As Elon Musk rebrands Twitter and replaces the ubiquitous blue bird with an X after 17 years marketing experts deliver their verdict…so what do you think?
- Twitter’s rebrand has been dubbed ‘absolute marketing suicide’ by some experts
- Others suggested it was a last ditch effort to detoxify the social media company
Elon Musk unveiled perhaps his most vigorous shakeup of Twitter so far on Monday: rebranding the social media platform and the famous blue bird with X.
After buying the platform for $44 billion last year, Musk announced a number of changes, including limiting the number of tweets users can see and installing a subscription system for blue ticks that saw the verification taken away from notable profiles.
Is X a good rebrand of Twitter?
Is X a good rebrand of Twitter?
Now share your opinion
The changes have alienated some users and turned off advertisers, leaving the microblogging site vulnerable to new threats, including rival Meta’s new text-based app Threads that directly targets Twitter users. Despite this, Musk has remained persistent in his vision for the company, seeking to eventually culminate with his ‘everything app’.
In his latest shake up, Musk reached out to his fans for logo ideas and chose one, which he described as minimalist Art Deco, saying it ‘certainly will be refined.’ He replaced his own Twitter icon with a white X on a black background and posted a picture of the design projected on Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters.
This was a vastly different process to Twitter’s famous blue bird, which saw three professional designers undertake an extensive process that involved dozens of versions of minimally different birds.
The rebrand didn’t appear to impress many already on Twitter/X this morning following the change. One user vented: ‘Can someone tell this man to leave Twitter alone?’, while another joked: ‘Twitter is rebranding to X and I can’t help but ask Y.’
‘Wtf is X???? Can somebody tell this man to leave twitter alone?’ another user wrote.
The marketing experts have also now had their say, and many haven’t been subtle in their damnation of Musk’s approach, deemed by some as ‘absolute marketing suicide’.
While some marketing experts see the change as a last ditch effort to detoxify the company, others see it as a clean slate for Musk to push on with his greater plans for the platform.
After buying the platform for $44 billion last year, Musk has announced a number of changes to Twitter. Musk is pictured at the Vivatech technology startups and innovation fair at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, June 16, 2023
Elon Musk unveiled perhaps his most vigorous shakeup of Twitter so far on Monday: rebranding the social media platform and the famous blue bird with X
Richard Michie, the CEO and founder of The Marketing Optimist, simply called the rebrand: ‘absolute marketing suicide’.
READ MORE: Inside Elon Musk’s 25-year history and obsession with the letter X
Not holding back over his view of Musk’s marketing strategy, Michie said: ‘Since he took over Twitter in what must be the most misguided takeover of the business in history, Elon Musk has been giving a masterclass in how to kill a brand with death by a thousand cuts.
He called Twitter under Musk’s ownership ‘a total basket case’ that ‘adds zero value to advertisers’.
Michie said a better approach would have been for Musk to ‘double down on the brand’ and ‘build on the legacy and user base’.
‘But what is he doing instead?,’ he questioned, ‘Rebranding as X, the universal symbol for closing an application. The Twitter brand has been neglected since before he took over and needed some TLC but ditching literally everything is a huge gamble.’
Other experts understood the reasoning behind Musk’s approach
Tom Anderson, a Hummingbird Agency director, said the rebrand came across as a ‘last-ditch effort to salvage the platform’s declining reputation’.
‘It was evident that he (Musk) needed to take action,’ Anderson added.
‘However, I share the sentiment that this rebrand alone may not be enough to address the underlying issues. Twitter has long been plagued by its association with toxicity and harassment. A mere change in logo and name cannot erase the negative perceptions and experiences users have encountered on the platform.’
While some marketing experts see the change as a last ditch effort to detoxify the company, others see it as a clean slate for Musk to push on with his greater plans for the platform
Twitter’s new logo is seen projected on the corporate headquarters building in downtown San Francisco, California, late Sunday night
Anderson said the logo change could garner some positive attention but ‘it won’t outweigh the larger systemic problems Twitter faces’ such as the ‘the spread of misinformation, hate speech, and abusive behaviour.’
READ MORE: ‘Can someone tell this man to leave Twitter alone?’ Users slam Elon Musk’s decision to rebrand to ‘X’
‘The rebrand seems like a superficial attempt to create a new narrative and distract from the pressing issues at hand,’ Anderson concluded.
Think3’s Amey Hellen said: ‘A brand that has been around for almost two plus decades being wiped out overnight does not feel like the smartest choice, however, it is very fitting for the controversial entrepreneur.
Aligning with Musk’s own aims for the proposed ‘everything app’, Hellen said: ‘I think this is just the beginning of what is to come for this app.’
Short Story Ventures’ Danny Matthews also appeared to heap praise on Musk for his decision to shake up the platform.
‘It makes absolute sense to me that he wants to rebrand away from a social media platform and instead, expand X into an app that integrates with the rest of your life,’ Matthews said.
‘If people thought $44bn was a lot of money to buy Twitter, I think Elon Musk is about to unlock the real value in his purchase, although it might take some time for us to see it.’
However, Matthews added the caveat that it was ‘never a good idea to rebrand on a whim without any real communication’ but he said ‘Musk is an anomaly in pretty much everything he does.’
Musk, Chief Executive Officer of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of Twitter, gestures as he attends the Viva Technology conference
Twitter’s new logo is seen projected on the corporate headquarters building in downtown San Francisco, California
But Ben Foster form the SEO Works said the rebrand to X as part of Musk’s strategic long-term play to create an ‘everything app’ that included instant messaging and banking came across as ‘reactive’.
He said: ‘It feels like this sudden change is more reactive to try and place the media focus back onto Musk’s plans rather than Zuckerberg’s,’ following the launch of Meta’s Threads.
Debbie Porter from Designation Digital Marketing said it ‘feels like there is an element of Musk stamping his feet in tantrum after Threads was launched to viral success by Mark Zuckerberg two weeks ago.’
She added: ‘Musk owns the skies through Starlink, and he’s making inroads on mapping the surface of the earth through Tesla. Whilst the mapping of roads is confined to roads, if you want to get more granular with the data you own, you need the mobile phones in people’s pockets to help you map in even more detail.
‘Rather than viewing this as a billionaire’s spat between Zuckerberg and Musk, we might want to keep an eye on Musk’s global domination plans.