Communications/Wikimedia brands/2030 movement brand project/FAQ

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What’s the core change of the “brand project”?[edit]

Using Wikipedia name as the center of the movement’s brand system, replacing Wikimedia.

Why do we need to update our brand system?[edit]

Our 2030 goals ask us to reach billions of new people. We’re working to grow communities, readers, donors, supporters, and partners worldwide. Increasing the recognition and understanding of our brand will help invite people into our movement and navigate how our projects and communities connect. Research shows that very few people understand Wikimedia.[1] But many people around the world do know Wikipedia. Which has resulted in affiliates and volunteers defining their work in connection to Wikipedia.[2] This is a big growth opportunity for us to use the best-known brand we have to build movement growth. Think of it as a way to “shorten the distance” for people explaining our organizations, projects, and purpose by using Wikipedia not Wikimedia as the center of branding.


What is in scope for this project? What will not be changed?[edit]

The Wikimedia movement branding will be revised through this design process. Wikimedia project marks will not be adjusted.

Changing vs not changing.png
What exactly is changing.png

What is the timeline for this project? When do we expect to see the new brand system released?[edit]

We are expecting for the project to follow the following timeline: By end of June 2020 (The Foundation’s fiscal year 2019-2020) Create an evolved identity system for Wikimedia

  • Process planning (July - December 2019)
  • Collaborative system designing and refining (January 2020 - May 2020)
  • System release (June 2020)

Fiscal year 2020-2021 Begin using the new branding system at the Foundation and affiliates who opt-in.

Who is going to be affected by the brand changes?[edit]

Affiliates are critical participants in this project as they use the “Wikimedia” brand today. After consulting and collaborating with the Foundation on this process, Affiliates will each have the option to change their branding by opting-in to the proposed changes. It’s a choice for each group.

We hope to have participants from every/all affiliate(s). We want to know about how branding can help your work.

Projects will not be renamed. Part of the brand strategy suggested that Wikimedia Commons could be renamed “Wikicommons” but that decision is up to the Commons community.

We may develop a replacement to the “A Wikimedia project” icon that you find on project footers that shows how the project connects to Wikipedia. Our goal is to better link the projects together as a shared free knowledge network. Please help us define how we do this.

What motivates the effort to change the movement brand system?[edit]

There are three motivating problems:

  • The future of this wonderful, generous, social movement created is not guaranteed
  • To serve the world, Wikimedia needs to reach billions of people
  • The consultation revealed that the current system is not working well. “Wikimedia” serves as more of a barrier to participation than an invitation. It is an insider term that creates confusion.

Wikimedia’s relevance and survival is not guaranteed. As movement members, part of our job is to consider risks to the longevity of this incredible human achievement. Changes in society, policy, and technology, have been identified as significant risks to the nature and existence of the projects.

The vision of Wikimedia is for every person to share in all knowledge. Currently, awareness of Wikipedia outside of the United States and Europe is often less than 40%, and Wikimedia tends to test much lower than that at zero to 5%. To reach our vision we need to reach billions of people. The internet is different than it was in 2001, people use it differently and Wikimedia’s audience is not growing fast enough.

Is there a risk to volunteers in some countries if they present themselves as directly related to Wikipedia?[edit]

The safety of individual volunteers and community affiliates in our Movement is paramount. The risk of being “blamed” or “targeted” for association with Wikipedia is a risk identified by various community groups in the 2019 consultation. As a result, resolving this risk is a central design requirement for any change in our brands and systems.

We invite anyone with insight into this issue to join us and test any new brand suggestions against this requirement. We will never force anyone to do something that puts them in danger, and we will not create a new system that is more dangerous than the current one.

It is also clear from our conversations that “Wikimedia” is not protecting people from this danger, as groups have faced lawsuits and court time with our current branding.

Will it be confusing to use Wikipedia for things that are not an online encyclopedia project?[edit]

Yes, at first. That’s where we need your help to develop naming conventions that show how things relate. We need to make new names that reduce confusion and explain how things connect!

Have you already made all the naming conventions?[edit]

No. We have not made any of the names. We do not know what the Wikimedia Foundation’s new name would be, only that it would utilize Wikipedia not Wikimedia.

Will it be confusing to have French Wikipedia and Wikipedia France?[edit]

Yes. That is very confusing. And it would not help us simplify our movement to invite more people in.

So we need to make naming conventions that explain the difference between Wikipedia as a project and our communities and affiliates.

Once again, we have not created any of the naming conventions (we want to do that collaboratively) so Wikipedia France is not a suggested solution.

How were community responses in the 2019 consultation measured? What did the consultation reveal?[edit]

The goal of the community consultation was to understand what community groups thought of changing from a Wikimedia to Wikipedia-centered brand system. We have given great attention to collecting general feedback on whether affiliates/community groups/individuals support or oppose the project and even greater support to specified feedback that emphasizes points of strength and concerns.

We added metrics to ensure we

  1. reached enough people and affiliates to reflect the global reach of our movement
  2. documented how many individual contributors and affiliates were supportive/opposed/neutral to the proposal… in order to assess if the proposed change was possible

Towards #1, we’ve offered a map of our outreach results. We shared the proposal with 122 affiliates (82% of total) and got responses from 63 (52% wrote back). This reflected 37 countries and many thematic groups. In computing positions we recorded that 24 affiliates were in support, and 6 were against.

We agree with the statement on Wikimedia-l that it is better to label the ratio of support against the overall outreach number. So we have corrected it to 24/122 = 19.6% of affiliates explicitly support it. 6/122 oppose = 4.9%.

Overall, we’d like to reach more affiliates from more communities to understand their perspectives. Please join the brand network and help guide us!

Affiliation engagement in brand consultation.png

Towards #2, we can see that there is some confusion on where the “9,000” reach number came from and we would like to explain more.

We reached a lot of people with the consultation. Mostly through digital channels. Emailing Wikimedia-l, for example, would reach a maximum of its 1,971 registered subscribers. Our blog post reached 9,880 unique readers. On Meta-Wiki we saw that the talk page and proposal page received over 15K views. At events like Wikimedia Summit, Iberoconf, and Wikipedia Education we endeavored to invite all attendees to comment on the proposal, reaching a few hundred people. Without a clear ability to de-duplicate these data streams, we settled on a very low estimate of reach using the blog post stats.

That offered a low reach number for the proposal, from which we could compare response.

We received 113 comments on Meta-Wiki, 72 responses (from 31 unique users) on Wikimedia-l, and 19 direct emails to These are the comments we captured as feedback on the proposal advising us to consider legal/governmental risks and more. Of these responses, 57 users were explicitly opposed to using Wikipedia in place of Wikimedia.

We received responses from 63 affiliates. These responses offered persepctives from affiliate leadership and affiliate members. In Germany, the WMDE Communications team hosted 4 conversations with members of their community in various cities. In other communities, the proposal was shared to members via internal mailing lists and/or village pumps, and then comments were collected by affiliate leadership for sharing back to this process. Overall, 38% of responding affiliates (24 total) explicitly supported the proposed change, and 9.5% (6 total) of responding affiliates explicitly opposed the proposed change. The rest did not take a position in their comments on the proposal.

If Wikidata becomes more popular in the coming years, do you plan to rebrand to Wikidata?[edit]

Wikipedia is one of the world’s most beloved brands. Over 18 years, it has become a well-known (see awareness) and well-used (see unique devices) resource that represents global values of collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and international cooperation.

In Austria, for example, Wikipedia was just voted the #2 brand in the country, beating LEGO (#7) and Google (#14). Congrats Wikimedians of Austria! And German language Wikipedians! (What did we lose to by the way? Chocolate. It’s hard to beat Chocolate.)

Wikipedia has very high brand awareness. In the US and Europe, more than 80% of internet users have heard of Wikipedia. Even in our emerging regions, Wikipedia has ~40% awareness.

Wikipedia Awareness.png

Creating this level of familiarity has taken many years, and would take major marketing investments to re-create for other projects, including Wikidata. In our 7-nation 2017 brand study, Wikidata had just 22% brand awareness, meaning Wikipedia is twice as familiar, even its smallest awareness regions. Using Wikipedia as our central brand lets us build from this well-established foundation to lift all our projects and all our efforts.

All of our projects and communities could benefit from improved visibility, understanding, support, and participation. We believe that using Wikipedia as an overarching brand element will make that possible.

This is not an opposition to Wikidata.

How can I get involved again?[edit]

Join us in designing a new Movement brand together. You can keep up with the project updates here or join our online working groups on Wikimedia Space, Facebook, or Meta-Wiki. These groups are working towards the project’s common goals, with the same information. Pick the one that you are most comfortable using.

Where can I share a comment or question?[edit]

Write to brandproject [at] wikimedia [dot] org and we will get back to you!