Lessons on how to rebrand from Twitter…

Setting the scene

It’s no secret that Elon Musk is obsessed with X, it’s literally his sons name, part of the SpaceX brand and a model of Tesla cars.

Setting the scene

So the rebrand from Twitter to X should come as no surprise, right? But it has, and the internet is NOT happy about it.

Let’s break this down and figure out what went so wrong for Twitter, sorry, X.

The vision for X

Elon’s vision for Twitter is to create a super app “X is the future state of unlimited interactivity — centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking — creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services and opportunities.” – claims X’s CEO.

Creating something that’s similar to China’s WeChat would undoubtedly be a game-changer, as there’s currently nothing like this in America. However, Tinuiti’s Chief Strategy Officer claims that this success is yet to be seen. “It’s not the reason people go to the app today, so to reposition the company…would take significant investment and time with what’s really a skeleton team.”

Ouch, big words there – but rightly so. When launching a brand, it can’t just be about what you want to say. It has to be about what your audience wants to hear, and whether or not they’re ready to hear it.

So, what actually happened when Twitter launched the new X brand?

The brand launch

There have been human babies that have taken longer birth than this new brand. On Saturday, Elon Musk asked his Twitter followers to suggest a new X logo, chose a design, and made it the companies new identity on Sunday.

Yes, the man who’s putting people in space, and claiming to build a super app, got a random fan to design his logo. Wow.

He claims that the design will be refined and “probably changed” later down the line and this is only an interim design. Nice save, Musk.

But there has been uproar from fans across the internet; from Twitter users tearing the logo down, to other brands mocking the sudden reposition. So where did it all go wrong?


The launch strategy

The rebrand is hollow, it’s a promise that there will be change to the app in the future, but for now, the app offers nothing new to its users.

This is, apparently, a preferred product strategy for Elon Musk, where “hype” is created first and then the product is delivered later – or in this case, much, much later.

With such a quick reposition, all of the brand loyality and heritage of Twitter has gone almost instantaniously, which has shunned speculation of Musk “flipping” the app after adding new features to it.

“That option is off the table now given the name change – I don’t think there’s any other prospective buyer who will take it now” Said Mandeep Singh, Bloomberg Intelligence Analyst.

How it should have been

From what we know, Elon Musk loves the letter X, he has big visions for creating a super app, so why has the launch of the new brand come as such a shock to Twitter fans? Let’s have a quick breakdown, probably much like X’s PR team…

1. get people excited about the launch

People had only 24 hours to react, digest and comprehend the new brand was coming. Twitter was founded in 2006, that’s twelve years of brand heritage being scrapped at lightening speed. Instead, this should have been done over a much longer period, explaining the rationale and values of the positioning. This will give people time to relate to the brand and see the intentions behind it.

2. Tease the new product

X has high hopes of being a super app, but currently offers nothing new to the previously branded Twitter, so why would be care about the logo change? Instead of this hasty reposition, Elon should have released new features to keep people engaged and show them the new direction of the app.

3. Bring people on the journey

Keeping the audience up-to-date with new features and brand teasers will have created much more anticipation and hype around the launch. This also gives people time to come to terms with the change and voice opinions along the way.

4. Take on feedback

When you drip feed progress you can gauge peoples reactions before committing to anything too drastic. People love to feel involved in the process and taking on feedback means that you not only engage the community but show an authentic side to the brand.

5. Launch with immaculate grace

If these stepped had been taken, when the rebrand was announced, people would then feel like the new features align with the new brand positioning and it would be a natural progression. BUT, this would only work with an immaculate brand that people can take time to adjust too. Launching with an “interim” logo gives no one stability or sight of where the brand is going long term, meaning fans of the brand are still very much in the dark about what the brand will look like long term…

The sunsetting of Twitter

It’s really difficult to rebrand if you don’t take the right steps to position yourself to your audience, as Channel4 and other brands have chimed in on social media…

Given that Bloomberg have stated this will make Twitter, sorry, X difficult to sell, shows the detrimental impact this has had on the brand reputation and audience loyalty.

With the new launch of Threads on Instagram, we predict this will be the demise of Twitter and X until the app is ready to re-launch into the market as the super app it hopes to be.

This is a tale about a man who didn’t know when to bring in the brand experts, don’t be that man.

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