What Twitter Rebranding to 'X' Can Teach Usby@dariasup
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What Twitter Rebranding to 'X' Can Teach Us

by Daria LeshchenkoAugust 11th, 2023
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Elon Musk rebranding Twitter to "X" has taught us a lot about how to run or not run a business rebrand.
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In the last year, Elon Musk managed to shock the business world not once but twice. First, when he ultimately bought Twitter after months of negotiations and decided to lay off almost the entire team, including developers, which resulted in a steep decline in quality. The second came… no, not when he challenged Mark Zuckerberg to a cage fight, but when he decided to rebrand Twitter as X.

This rebranding took everyone by surprise. What we can do now is get used to it and learn the lessons the situation taught us.

Any Change Should Be Justified

Customers and users do not like change. Whatever business is changing, everything needs to be justified and merited. No CEO or manager should make changes “just because they can,” as such changes may reflect poorly on customer satisfaction.

This is exactly what happened with X. In users’ opinion, there was no reason to change the social network’s name and brand, especially with Twitter being used by 450 million users on a monthly basis. This is why we still can’t wrap our heads around the change.

Conducting surveys and asking customers whether they want anything to change OR explain why the transformation is needed will soften the blow and will show users and customers why a product, interface, or service needs to transform.

Lesson learned: any change needs to be thought through and justified, especially when it comes to a company or a service beloved by millions of users.

The Community Needs To Understand It

Not asking customers and users what they want leads to businesses driving blind. The absence of communication leads to a void and can result in a high churn rate. All users need to understand what changes are coming and why they are necessary. In a perfect world, they also have to agree with them.

Have users agreed to Twitter’s rebranding? Not really. That doesn’t change anything for Mr. Musk, but, in my opinion, that is hardly an advantage for him.

Once again, communication is key. Asking customers for their opinions and testimonials before and after the changes are implemented and being ready to pull back is a sign of a company ready to do everything to satisfy its users.

Lesson learned: users are the most important stakeholders for any business. They have to see and understand the need behind every change, and they have to back everything.

A New Brand Image Needs to be Well-Developed

What is X? In Musk’s words, X will become an ‘everything app.’ Musk also has an odd fixation with the letter X. But is it worth risking Twitter’s positioning and reputation, especially when we know nothing about this newly-emerging company?

When rebranding, a new image, positioning, mission, and vision need to be developed and presented to the public. New and existing users need to understand what to expect and what will happen in the future. It is also good practice to align the new image with the needs and wants of users and customers. Otherwise, it may all be for naught.

Lesson learned: mission, vision, positioning, and brand image come before the logo and the name. They need to be clear and understandable.

Rebranding Won’t Solve Issues

Did Twitter have issues? Before Musk, it was flooded with bots, which was why Musk wanted to pull out of the deal in the first place. Users were not impressed with the very limited number of characters they could use to tweet, and there was no possibility to edit one’s tweets.

Did rebranding fix any of these? No.

I can understand why slapping a new name and a new logo on a website may feel like a new start, but in Twitter’s case, it is not. There are actual faults that need to be fixed to make the user experience better.

Lesson learned: fixate on what’s inside and not on what’s on the cover.

If It Isn’t Broken, Don't Fix It

Even with all its faults, Twitter was one of the most beloved social networks out there. It is used by politicians, actors, influencers, businesses, leaders of thought, and many more people. It is one of the primary sources of instant news for the global community and one of the most popular platforms for users all around the world to connect with each other.

Twitter needed a lot of things to change, but the iconic blue bird and the name were not on the list.

Lesson learned: if something is working, make a decision to make it better and not change it altogether, especially when everything is hanging in a fragile balance.

What’s next for Twitter? Only Musk knows. All we can do is watch, draw conclusions, and learn from the mistakes of others.