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Twitter doesn’t have an X-it strategy

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So, the Twitter rebrand huh? I can’t imagine I’m breaking the news to you at this point, but if anyone has been on a news detox, Elon Musk has decided to rebrand Twitter to simply X. It came out of left field, taking people on social media by surprise and leaving many scratching their heads. Why change the name of one of the most recognisable brands in the world?

His reasoning, which has since been explained, is that he didn’t feel the name “made sense”. The name originated when the site only allowed 140 character messages, much like birds twittering (apparently) but now that Elon has changed this to allow paying, “verified” users to post much longer messages, he feels it’s irrelevant and doesn’t have any meaning. Whereas X does…

The reaction has largely been negative, arguably in part due to the general perception of Elon Musk. Fewer than one in five Britons have a favourable opinion of him, despite formally being heralded as a visionary.

The communications issue at play here is one that’s seen in many businesses; rebranding in place of a clear strategy. The announcement was made in a tweet and therefore came across in the eyes of many as a change being made on whim. This may be simplifying things somewhat as Elon has since said that he’s aiming to make X a full brand with social media, instant messaging and a banking app.

This is where the key lesson lies. A successful rebrand should be steeped in a strategy which speaks to the wants and needs of consumers, customers or clients - depending on the type of business. Those which aren’t, rarely resonate with the end-user of a product or service. Look at Proper Corn, which has expanded its brand to become Proper Snacks to include a broader range of items. It talks to the consumer while supporting the bottom line. The X rebrand feels like a new label with little thought - a sudden decision from on-high possibly without proper consultation with the marketing team. With the platform shedding users at lightening speed, this 'rebrand' could become a crisis situation before the year is out.


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