Why the Twitter “X” Rebrand is an unmitigated disaster

A decision that sent shockwaves through the social media universe, Elon Musk's bold move to transform the troubled platform into "X" has left the industry scratching their heads. We unravel the reasons why this is a bad move for the brand, and the future implications it may have for the platform.
Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Editor In Chief at The Executive Magazine

In a daring move that has shaken the social media realm, Elon Musk’s recent decision to rebrand Twitter as “X” has sent shockwaves through the industry. Far from being a mere name change, this enigmatic shift hints at a deep-seated trouble brewing beneath the surface, signalling the need for a revival that exceeds the ordinary.

It’s no secret that Twitter has faced turbulent times since Musk’s audacious acquisition of the platform for a staggering $44 billion. As the months passed, the company saw a decline in users and advertising revenues, casting a shadow on its once-glorious position in the social media landscape.

Embracing Change with “X” In a bold announcement, Musk revealed plans to bid adieu to the iconic Twitter brand and its renowned blue bird logo. As the sun rose on a new day, the “X” symbol emerged as the brand’s intriguing new face, transforming its headquarters into an emblem of change. This revitalised image is a testament to Musk’s determination to navigate Twitter towards a radiant future.

A Tradition of Reinvention

Twitter is not the first company to embrace a rebrand as a strategic manoeuvre. History is rife with illustrious examples of enterprises seeking to shed their past and embark on a new trajectory through a name metamorphosis. Renowned entities like RBS Group, Philip Morris, Facebook, Google, Royal Mail, and WeightWatchers have all embarked on this path of transformation. However, rebrands can also shed light on existing challenges, leaving no room for uncertainty.

The Telltale Woes

At Twitter, the struggles are undeniable. Musk himself admits that revenues have plummeted by a staggering 50% since his acquisition. The employee count has also taken a severe hit, with a significant reduction from over 7,000 to a mere 2,300, or even less according to some sources. The platform’s monthly users are shrouded in mystery, yet insiders predict a worrisome decline from its zenith of 368.4 million in 2022 to a projected 335.7 million in 2024.

Moreover, users have voiced their concerns over the changes Musk introduced, such as limiting tweet visibility and launching a subscription service. These modifications have seemingly diminished the once-glorious Twitter experience, further fuelling the search for alternatives.

Rivals on the Horizon

As the winds of change blow, rivals eagerly encircle the embattled Twitter. Bluesky, spearheaded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has already amassed over a million downloads, boasting a waiting list of aspiring users. Facebook’s Meta joins the fray with its own Threads, breaking records with 150 million downloads, though it struggles to sustain the initial momentum.

The Vision of “X”

Musk’s aspiration for “X” goes beyond a mere rebrand; it envisions a revolutionary “everything app” that will encompass messaging, payments, and banking functionalities. This ambitious “marketplace” will be fuelled by the limitless potential of AI, connecting people worldwide in unprecedented ways. With CEO Linda Yaccarino at the helm, “X” represents a remarkable second chance to make a grand impression, redefining the global town square as we know it.

Aaron Kelly, Creative Director of The Executive Group tells us: “Rebranding can offer significant benefits to an organisation, enabling it to evolve and thrive in a dynamic business landscape. However, to maximize the benefits and avoid potential pitfalls, a well-planned, strategic, and well-executed rebranding effort is essential. It requires a deep understanding of the organisation’s goals, customers, and market positioning, along with clear communication and a strong commitment to maintaining brand integrity throughout the transition.”

Challenges of a Grand Transformation

Transitioning from an established entity to a transformative platform is no easy feat. Renowned examples like Google’s rebrand to Alphabet and Facebook’s metamorphosis to Meta have shown that the path to reinvention is laden with challenges. While these transformations sought to expand beyond their original domains, the core of their businesses remained deeply rooted in their past. For “X” to realise Musk’s vision, it must regain the trust of users and advertisers alike, persuading them that it offers a secure haven for their experiences and brands.

The Road Ahead

As the curtains lift on the new “X” era, one can’t help but wonder if this daring rebrand will cement Twitter’s position as a platform of the future. For now, the amateurish launch of the new identity raises eyebrows, but Musk’s resilience may yet prove critics wrong. Only time will tell if “X” emerges as the phoenix rising from the ashes or if it will be yet another footnote in the annals of brand history. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Twitter is navigating through turbulent waters, and the “X” rebrand stands as a beacon of hope amidst uncertain seas.

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