elon musk

Why has Elon Musk renamed Twitter? We ask a marketing exec about the X rebrand

The blue Twitter logo is one of the most recognisable social media brands on the planet. We wondered why Elon Musk would get rid of it – so we asked our marketing department.

If you’ve had the misfortune of logging into twitter.com on your desktop this week, you might have noticed there’s less avian activity there than usual.

In a move seemingly, if not surprisingly, out of the blue, Twitter’s new(ish) owner has renamed his ill-advised ego project after his favourite letter: X. The response has been… mixed, to say the least.

Like everything Musk does, it’s tempting to ask why he’d do something which seems, on the surface, to be a uniquely terrible idea. It’s very possible we’re giving him too much credit here. If the last eight months have taught us anything, it’s that Musk might not really know what he’s doing.

In the interests of journalistic integrity, however, we thought we’d try and explain his erratic behaviour. To do that, we filled a cunning trap full of best-practice SEO tips and waited for a marketing expert to come by.

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Thankfully, one did. Jack Jenkins. Once he’d stopped screaming and asking us for the new social media figures, we asked marketing exec Jack Jenkins why the hell Musk wanted to rebrand Twitter in the first place.

“It’s evident that Elon wants to create a fresh identity that reflects his vision for the future,” Jack said with remarkable calm.

“Since Elon took charge, we’ve seen mass layoffs, paid subscriptions with Twitter Blue, glitches, outages, limited Tweet views, the introduction of Threads… Many brands have expressed concerns. Some users have left the platform entirely and many advertisers have pulled their ad budget.”

“Any social media platform relies on advertisers to make money, and everything he’s done since he took over has just alienated brands… I don’t get it.”

It is true, though, that Twitter never had the best PR, even before Musk’s takeover. It’s become a running joke among users that the site is often a pretty horrible place to hang out. With algorithms inevitably favouring bitter arguments over good-natured opinion-sharing, this isn’t a problem unique to twitter.com – but it has become inseparable from the site’s brand.

elon musk

(Credit: Reuters)

In that sense, maybe a complete overhaul isn’t such a bad idea. “As a marketeer, it’s important to be open-minded,” Jack said.

Unfortunately for Musk, the overhaul, at time of writing, is far from complete. The company’s official communication account might have changed its name, but the tag is still @twitter. The site domain is still twitter.com. Google’s standfirst for the site still invites users to “signup for Twitter”. The famous blue-and-white colour scheme is still in place, and the search bar still reads “search Twitter.” Even Musk’s own “Twitter Blue” service is yet to catch onto the rebrand.

To be fair to Musk, he seems to have a few more things figured out in his head, even if he hasn’t quite got around to telling the rest of us (or his own design team). No more are the days of sending out “Tweets” – now, accordingly, we’ll be throwing up “x’s”.

We asked Jack what he thought about the new X logo. He refused to comment. It told us everything we needed to know.

The new design, to be clear, is terrible. Not only is the name – despite Musk’s apparent fondness for the letter he uses to address one of his children – painfully generic, but the stylised version also now bedecking the top left of twitter.com is functionally indistinguishable from ‘Mathematical Double-Struck Capital X’, as the Verge pointed out.

He had warned us about this, though.

“Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app,” Musk tweeted (sorry, Musk ‘x’d’) before the close of his $44 billion buyout in October 2022.

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The problem is twitter.com is nowhere near becoming the everything app. In fact, since Musk’s takeover, the platform has arguably lost more features than it has gained, its own temperamentality meaning features like Tweetdeck aren’t the reliable news tool they once were. So why rebrand now?

“Attention,” Jack said. “People are talking about it and asking questions. Everyone is curious to know what’s next. To me, it appears to be an attempt at a fresh start, possibly signalling the development of Elon’s work-in-progress ‘super app’ or in fact, an attempt to stop the bleeding.”

A ringing endorsement, then.

Once he’d promised us he wouldn’t call the police, we cut Jack down and made our escape. It seems, then, that there is some degree of logic to Musk’s erratic behaviour as x’er in-chief. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a terrible idea. As for its outcome? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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