The new branding distinguishes app from acquisitions
Despite some U.S. lawmakers calling for the breakup of major technology companies, Facebook wants to make it even clearer that, yes, it owns Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus.
The new parent company brand image places the Facebook name in all capital letters and includes a shifting color scheme as a nod to its different properties.
“Over the coming weeks, we will start using the new brand within our products and marketing materials, including a new company website,” Facebook’s CMO Antonio Lucio writes. For example, the bolder “from FACEBOOK” branding will appear at the bottom of the Instagram login screen and settings menu. Facebook previously used a blue or white lowercase “f” as a logo.
The company is working to make Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram Direct an interoperable and encrypted messaging system, and placing them all on a centralized infrastructure could make Facebook difficult to break up in an antitrust effort. But underscoring their relationship may have negative consequences for the company’s owned brands: A Pew study found that only 29% of Americans correctly named Instagram and WhatsApp as properties of Facebook. It may be to their benefit to keep the brands separate: Facebook’s brand value has fallen since 2017, per an Interbrand report that weighed three main factors—including how positive the brand’s perception is worldwide.
Jakki Mohr, professor of marketing at the University of Montana and a Marketing News columnist, said via email that the argument that Facebook is trying to be more transparent about what products it owns suggests the company thinks the family or umbrella branding strategy will serve users and advertisers better.
“However, given the troubles Facebook is facing with respect to privacy breaches and possible antitrust concerns, it seems a bit naive—perhaps even disingenuous—to think that changing the brand strategy will provide any substantive solutions to the root causes underlying those problems,” Mohr writes. “Moreover, changing the brand strategy because Zuckerberg was ‘unsatisfied with the credit Facebook was getting for owning Instagram and WhatsApp’ belies the benefits that might arise from keeping these brands independent—i.e., less blowback from the problems Facebook is facing on its other brands or companies.”