Elon Musk, the tech mogul, wiped out Twitter’s recognizable blue bird logo and rebranded the social media giant as “X” overnight. This sudden move, while seemingly risky, suggests Musk’s intent to develop an “everything app”, according to industry experts.
Branding experts warned that Musk’s decision to alter Twitter’s image is a high-stakes gamble that tosses away 15 years of brand value, forcing a complete overhaul. Mike Proulx, Forrester vice president and research director, told Forbes that crafting a new brand from ground zero is no easy task.
Although the brand value declined after Musk took over, Twitter was still valued in the billions, according to Robert Haigh from Brand Finance. He highlighted that Musk could have preserved this value with a more measured transition plan.
Purposeful Disruption in Branding Strategy
The swift departure from Twitter’s previous brand persona without a visible plan could have destroyed significant brand value, as per Haigh. However, experts believe that this radical break is a deliberate strategy to pave the way for Musk’s ambitious “everything app,” X.
According to industry experts like Sam Ashken from Interbrand, Elon Musk is skilled at using social media to generate attention and often uses controversy and perceived recklessness to do so. Vicky Bullen, CEO of Coley Porter Bell, shares this view and believes that Musk’s recent bold move was able to accomplish in a single day what typically takes other brands months to achieve.
A Sudden Shift to “X”
Musk’s decision to replace Twitter’s famed bird, Larry, and other branding elements with “X” unfolded rapidly over a weekend. He has expressed his intent to create a superapp like China’s WeChat, and this rebranding seems to be part of that plan. The new logo, a sleek white “X” on a black background, was chosen by his followers in a crowdsourcing initiative.
The “X” rebrand aligns with Musk’s larger vision of an “everything app” that merges several functionalities such as ride-hailing, food delivery, payments, investing, and messaging. Such all-in-one platforms have been successful in Asia but are yet to become popular in the West. However, Bullen emphasizes that a new logo and name do not complete a rebranding process, leaving us wondering what further changes Musk has in store.
Ashken suggests that if X begins to offer features that Twitter did not, the rebranding may be viewed as a smart move, distinguishing it from competitors like Instagram’s Threads. Otherwise, it risks being perceived as merely a cosmetic change.
Advertising Woes and New Opportunities
Twitter’s advertising revenue has taken a hit under Musk’s leadership, partly due to his contentious stance on free speech and changes in content moderation policies. However, the “X” team believes the opportunities emerging from the rebrand will outweigh any losses, said Graham Staplehurst from Kantar. This could include diversifying away from an ad-centric model, an outcome that might serve the company well, according to Jane Ostler from Kantar.
Legal Hurdles for “X”
The rebranding process might also involve legal issues, especially around trademark registration. Matthew Harris, an intellectual property lawyer, noted that obtaining and defending trademarks for the letter “X” could be challenging given its widespread use, including by Meta and Microsoft.
As of now, Forbes estimates Musk’s net worth to be $242 billion, making him the world’s richest person. His wealth stems from his stakes in Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and Boring Company. Musk purchased Twitter controversially for $44 billion in 2022.
Elon Musk has rebranded Twitter to “X”, ditching the blue bird logo in an abrupt move that experts say may cost billions in brand value but signals his ambition to create an “everything app”. The new logo was chosen through a crowdsourcing initiative. Musk’s unconventional strategy may have legal hurdles, especially concerning trademarks. Despite controversy and potential risks, experts suggest that the move might open up new opportunities and help differentiate “X” from other platforms. Musk’s wealth is estimated at $242 billion, according to Forbes.
Hi, I’m Oren, founder at BIGINTRO, a content strategy agency that helps B2B companies drive growth. We develop search, social, PR, and content marketing strategies tailored to business goals. I also have a dog named Milo.