Facebook, As a Family Now

On November 4th, Facebook unveiled a new logo that meant to represent the parent company that owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and more. The logo just says “Facebook,” but in a really bland and generic font that looks like it would fit well on a credit card. A GIF shows the word mark displaying in different colors to represent the different brands — blue for Facebook proper, green for WhatsApp, pinkish for Instagram, and so on.

The changes will see Facebook introduce a company logo that aims to distinguish Facebook the company from Facebook the app. It has its own typography and capitalisation in a move that CMO Antonio Lucio says will create a “visual distinction” between the company and app.

The move highlights its effort to be more clear with consumers about the apps it owns. A recent survey by nonpartisan think tank Pew found that only 29% of Americans correctly answered that Instagram and WhatsApp are owned by Facebook, while 49% are “not sure” and 22% did not know.

This despite the fact that behind the scenes the three services are operating much more closely. For example, advertisers can now create Stories and share them across Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. That “interoperability”, as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls it, is only set to increase.

“You should be able to use any of our apps to reach your friends, and you should be able to communicate across our networks easily and securely,” Zuckerberg told analysts during its first quarter earnings call earlier this year.

The corporate Facebook brand will now appear on all its apps, including WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus, Messenger and Portal. It will appear in prominent positions, for example users will see “from Facebook” appear on the log-in screen. This is the first time the corporate entity has had its own branding.

However, that increasing interoperability has not gone down well with everyone at the company. The founders of Instagram – Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom – reportedly left after becoming uncomfortable at the increasing role Facebook was paying in its operations. The same is reportedly true for the founders of WhatsApp, in particular Facebook’s different approach to privacy.

While there are benefits to Facebook of being more closely associated with Instagram and WhatsApp, the reverse is also likely true. There are other concerns about bringing the brands closer together. The Facebook brand has been tainted by a number of scandals over the past few years, most notably Cambridge Analytica.

As Mark Ritson wrote earlier this year: “The one obvious brand management implication would be keeping your current and future acquisitions ring-fenced from Facebook’s toxic brand image.”

Whether it’s good or bad to emphasize the unity and wholeness of all apps of Facebook company, we will wait and see.





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4 Responses to Facebook, As a Family Now

  1. simonemody says:

    Hi Yilu,

    I think the move from Facebook to revamp and include their logo in all their owned apps comes of as a kind of a power move wherein Facebook is displaying the manner in which they are more than just an app and they want everyone to know that. It also sort of displays that, as you mentioned, Facebook is going to be more involved in its owned apps. I however, personally think that it may not be the best move for Facebook and the Facebook portfolio as latest they have had a lot of issues and bad new revolving around their brand name especially in the realm of Data Privacy and this move may work bad for the goodwill of their other brands.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. malikam says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I think like you say at the end we’ll have to wait and see as to whether or not this will be a good move for Facebook! I feel as if in the short-term it may seem like a bad move on their end, because some of the negative connotations associated with Facebook may carry over to the other apps as a result that people never really grouped together before–particularly all the negative feelings people have towards FB in terms of data privacy as a result of the various scandals that have ensued over the past few years. However, on that same note I think that in the long-run this will actually be a good move on Facebook’s part because consumers will realize that now Facebook is being much more transparent with them by showing them that these various apps are associated with Facebook. I think consumers would appreciate Facebook being honest about these apps that they own rather than trying to hide and disguise them as something else, and later when they find out FB owns them feeling like they were blindsided. But am definitely intrigued and interested to see how this is all going to play out!

  3. Rita says:

    Thanks for sharing! I think as you said we needed to wait for the following situations of Facebook. For me, I think it has both sides. As a consumer, I don’t like much about the integration of the different platforms, specifically, I don’t like Facebook plugs functions into Instagram, because sometimes people may show different images through different platforms. But from a manager’s side, it may be worth to do that since it shows the transparency and architecture of the company and bring more profits and credits to the company.


  4. Nancy Jin says:

    Thanks for sharing! The attempts that Facebook tries to make remind me of Tencent, an influential Chinese technology company. Just like Facebook, Tencent owns two major social media apps in China–QQ and WeChat. They are undoubtedly competitors. However, they are also cooperating all the time. On WeChat, people can have access directly into QQ. And vice versa. This not only helps these two apps to share a union set of users, but also help them to enhance user loyalty. I believe that it would provide valuable lessons and reference for Facebook’s current work!


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