Facebook brand strategy / positioning case study

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Facebook Brand Strategy Analysis
Facebook
ABOUT

Category:
Media & entertainment – social media; Electronics & technology  VR & AR devices

Owner of the brand:
Facebook, Inc.

Key competitors:
Snapchat, TikTokLinkedIn, Google, Twitter

Brand essence

Giving people the power to build community and bringing the world closer together.

Brand values

Innovation, openness, connectedness.

Brand character

Warm, human, friendly, welcoming, for everybody.

EVIDENCE
Comments
1

Facebook is still the biggest and the most mainstream social media channel. As such, it doesn’t alienate any mainstream marketers (unlike other social media which are more specific with regard to the audience they attempt to target) and is able to attract the largest number of brands, publishers and creators, who, via Facebook, want to build reach and communicate with mass audiences. Given its business model, the company constantly strikes a balance between building a compelling brand proposition for itself and serving as a white-label background for other brands. Until a few years ago, it was mostly focused on the second aspect. However, with the growing popularity of other, more distinct social media brands, such as young-skewing Snapchat, visually-driven Instagram (also owned by Facebook) and professionally-minded LinkedIn, Facebook realized it needed to start communicating its values and personality more effectively to differentiate itself.

2

The major change in Facebook’s brand and communication strategy came in 2012, when the company launched its first image campaign[1]. Its main objective was to build a more emotional perception of the brand and convey the message that Facebook stands for much more than mere technology. The main themes communicated at that time were openness and connectedness, which are still at the core of Facebook’s brand strategy. In 2017, the company revealed its new mission statement, “To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”[2] which was supposed to place a stronger emphasis on “social unity”[3] than the previous version (”To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected”[4]).

3

In 2019, Facebook announced a new brand architecture, which has effectively transformed Instagram and WhatsApp from independent to endorsed brands and moved them closer to the Facebook umbrella brand. Currently, Facebook’s endorsement is visible only in a number of places, e.g., on the Instagram and WhatsApp splash screen (the first screen a user sees when opening an app) or on the settings page. There are two reasons why Facebook decided to change its brand architecture. Firstly, it wanted to exploit Instagram’s and WhatsApp’s growing popularity to improve the image of the Facebook brand. Secondly, this shift is believed to be part of a wider effort to better integrate these three businesses. so that they constitute one, inseparable entity, the assets of which can’t be easily spun off[5].

4

Facebook’s external brand image is enriched with the elements of the company’s employer value proposition (EVP), which is slightly different than the image presented to consumers. Facebook’s EVP is bolder and places a stronger emphasis on themes such as effectiveness and speed. In the past, the company also prided itself on its hacker culture. At that time, Facebook’s corporate website said: “Facebook is defined by our hacker culture – an environment that rewards creative problem solving and rapid decision making. We encourage people to be bold.” Currently Facebook doesn’t use this wording anymore.

5

Facebook’s focus on strengthening relationships between people, building a sense of belonging, and creating a worldwide community where everyone is equal are characteristic components of the brand equity based on the Regular Guy archetype. However, the narrative typical of the Creator archetype is also apparent in Facebook’s product and marketing efforts – the brand is dedicated to innovating, creating new experiences and enabling self-expression.

6

Dominant colours: blue and white.

Tagline
Most important campaigns

1. “Facebook Groups: Ready To Rock?” (2020)

2. “World Of Hopes” (2018)

3. “Friend Request” (2015)

4. “Our Friends” (2015)

5. “We Are Not Alone” (2014)

6. “The Things That Connect Us” (2012)

Official brand statement:

Our Mission
Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”[6]

Interesting facts:

Facebook’s first name was Thefacebook, located at thefacebook.com. The name was changed to Facebook in 2005.[7]

The first celebrity with more than 100 million likes on Facebook was Shakira, and the second  was Cristiano Ronaldo.[8]

Must-reads

1. Bloomberg on Facebook’s new brand architecture
K. Wagner, “Facebook Adds More Corporate Branding To Instagram, WhatsApp”, Bloomberg, Nov 2019,
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-04/facebook-adds-more-corporate-branding-to-instagram-whatsapp

2. Forbes on Facebook’s long-term strategy
S. Denning, “How Facebook Handles This Crisis Will Be A Critical Turning Point”, Forbes, Nov 2018,
https://www.forbes.com/sites/stephaniedenning/2018/11/19/why-facebook-is-facing-a-critical-turning-point/#3d8f01312bef

3. Quartz on Facebook’s new mission statement
M. J. Coren, “Facebook’s Global Expansion No Longer Has Its Mission Statement Standing In The Way”, Quartz, Jun 2017,
https://qz.com/1012461/facebook-changes-its-mission-statement-from-ing-its-mission-statement-from-sharing-making-the-world-more-open-and-connected-to-build-community-and-bring-the-world-closer-together/

 

Sources:
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