#6. Corporate name change and business ethics

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” Facebook changes its name to Meta (a reference to Metaverse) in a corporate rebranding exercise. The move is seen to deflect criticism from the negative publicity that it attracted. Corporates cannot be absolved of their responsibility by rebranding themselves. Ethics is a sustained business ideal. 

👍. प्रस्ताव / For the motion

  • After protests against racial discrimination took over in the US, Black Lives Matter, Hindustan Unilever Limited’s Fair & Lovely faced a lot of backlash on social media for building unrealistic beauty standards and stereotyping skin tones in India. HUL’s recent attempt at rebranding Fair & Lovely into Glow & Lovely was appreciated by some experts while others called it merely an eyewash for the audience. Similarly, Facebook name change to Meta primarily aims to deflect criticism on its failure to contain negative influence on impressionable young minds, alleged its former employees. With a new moniker it expects to start with a clean slate.
  • Rebranding is a costly affair, not to mention the humungous paper work to develop and research the name alone—from trademarks, copyright to domains and SEO. However, past sin is difficult to get away with and comes back to haunt. Philip Morris changed its name to The Altria Group on January 27, 2003 in order to wrap under carpet the growing clamour against its tobacco business by tobacco control activists. The name change was to insulate other non-tobacco food businesses. The ploy didn’t work. It is still referred to as a tobacco company.
  • When you change the way you see the world; when your intentions are positive and powerful; when you yearn for good, then your life transforms into an amazing experience it was meant to be.PepsiCo is trying to get into healthy food business and reduce its carbonated drinks which has been junked by several sportspersons and activists.But old habits die hard for many others. Many real estate companies have added the word ‘Infrastructure’ to their names as this sector is under the spotlight. Similarly, in the late 1990s and 2000, ‘technology’ was the buzzword. These days, a lot of name changes reflect words like fintech, defence, renewable energy and bio-tech, among others. The names have changed but not their outlook and their business.

👎अप्रस्ताव / Against the motion:

📖📚TRIVIA

Original names and their current names of some of the top companies:

  1. As the society evolves, it embraces newer outlook. The standards and stereotypes which were in vogue through centuries are being challenged like skin colour, race, societal barriers, castes etc. Companies too adopt those changes and it is reflected in the way they engage with their customers. Names of the companies and their products reflect those changing ethos
  2. TELCO (Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company) which used to make locomotive engines now makes commercial and passenger vehicles. Hence the name changed to Tata Motors. Similarly Facebook has evolved from being social networking company to a technology company with interests in varied products like fintech, communication channels, online shopping, virtual rooms, social media, hardware manufacturer, services provider, advertising platform. Hence the business need to be associated with a new identity to reflect the plethora of businesses. Meta would oversee Facebook as just another product like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus.
  3. Businesses react to evolving challenges to the brand equity. Sometimes names are also changed to incorporate new partners, mergers, joint ventures in businesses like Maruti and Suzuki Corporation of Japan merged together to become Maruti Suzuki Ltd. UTI bank became Axis Bank after tussle with the parent body UTI. 
Sr.NoOriginal NameOriginal Year of IncorporationCurrent NameYear of Name Change
1Tata Engineering and LocomotiveCompany, TELCO1945Tata Motors2003
2Tata Iron and Steel Company Limited (TISCO)1907Tata Steel2005
3BackRub1996Google1998
4Apple Computers1976Apple, Inc.2007
5Research in Motion1984Blackberry2013
6Brad’s Drink1893Pepsi-Cola1898, PepsiCO in 1965
7Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo1946Sony Corporation1958
8Blue Ribbon Sports1964Nike1971
9Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation1911International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)1924
10Pete’s Super Submarines1965Subway1967
11Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide WebJan-94“Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle” (YAHOO)Apr-94

🏹 ORIENTAL WISDOM

Popularised by Snow Crash, a 1992 sci-fi novel by Neal Stephenson, the Metaverse broadly refers to the idea of a shared virtual platform that people can access through different devices and where they can move through digital environments. Mark Zuckerberg has become the new Indra , King of Gods for the metaverse he is building. In the classic Raja Yoga, Swami Vivekanand explains that our universe is not the only universe, but one of the possibly infinite Meta-Universe (parallel universe) past and present which are collectively known as MetaVerse. This brings into discussion of Akasha as a Primary Substance, out of which all things are formed. Akasha refer to a dimension of consciousness that contains the vibrational record of every soul and its journey. This substance is light, the essential life force. It is infinite knowledge and wisdom, an infinite spiritual resource. These spiritual records contain information from all dimensions- time frames, realities, universes and lifetimes.

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