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This article was published on February 16, 2022

Meta’s new slogans aren’t impressing branding experts — or metaverse veterans

Ahoy there, Metamates!

Meta’s new slogans aren’t impressing branding experts — or metaverse veterans
Thomas Macaulay
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Thomas Macaulay

Writer at Neural by TNW Writer at Neural by TNW

If you thought the Meta rebrand was merely trying to salvage a tarnished reputation, Mark Zuckerberg has conclusive evidence that you’re wrong.

The Facebook founder has unveiled a new set of “values” to reflect the profound transformation of his beleaguered baby.

But can the new slogans transform the company’s fortunes? We asked branding experts and metaverse veterans.

1. Live in the Future

The social media — sorry, metaverse — juggernaut has ditched its old motto of “be bold.” In its place is the slightly ominous “live in the future.”

Gijsbregt Vijn, the founder and managing director of Lemon Scented Tea, a European creative agency, feels the new motto is too vague:

It doesn’t guide you as an employee towards new grounds. It just says adopt new ways of working. Opportunity missed in my opinion.

2. Be Direct and Respect Your Colleagues

Employees are no longer asked to merely “be open.” Their new objective is to “be direct and respect your colleagues.”

Vijn said the aggressive tone of “be direct” reduces the impact of the call for “respect.” He also noted issues with the emphasis on colleagues:

Using the word colleagues feels like an exclusive island within the world — which is an unlucky choice of words as a social interaction tech company.

3. Focus on Long-Term Impact

Perhaps the biggest shift in messaging is “focus on long-term impact.” It’s a goal that Meta has been accused of sacrificing for profit.

Vijn felt this value contradicted recent comments from Zuckerberg:

This could have been the value that would bring Meta from a ‘me’ company to a ‘we’ company. But actually, that is not the explanation Mark Zuckerberg gave in his last interview — it focused mainly on how to innovate.

4. Build Awesome Things

Vijn wasn’t critical of every new slogan. A notable exception was “build awesome things:”

Personally, I love this as I believe if we engage people we can change people. This one is quite logical when Meta wants to build this new metaverse. Without an awesome experience, nobody will come — and it will really motivate people internally.

5. Move Fast

Meta has also refined the company’s mercurial “move fast” motto.

“It’s about moving fast together — in one direction as a company, not just as individuals,” said Zuckerberg.

Vijn didn’t feel the slogan added much that was new:

No big change there.

Overall, Vijn was struck by the lack of social values, such as community, well-being, and sustainability. He also said the slogans failed to mention what Meta was fighting against:

“Every good story has a hero and a bad guy,” he said. “Well, the story of Meta at the moment has many bad guys — think the whole privacy discussion. By not mentioning anything about that it feels less authentic and makes it a bit unreal for people.”

The values also failed to impress metaverse insiders. Jamie Bykov-Brett, metaverse architect at MetaHub, said they failed to address the unease surrounding Zuckerberg’s new focus:

These values are hardly the foundational principles that are required for the building of the metaverse.

I would have liked to see values that sought to curb concerns with the ‘Facebook’ built metaverse, and address concerns around inequalities such as access to technology and how long you’ve been in the metaverse, combined with pre-existing inequalities to magnify that disparity.

The metaverse did, however, get a mention in the final new values.

6. Meta, Metamates, Me

The shrinking pool of talent that still wants to join Meta can look forward to a new moniker: Metamates.

The ignominious sobriquet was revealed in the slogan “Meta, Metamates, Me.” The expression suggests that employees should prioritize the company’s well-being over their own.

The value is apparently a reference to the Navy phrase “Ship, shipmate, self.”  Sources neither confirmed nor denied that the saying was coined for a ship that sank.

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