Facebook recently rebranded to Meta, a move its CEO Mark Zuckerberg says reflects the company’s new move towards virtual and augmented reality. But why do companies spend millions of dollars to rebrand?
Here in Africa, we’ve seen rebranding from the likes of Plentywaka to Treepz, Access Bank with a new logo incorporating Diamond Bank’s, Finchat bot to FCB.ai, and the notorious 6 times rebranding of Nigerian telco Econet, currently known as 9mobile.
To Polish their Reputation
A company can rebrand as a result of ambiguity in its brand name. Take Plentywaka for instance, the ride-hailing startup discovered that “waka” had a different meaning in other African countries which may not reflect the original, so it rebrands to Treepz. Another reason here could be depreciating brand equity stemming from a bad reputation. Sometimes companies will spend as much as possible to rebrand and get a fresh start when there are too many negative reviews for their services. The rebranding of the now privatised Nigerian power company, National Electric Power Authority ( NEPA) to The Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN )can be seen in this light.
New brand Direction
Sometimes a company sees a larger potential for servicing and rebrands to name that is less limiting. This is the case with Facebook’s rebranding to Meta. The company saw that it could be more than a social media network, and changed its identity to reflect the new virtual and augmented reality it’s building, the “metaverse”. Take Finchat Bot for, example the African startup rebranded to FCB.ai, as it sees itself as more than a chatbot but a conductor of a conversational AI ecosystem.
The rebranding of a company can come on the back of a merger, neither firm want to be overshadowed, so a new brand name is created. One of the early mergers in Africa was in 1998 when Exxon and Mobil joined forces to become ExxonMobil. The Access Bank rebranding as seen in its logo also fits this scenario.