excitement always builds at Brand Lounge when news of a company’s rebrand surfaces, especially when it involves one of the world’s largest tech companies.
One recent event that caught our attention is Twitter’s sudden and unexpected rebranding to X. This overnight change has led to lively debate and discussion among brand experts and designers alike. In our offices, the significance of a logo in a brand’s overall image was discussed by our brand strategists, while our designers were surprised by the hasty adaptation of a first draft logo.
We did not reach a consensus, but the situation led us to contemplate an important question. Is this all part of a well-thought-out strategy—possibly a brilliant stroke of genius from Elon Musk—or, as our Chief Strategy Officer bluntly put it, “Is this Musk delivering Twitter’s coup de grace?”
In this article, we will explore whether the company’s recent change is only a bold rebrand or a calculated repositioning into new business sectors. Join us as we explore the implications of this for the brand’s future and the broader digital landscape with insights from Brand Lounge’s leadership team.
One of our executives, Mohamad Badr, who serves as Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) and Head of Growth, emphasized Musk’s growth mindset and the importance of looking at the big picture. Ibrahim Lahoud, our Head of Strategy & Insights, approached the topic from a brand strategist’s perspective, emphasizing the importance of customer-centric branding. Our Head of Design and Creative Impact, Mo Saad, provided valuable insights from a design perspective.
High Risks, High Rewards
Our CSO & Head of Growth, never one to mince his words, referred to Elon Musk as the “Twitter Killer.” Indeed, the assertion might sound drastic, but it reflects a broader concern about the impact of this rebrand on Twitter’s user base and, ultimately, its growth trajectory.
There are always significant risks involved in rebranding, particularly when it comes to changing a platform like Twitter to X. Changes in the platform’s aesthetics, branding, and underlying ethos can alienate a portion of the established user base, even more than it already has. Yet, as Mohamad noted, Elon Musk is no stranger to high-stakes gambles, often adopting a high-risk, high-reward strategy.
Looking at the big picture, Twitter’s new vision can drive transformation and fuel growth by implementing new strategies and overhauling the existing business model. This is how a company can differentiate itself through innovation. The name had to go because this goes beyond a mere rebranding. It is a strategic repositioning.
By introducing the new name and logo, Musk is signaling a shift from Twitter, the micro-blogging site, to X, the everything app. The timing of the rebrand is also strategic, taking place right after Meta’s recent unveiling of Threads, a direct competitor. Inevitably, this process might lead to the loss of some users, but the potential for attracting a more diversified and loyal user base is a gamble that Musk seems willing to take.
What Happens When a Brand Goes Through Major Changes?
Ibrahim, our Head of Strategy & Insights, weighed in with his thoughts on the rebrand.
“Way to destroy billions in brand equity!”
Initially echoing the concern shared by many brand and marketing strategists exclaiming, “Way to destroy billions in brand equity!” Putting aside his instincts as a brand strategist, he approaches the situation as a user and examines the significant changes Twitter has undergone since its acquisition by Elon Musk.
He noted three changes: ownership, name, and identity.
The first change, he pointed out, was in ownership. Ownership is pivotal especially when it is now owned by someone as polarizing as Elon Musk. Drawing an illustrative comparison, he explained, “If your favorite neighborhood bakery changed owner from the sweet old married couple running it to an outsider who decides to charge you more to become a favorite customer, what would you do?” There are indeed many users who consider Twitter to be their global neighborhood.
Next came the name change. While ‘Twitter’ resonated with users and became an integral part of their digital lives and vocabulary. ‘X,’ according to our Director of Insights, might only make sense to Musk, as we are all aware by now of his obsession with the letter. On the flip side X’ might also create anticipation about possible innovations, fitting snuggly within Musk’s ‘Everything X’ empire. When Goldstar changed to LG, Datsun to Nissan, or Matchbox to Tinder, they did not lose market share yet… There’s something about that “X” that made Indonesia block it.
Lastly, the shift in identity – the cute little blue bird was universally recognizable, while the new black X might only make sense from a commercial perspective. While it could be rationalized from a business-centric lens, It simply can’t from a user’s angle, and honestly, no one cares.Lastly, the shift in identity – the cute little blue bird was universally recognizable, while the new black X might only make sense from a commercial perspective. While it could be rationalized from a business-centric lens, It simply can’t from a user’s angle, and honestly, no one cares. Countless brands changed their identities and were neither affected nor positively pleased, except for The Gap.
What about the Logo?
Mo, our Head of Design, had a slightly different take, critiquing the design itself: “Is it ugly? Yes. Is it wrong? Maybe. Maybe not.” He argued that the public’s dissatisfaction was not caused by the rebrand itself but rather by the sudden and hasty way it was executed. Change is unsettling, and this sudden transformation was no exception.
“It’s not about the ugly X, it’s about how the X invaded our beloved digital space without warning.” As for the design itself, our head found it rather unremarkable: “There’s nothing special about the ‘X’ logo, we can only hope that an eventual thought-out design exercise is in the works and that a strong visual language and narrative will be built around the X.”
Only time will reveal the rebrand’s efficacy, and we at Brand Lounge eagerly anticipate the unfolding narrative.
Watch the Space
So, is the shift from Twitter to X a bold rebranding or a strategic repositioning? It appears to be both. Is the shift from Twitter to X a bold rebranding or a strategic repositioning? Our team’s consensus suggests it is both. The success of the rebranding will depend on the users’ willingness to adapt to the change and the success of the gamble on innovation.
Musk’s audacious move—seen through the lenses of our leadership team—signifies a complete transformation in strategy, design, and growth prospects. We are on the brink of an exciting new era for this platform, and only time will determine its ultimate fate. As our Director of Insights concluded, “These will simply be interesting times to witness.”
If you’re contemplating a sudden rebranding of your business, consider connecting with us first. We would be happy to accompany you in your bold move or devise a strategy-led roadmap to help you maximize the value of your brand.