In this opinion piece Jess Hickey, marketing and communications specialist at LEP Digital gives her two cents on THAT Twitter rebrand…
Recently, it seemed as if Elon Musk made the overnight decision to rebrand the famous blue bird logo of Twitter to X. From experience, we know it’s something that takes time, planning, organisation, and often a team of marketing specialists to execute. Was Twitter rebranding to X a dumpster fire? Yes. Did it generate significant attention, which saw it trending not only on its own platform but everywhere? Also yes. But in some cases, not all publicity is good publicity. Let’s look at the lessons we can learn from Elon and X, and save being the laughing stock of the online world.
Understand your brand’s identity and values
Before making any significant changes, you should have a deep understanding of your brand’s identity and value. Not just to you, but to your customers. As seen with the Twitter debacle, changing a well-known and much-loved name and logo can disrupt the brand’s connection with its audience, so it’s crucial to consider the impact on brand perception and recognition.
Involving stakeholders and customers in the decision-making process can help you gauge potential reactions and sentiments towards rebranding. Conduct surveys, focus groups, or seek feedback on proposed changes to understand how the audience perceives the brand and whether they are open to alterations.
When you’re ready, test the new name and logo extensively through market research and A/B testing. Understanding how the changes resonate with the target audience can help you anticipate – and overcome – potential brand confusion or negative reactions.
Research, research, research
Many people have likened the new X logo to resembling or referencing adult content, with users showing the new favicon blending in seamlessly with a bookmark lineup of adult sites, which surely can’t be the look their going for. And, it turns out, X is trademarked by Meta, which could end up seeing Musk pay big bucks to his mortal enemy (when is that boxing match between Musk and Zuckerberg taking place again?) And don’t even start us on trying to rank for “X”, a literal SEO specialist’s nightmare.
So, where to start? Go deep on your competitor analysis, Google the name you’re thinking of, check trademarks, available domains and social handles. And pinky-promise you’ll do some – any! – keyword research. Get your marketing team involved, or look at partnering with an agency that can bring your vision to life.
Now might also be the time to check you’re actually allowed to change your name or branding. In truly bizarre scenes, the police stopped the removal of the Twitter sign, leaving just “er” until they applied for the right permits. Errr, awkward. And now, following numerous neighbourhood complaints, the new X signage has been dismantled. Things really are going from bad to worse for Musk.
Excellent communication is key
Musk is claiming the name change is based on his plans to make Twitter an ‘everything app’. Until that happens, the name change can seem confusing for many users, especially the OG’s who have been part of the app since it began 17 years ago.
If you’re rebranding, communication is key. Explaining your rationale can help with acceptance of the change, especially if changing both name and logo at the same time. Clear communication of the reasons for rebranding can build trust and improve acceptance with your customers or users.
Unlike the overnight decision by Musk, consider a gradual transition toward the new name and logo, even introducing the old alongside the new. There’s less chance of alienating existing customers if they are led from one brand to another versus having a new brand imposed on them.
Prepare yourself – people will have feelings
Prepare for customers, users, your aunt’s friend’s sister, and practically the whole world, to have feelings about the change. The reaction will depend on the size of your brand and how strategic you’ve been up until rebranding. Prepare for potential backlash, even after extensive research and meticulous planning. Have contingency plans in place to manage any crisis and to provide guidance on consistent clear communication.
Monitor social media, reviews, and customer service channels to identify any concerns or negative reactions. If you’re X, you can’t avoid feedback about your brand – it’s right there on your branded channel, and everywhere else online to be fair. How you react to negative feedback can make a big difference in how readily the change is accepted. Respond promptly, referring back to your rationale (if it exists), your research (if it exists), and your previous communication about the change (if it exists!).
If your rebranding is aligned with a broader marketing strategy that takes into account the brand’s value and your vision for it, it’s easy to communicate clearly and consistently.
Stay the course
Rebranding is a significant undertaking, and its impact on the brand may take time for your customers to accept. You need to be patient and persistent to instil the new brand identity in customers’ minds and demonstrate the brand’s continuity despite its change in name and logo.
So, is X marking the spot for the death of Twitter? It’s been estimated this move could see up to $20Bn wiped off the company’s value. Ouch. We’ll just have to get the popcorn ready to wait and see what’s next in the circus that is Musk’s X. In the meantime, marketing specialists and agencies around the world are thinking, “we could have helped with that”.