According to new research from The Harris Poll, a company that tracks brand trust, Facebook’s huge makeover to Meta had the exact opposite effect that most rebrands are supposed to have.
According to Fast Company, a survey by the Harris Brand Platform found that Meta saw a significant reduction in public trust after announcing its corporate name change.
Before announcing its new name, Meta was in the midst of a public relations problem. The Wall Street Journal began publishing Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s hacked business records in September, after she announced her identity on October 3.
According to statistics from The Harris Brand, the company’s trust score dropped from 16 percent to 5.8 percent in October, the same week Haugen testified before Congress, after The Journal began running stories based on Haugen’s leaked documents.
In late October, the firm was able to regain some trust, climbing back to 11%. According to data from The Harris Brand, which was cited by Fast Company, it fell back to 6.2 percent after the rebranding announcement.
The redesign had “nothing to do” with the torrent of bad press arising from Haugen’s stolen documents, according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who told The Verge that the present hard patch Meta was in had “nothing to do” with the company’s choice.
Meta has stated that their redesign is intended to reposition the company as a “metaverse company.” The phrase “metaverse” comes from science fiction and refers to a virtual-reality and augmented-reality version of the internet that individuals can access using headsets.
In July, months before the Facebook PR disaster, Zuckerberg began publicly discussing the possibility of turning Facebook into a metaverse corporation.
According to PR and branding experts, changing the company’s name won’t be enough to save its reputation, and the corporation will need to conduct “basic work” to regain public trust. It’s also feasible that Zuckerberg’s enormous public image may stymie any attempts to clear Meta’s name.