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2022 was not the year that the rebranded social media company wanted it to be. Back in 2021, when Facebook rebranded to Meta it was obviously a tough sell. Despite having owned the Oculus VR headsets for almost a decade, the average consumer just knew that Facebook was the social media company. That rebrand marked a pivot point for meta and for consumers of VR content. It was the point where Mark Zuckerberg decided that he needed to make the vision for VR, the vision for all social interaction. Here’s where my unpopular opinion comes in… When Facebook made that decision, they were so far ahead of the game that they were always destined to fail.
Why the Meta Rebrand was a Failure
Like I mentioned in the introduction, the rebrand to Meta and the shift towards building the Metaverse was a big pivot for Mark zuckerberg’s social experience this company.
I covered the concept of the need for a important bridge between 2D social media and 3D social media in another blog post here… But here’s a quick summary.
The metaverse is just a way to be social media platform that removes your physical identity.
There’s a lot of complex ways to explain Mark zuckerberg’s metaverse, but I think the simplest way to explain it is removing your physical identity from the equation when it comes to social interaction.
There’s a great Ted talk that I’ll link below that explores the idea of how VR and games can help us transcend barriers of race sex and visual appeal.
I think Mark zuckerberg’s ultimate goal is to create a world that is free of physical appearance discrimination, and instead we can allow the personality underneath to shine through.
So why was the meta rebrand a big fail for Facebook?
Well it’s a classic marketing trope that if you focus too much on the features of your product and not the problems that it solves you’re going to have a really hard time bringing in leads.
And that’s ultimately why Mark zuckerberg’s idea the metaphorse has failed. Not because it’s uninteresting or that it’s not innovative but because he spent too much time highlighting all the things that your headset can do and not highlighting the problems that you’re headset can solve.
Why is Meta’s Stock Down?
For now, it’s not extremely hard to see why Meta is having a tough time keeping their stock prices up.
The metaverse is a very new concept that your average individual knows nothing about. And unfortunately the equation for profitability in a company as big as Meta requires either mass user adoption plus a low investment to revenue generated ratio.
Unfortunately for meta, they haven’t yet seen the numbers that they need in order to generate the revenue to justify their initial investment.
The Meta Rebrand was a Huge Mistake
Unfortunately I think Meta made a massive problem for themselves by rebranding… Not necessarily by focusing on the metaverse.
As a marketing professional, I work with a lot of brands and businesses to help them understand how to turn their brand into an effective marketing and business asset rather than a tool that works against them.
When Facebook made the shift to meta, they painted a Target on their back that basically said if the metavers fails, our company fails with it.
The equivalent of Facebook making the rebrand to meta would be if Google made the rebrand to “wearables” when they launched Google Glass.
Google Glass at the time it was released was actually a very innovative product… But people at the time were not comfortable wearing technology. So most of the time you look like a dork.
But now the time is starting to come where if you are wearing technology on your body that helps you read and decipher health information in real time, you’re doing the same thing as everybody else.
The Metaverse is a Solid Bet on the Future of the Internet.
Despite the unfortunate rebrand, meta has the right idea. The future of the internet is definitely already moving towards a more interconnected and 3D sphere of universal digitization.
The social factor of the Metaverse is huge. The idea of rollplaying a different avatar online is not new. In fact, it’s been happening on a 10+ year old open world game you may have heard of called Grand Theft Auto Online for years.
And if you really feel like the idea of roleplaying on an interconnected digital universe is only for nerds – you will be as perplexed as I was when you watch Tee Grizzley (a very successful and influential Detroit rapper) roll playing in a GTA gang.
The idea is solid. But there’s a long long way to go. And to be clear, The Company Formerly Known as Facebook should not be the only company that owns or the only company that contributes to the metaverse.
But until another company like Apple or Google releases a headset that offers any competition to the Quest 2, it will continue to seem like a pipe dream.
So let’s come back to my unpopular opinion to close this article off.
Why Do I Think Meta is So Far Ahead of the Game?
Rumors are stating that Apple is planning on releasing their VR headset later this year. As the first to market meta represents a strong presentation in the VR market and Apple risks a lot by coming into the market if they don’t do it perfectly.
At the end of the day meta has broken a lot of important ground when it comes to the metaverse and other companies will have to deal with that market dominance in 2023 and beyond.
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