrand is rolling out during a time where the company is recovering from the controversial Cambridge Analytica scandal, which revealed political consulting company Cambridge Analytica harvested the personal data of millions of Facebook users without their consent, to use for political advertising purposes. It is just one of many scandals to engulf the social network, which continues to attract criticism across the globe.
The technological infrastructure of Facebook’s been put forward as the reasoning for the rebrand as Facebook now owns the top six people-connecting platforms on the planet including the Facebook app, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Workplace and Portal.
It makes sense that a rebrand is needed to restore trust, build credibility, and create cohesiveness, which will set the company up for its next phase of growth.
So what’s changed?
The existing logo for the Facebook app will remain the same, with the introduction of a new company logo further distinguishing the Facebook company from the Facebook app, which will keep its own branding.
The word-mark colour varies based on its placement on each of the applications Facebook owns.
What did the internet have to make of it all?
Unsurprisingly, some social media users felt the rebrand was Facebook deflecting from taking responsibility for its actions.
Another user couldn’t tell the design difference in the rebrand.
Has your business been tinkering with the idea of a rebrand?
Rebranding is a process you undertake when you have either outgrown or outlived your current brand and you want to rethink and reformulate both the foundation of your brand, and the strategy that supports your sales and marketing efforts.
Here are five strategies you can borrow from Facebook to help you with your own rebranding. Cos’ if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right.
1. Know your position in your customer’s minds
If you don’t know where your brand stands, how will you know where you want it to go?
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Facebook’s privacy breach became public knowledge and the Cambridge Analytica scandal wasn’t the first time it appeared to have exploited user information. This series of events has affected public trust and even sparked a boycott campaign with #DeleteFacebook and #Faceblock trending on Twitter shortly after the news broke.
The platform’s new typeface aims to focus on sharing its user’s stories — the fundamental reason for Facebook’s existence.
In your business, reposition where you stand by:
- Implementing a strategy that solves existing issues;
- Demonstrating consistency across your visual assets (think logo, website and social media); and
- Creating values that align with your audience’s and sticking by them.
2. Create clarity from chaos
Do you have many offerings? You might be confusing the marketplace about what products and services your company offers without even realising it.
Facebook now has a portfolio of apps that spans across social networking, payment offerings and virtual reality. The rebrand creates clarity around it’s offering and as stated by Facebook’s chief marketing officer: “This brand change is a way to better communicate our ownership structure to the people and businesses who use our services to connect, share, build community and grow their audiences.”
You can create strong brand architecture by:
- Researching customer loyalty and their associations;
- Creating an architecture that best suits your businesses’ needs; and
- Developing a blueprint that includes a naming structure and identity system that clearly differentiates your various sub-brands or extensions in a way that aligns with your overarching brand strategy.
3. Understand the role design plays in branding
Famous graphic designer Paul Rand once commented that “design is the silent ambassador for your brand”. And it’s true. Think about it: if you were to sit down at a restaurant and open up the menu to find the typeface used resembles that of a lemonade stand, you’d presume that the food might be sub-par or amateur.
Design plays a huge role in building trust so I asked designer Jessica Dimcevski, managing creative director of Blurr Bureau, to share her perspective on the effect of the new Facebook typeface: “The logo letterforms make it feel human — look at the subtle bloating of the ‘A’.”
“They’ve achieved the right amount of quirk and clarity in the logo to have a friendly personality. The stroke of each letter is the perfect thickness to feel authoritative but not overbearing. The most surprising design consideration here is the subtle soft rounded edges on each letterform. These aren’t always ideal for onscreen use, but when blown up in scale or used in a physical environment (think experiential marketing), they’ll allow the brand to still feel gentle and not loud.”
4. Be consistent
Consistency builds trust. It’s the pattern of expression that affects what people think about your company. A rebrand might include a change of logo, typeface and colours and its application needs consideration across all digital and physical touchpoints.
In Facebook’s instance, Jessica Dimcevski explains: “It makes sense. It’s designed to fit in and stand out when they need it to. Their new logo can sit anywhere on a canvas thanks to its all-caps block form, which works well centred, left-aligned, floating or tucked in a corner, and next to any of their subsidiary brands (thanks to its flex in colour variations), it won’t feel offensive.”
5. Have a clear rollout plan and get everyone on board
A successful rebrand rollout starts with the people who work with your brand. Everyone has to understand it and embrace it as they’ll be a major touchpoint in executing your rollout.
Facebook chief marketing officer Antonio Lucio explained the stages of the rollout in the company’s announcement: “We started being clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook years ago, adding a company endorsement to products like Oculus, Workplace and Portal. And in June  began including “from Facebook” within all our apps. Over the coming weeks, we will start using the new brand within our products and marketing materials, including a new company website.”
Factors to consider in your rollout:
- Social media (handles, bios and images);
- The admin side (email signatures, business cards and trademarks);
- Internal and external feedback (from staff to your customers);
- Marketing assets (brand style guidelines, promotional material and media kits);
- Internal communication (briefing staff and stakeholders and including them in the process); and
- Your website (domain names, keywords and SEO).
Rebranding is about taking the opportunity to evaluate, research, rethink and revitalise the foundation of who you are as a business and how you market your company. It’s a decision that has to be carefully considered while always keeping your customers top of mind.
What are your thoughts on Facebook’s rebrand? Has it shifted your perception?