Rebrands are usually orchestrated very carefully. Months (or sometimes years) of planning reaches a point where an organisation transitions from one brand to another, with every touchpoint and all ramifications carefully considered. And, of course, there has to be a good reason behind it in the first place.

Not so with Twitter. Elon Musk’s stewardship of the messaging service has been characterised by impetuousness since he bought it last year.

After hinting at the change for a while now, this week he has declared that the Twitter brand name and logo will be replaced with his favourite letter of the alphabet, X. Today, if you visit, you’ll see a new logo, but not on every page. And if you use the Twitter app, you’ll still see the familiar bird everywhere. The domain forwards to Twitter rather than the other way around.

So that’s clearly a mess. But so is the logo. Right now, the X being used is just an ‘interim’ logo according to Musk. It’s the Unicode character “𝕏” rather than any kind of new design. It remains to be seen whether anything more considered is in the works.
Along the way, Musk has seemingly erased a huge amount of brand equity and familiarity overnight. Fortune reports:

It’s rare for corporate brands to become so intertwined with everyday conversation that they become verbs. It’s rarer still for the owner of such a brand to announce plans to intentionally destroy it.

On Sunday, in the middle of a quiet summer weekend, Elon Musk decreed that Twitter’s product name would be changed to “X,” and that he is getting rid of the bird logo and all the associated words, including “tweet.” Musk’s move wiped out anywhere between $4 billion and $20 billion in value, according to analysts and brand agencies.

In addition to whatever monetary value has been obliterated, by deliberately obfuscating the language around Twitter, Musk is making the service harder to talk about and therefore use, which further diminishes its credibility.

We know he intends to turn X (ugh) into an ‘everything app’ like China’s WeChat but the reckless way he’s going about it seems to be alienating swathes of the very users and advertisers on which the service depends. For $44bn he could presumably have started from scratch and hired a decent branding agency to do it properly…

We are Novagram, a UK creative agency
specialising in branding, design and digital development