Facebook just announced that it has a new logo. That might seem trivial or like a major change, depending on how you look at it, but changing your logo isn't something a company like Facebook takes lightly. Actually, in Facebook's case, it's not entirely clear why the company thought it needed to redefine its brand.
Here's what I mean: From a branding perspective, it's actually a great example of why your logo isn't your brand. Your brand isn't something you stick on a website or on a business card. Your brand is the way people feel about your company. No logo is going to change that, especially after weeks of bad press and public embarrassments.
That's the part Mark Zuckerberg doesn't get.
Facebook's announcement came in a blog post that says the social network is "updating our company branding to be clearer about the products that come from Facebook. We're introducing a new company logo and further distinguishing the Facebook company from the Facebook app, which will keep its own branding."
So, Facebook seems to think that people think about Facebook the app differently than Facebook the company. Notice how many times I just wrote Facebook? It's almost like it's all about Facebook. Which tells you everything you need to know about what Facebook is thinking about--Facebook.
Case in point: Facebook is making its branding even more prominent within its other apps, including Instagram. Somehow it thinks that it's really important that you know that Instagram and WhatsApp are a part of Facebook. I've already written about why this is a bad move, especially for those two apps.
America has a love/hate relationship with Facebook. We love that it allows us to connect people we don't see on a regular basis. We love that it allows us to keep in touch with family or friends, or connect with colleagues. And, we love that it's a powerful tool for marketing your business to the right audience. That's all great, but then there's the other side of Facebook.
We hate that Facebook seems to be constantly finding ways to soak up more of our personal information. We hate that it does such a terrible job of protecting our privacy and data. We hate that it tracks basically everything we do online. We hate that every day Facebook introduces something new that seems like it completely ignores the fact that no, we don't want a Facebook camera in our living room that can watch and listen to what we do in our home.
Oh, and we really hate that the company makes an enormous amount of money off of all of that, while ignoring basic responsibility like keeping our information safe. And then there's the fact the company censors what we get to see by controlling it with an algorithm. Unless, of course, you want to run a fake political ad. Then they'll show it to everyone just as long as your check clears.
Mark Zuckerberg would have you simply ignore those last two paragraphs and instead focus on how great the company he created is at "connecting the world" or something like that. Connecting the world is pretty lucrative.
Look, Facebook has some real problems. It's facing scrutiny on a range of fronts over privacy scandals, anti-competitive concerns, and a poorly conceived idea that people will trust Facebook to launch a digital currency. All of those problems have one common thread: Zuckerberg's belief that Facebook is good for the world, no matter the collateral damage.
I wrote before about how Facebook's biggest problem is that Zuckerberg is a true believer, meaning that he doesn't see Facebook as it is, but only as he imagines it to be. That's a problem, and it's not one you can fix with a new logo.