Elon Musk is singing “Bye Bye Birdie” with the chaotic rebrand of Twitter.
At the heart of every rebrand is a shift in corporate strategy — and Twitter has seen drastic change since Musk took over in October 2022.
Musk changed the structure of the organization with mass layoffs, upended corporate culture, altered its revenue model and has plans to change the function of the platform by transforming the virtual town square into a super app.
If he’s going to change all of that, he’s right to change the name too, says Kumar Sarangee, professor of marketing at Santa Clara University.
“If you’re rebranding, it is because you’re undergoing a massive change and that has to be reflected in your vision, culture, personal [performance indicators] and processes.”
What they’re saying: “In the months to come, we will add comprehensive communications and the ability to conduct your entire financial world. The Twitter name does not make sense in that context, so we must bid adieu to the bird,”
The piecemeal rollout of X caught many users by surprise and variations of “What is X” and “X-it” were trending on the platform.
Plus, the current press mailbox — which is still a Twitter.com email address — didn’t reply when asked how the new brand was being communicated to ad partners.
The platform formerly known as Twitter has been underperforming since Musk took the helm, with a projected loss of roughly $2 billion in ad revenue this year.
“Rebranding allows you to completely rethink your marketing strategy, and your most important intent is to forge a completely new identity that is differentiated from the previous brand, and there should be a renewed positioning in the minds of your consumers,” says Sarangee.
To that end, X does signal the old days of Twitter are in fact over — for employees and users — and allows for those who long for the Twitter of years past to dissociate.
Branding should be cohesive with a new mission statement, value proposition, product features and assets — and those are typically in place before the new brand is revealed.