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Twitter to X

The Twitter to X transformation: branding lessons and implication

We’ve put together our assessment of what the transformation from Twitter to X and the ‘super app’ vision means for SMEs.

On July 23rd, you may have noticed when you logged into Twitter (or heard) that instead of the familiar little blue bird icon in the corner of their browser tab, there was now a distinctive black ‘X’. 

This unexpected change came from Elon Musk, the tech entrepreneur who had taken on the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Twitter. Musk’s announcement of a rebranding plan for Twitter, a platform he had acquired in a high-stakes deal worth $44 billion in October 2022, caught almost everyone off guard. 

As a result of this bold move, the company has undergone a transformation and is now simply known as ‘X’.

There are implications for all businesses who use Twitter (or X) – from the largest global corporations to SMEs in how you use it to present your brand, communicate with customers or prospects and some good lessons in how to (and how not to!) rebrand! 

Before we go into why this may or may not have been the best idea, here’s a quick background on Twitter.

The birth and evolution of Twitter: From ‘twttr’ to global social media influence

Twitter started in 2006 as “twttr,” an idea by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams.

It simplified social networking by enabling short, 140-character messages, influenced by SMS technology. This allowed real-time updates and easy mobile use. 

The platform’s first tweet was sent by Dorsey, and it quickly grew, expanding its character limit to 280 in 2017. 

Twitter’s growth and influence have made it a significant player in the world of social media and online communication, serving as a platform for public discourse, breaking news, and connecting people across the globe.

In 2023, Twitter currently has 353.9 million users and has 330 million monthly active users. However, worldwide visits to Twitter have dropped by 7.3% year on year in March, which is also the third month of its decline.

Twitter to X – Elon Musk’s vision: The all-encompassing super app

Twitter’s sudden rebrand partly reflects Elon Musk’s affinity for the letter X, a recurring trend in his career.

But this transformation is tied to his vision of reshaping Twitter from a social network into a ‘super app’. What that means is an app which can do everything from payments to TikTok-style videos.

The concept materialised in October 2022 when Musk tweeted that Twitter’s acquisition would “fuel the creation of X, the all-encompassing app.” In March, Musk merged Twitter Inc. into X Corp, and in April, he established X.AI, a dedicated artificial intelligence (AI) company.

Twitter’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, proclaimed, “X will be the platform that can deliver everything.” She emphasised that the rebrand positions the company to leave a lasting impression on users. 

In line with Musk’s super app vision, she noted that X would be an AI-driven platform primarily focused on audio, video, messaging, and payments/banking.

This conversation isn’t just for marketing theorists, it will have real-world implications if this vision becomes a reality, and a reality which is adopted by your prospective customers! 

But before we start future-gazing as to what X the super app might mean for your SME’s marketing, let’s look at the importance of X’s (and your own) brand.

Generally speaking the decision provoked ridicule, examination, and bewilderment, often sparking anger among some. Why would this be the case though? 

The emotional impact of rebranding on consumers

Companies frequently undergo rebranding as a way to demonstrate their innovations, whether that be in the form of new products and services, through to a new vision and purpose.

However, such changes often prove unsettling for some consumers and is therefore not a decision to take lightly! Your customers can develop strong emotional connections with your brand, particularly those businesses that are part of their daily lives. 

Consequently, rebranding can elicit a sense of surprise and even betrayal, as if decisions were made without their input.

This is one of the reasons why Twitter’s rebrand to X hasn’t resonated as successfully. Instead, it has left dedicated users feeling excluded. 

The rebrand seems like an uncertain promise, filled with Musk’s ideas that may or may not materialise. 

Despite the backlash, Musk has shown no signs of reversing the decision. He has continued with the rebrand, removing the Twitter name and blue birds from the site.

The decision to change Twitter to X carries both pros and cons, and lessons for SMEs:

Pros to X:

  • Fresh start: The rebrand offers a clean slate for Twitter, distancing itself from any past controversies or negative associations.
  • Innovation potential: Elon Musk’s vision for an all-encompassing “everything app” could bring exciting new features and capabilities to the platform, such as payments and AI-powered functions, which could provide very useful for consumers and businesses such as yourself.
  • Increased attention: The change has generated significant media coverage and public interest, potentially attracting new users and investors.
  • Alignment with Musk’s vision: The rebrand aligns Twitter with Musk’s broader vision for technology and innovation, which could lead to unique and groundbreaking developments.

Cons to X:

  • User alienation: The abrupt change has left many devoted users feeling left out and alienated, potentially leading to a decline in user engagement and loyalty.
  • Lack of clarity: Musk’s plans for X remain vague, causing uncertainty among users about the platform’s future direction and functionality.
  • Rejection of brand identity: The rebrand represents a significant departure from Twitter’s well-established brand identity, which can confuse and disappoint users.
  • Backlash: The decision has faced backlash, including negative reactions from users and industry experts, which could harm Twitter’s reputation.

Why brand matters, whether you are an SME or a large business

The significance of a brand is universal, regardless of whether you are a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) or a large business. Twitter’s recent transformation into “X” serves as a vivid example of why brand matters at every scale!

Identity and Recognition:

Your brand is your business’s face to the world. It represents your values, mission, and what you offer. 

A well-defined brand, like Twitter, helps people recognise and connect with your business instantly. 

However, changing it abruptly, as in Twitter’s case, can cause confusion and disconnect with existing customers who are familiar with the old brand. 

When it comes to working with Growth by Design, we have created our very own marketing model called the Common 10, where point 1 is brand and messaging. You can watch the video here to see how we work with you to create a strong brand image.

Any changes you might need to make, need to be for sound reasons and be well communicated. Those are crucial points to our model that even the likes of Elon Musk doesn’t seem to be aware of!

Trust and Loyalty: 

A strong brand cultivates trust among your audience. When customers and prospects recognise and trust your brand, they are more likely to engage with your products or services.

Interestingly, 60% of consumers steer clear of brands with strange, unattractive, or off-putting logos, even if these brands have received positive reviews. This underscores the critical importance of ensuring your branding hits the mark!

Watch our video on how a logo is important to your business.

Consistency and Reputation: 

Consistency in branding reinforces your reputation. Consistency in messaging, visuals, and customer experience builds trust over time, and makes it seem genuine and authentic.  

A dramatic shift, like Twitter to “X,” can disrupt this consistency and lead to reputational risks. What does it stand for? Can you trust its values?

Market Differentiation: 

Your brand should set you apart from your competitors. It communicates what makes your business unique.

Take one of our clients, for example, Ouse Valley Paving. They had a very outdated logo that didn’t actually communicate what their business did. They got in contact with us, and we went to work on creating a logo that was fresh and visually expressed what their service is. It makes them stand out from the competition from their vehicle livery to their uniforms and proposals. For more information on this case study, scroll down!

Emotional Connection: 

Brands often evoke emotional connections. People develop attachments to brands they know and love.

Did you know that this is also down to the colours, typography and shapes they use? For example, the colour red is used for excitement, energy and passion, and blue is used for trust, security and reliability. So pick your colours carefully!

Twitter’s calming blue has moved to a very dramatic black! 

Perceived Value: 

A strong brand can command higher prices or greater market share. It reflects the perceived value of your products or services. 

Another one of our clients, Fine Furnishings, required our services to design and print a branded presentation folder. Having a clear brand image and message, meant that the sales brochure would work to help promote their business and aid sales conversion.

Fine Furnishings had wanted a sales brochure for many years, but understanding how to get the look and feel of the design right and the information in it to work effectively as a sales tool was a daunting process for them.

To learn more about how we helped them (and how we can help you), click here.

Marketing and Communication: 

Your brand guides your marketing efforts. A well-established brand simplifies marketing because it provides a framework for messaging and visuals. 

We have a great example of how a business used its well-established brand to its advantage when using Facebook Ads. Click here to read the case study.

Long-Term Strategy: 

Your brand should align with your long-term business strategy. A sudden rebrand can signal a strategic shift, but it can also alienate customers who were invested in the previous direction.

In conclusion, whether you are an SME or a large corporation, your brand is a critical asset. It shapes how the world sees your business and influences customer behaviour. 

Twitter’s transition to “X” highlights the potential risks and rewards associated with rebranding and underscores the importance of careful brand management in business strategy.

Growth by Design – Ouse Valley Paving Logo Design

If your branding is subpar or unprofessional, it’s not merely a matter of aesthetics; it can have profound implications for your business’s success and reputation. 

Rebranding, when done thoughtfully and strategically, can be a pivotal step toward achieving your business goals and securing a competitive advantage in your industry.

Growth by Design understands the implications (good and bad) of rebranding, which is why you should always seek a professional (like us!) to discuss your needs before making any big decisions.

We worked closely with one of our clients, Ouse Valley Paving, who came to us with an outdated logo that did not represent them as people or as a business. This is a great example of how an updated logo can make a difference when thought out and looked after by professionals.

Before:

After:

The updated logo has provided the company with a fresh, confident, and authentic image to present to the market. 

Their new logo has been seamlessly integrated into various marketing materials, including their website, brochures, and vehicle branding. 

As a result, they now possess a business identity they can genuinely take pride in. This transformation has significantly impacted their marketing strategies and outcomes, ushering in a whole new era of success.

Your Sussex logo design company

For more information on our logo design services, click here.

Want a logo design company that understands small and medium-sized businesses, and delivers meaningful results and change? Then contact us today on 01444 810530.

Your Sussex social media agency

For more information on our social media services, including ‘X’, click here.

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