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Rebranding Twitter to X: The Power of an Established Brand

By August 10, 2023Branding


Branding is a critical part of any business, determining how customers perceive and connect with a company. Over the past decade, the social media giant Twitter has become a leader among a sea of social media apps through their use of effective branding. However, this social media giant that has stood the test of time is now facing a rebrand under their new leadership with Elon Musk. Back in April of this year, Musk legally changed Twitter’s name to X Corp. However, the new name wasn’t seen on the platform until Monday, July 31, when the name ‘Twitter’ disappeared and X came to take its place as the face of the new platform.

The rebrand focuses on Twitter’s change over time into an app that can do “everything,” according to new CEO Linda Yaccarino. Elon Musk, who purchased Twitter for $44 billion back in 2022, calls this rebrand an appropriate update to the platform that “ensures freedom of speech.”

“The Twitter name made sense when it was just 140-character messages going back and forth – like birds tweeting – but now you can post almost anything, including several hours of video. In the months to come, we will add comprehensive communications and the ability to conduct your entire financial world,” he added.

For now, no new features have been added since the rebrand to X, but the X Corp team plans on adding newer elements to enhance the platform soon. Unfortunately, the transition has not gone as smoothly as hoped, with backlash from regular Twitter users calling the rebrand a misstep. We will study how X Corp and Elon Musk may have missed the mark in their rebranding efforts, and the lessons that can be learned from their experience.

X’s struggle 

Effective branding goes beyond a simple name change; it involves creating a strong identity that resonates with the target audience, communicates the brand’s values, and differentiates it from competitors. A successful rebranding campaign can rejuvenate a brand, attract new customers, and ultimately drive business growth.

With Twitter’s rebrand into X, the platform is trying to break away from its existing limitations and use its new features to appeal to a broader audience. However, because of Twitter’s established successful branding, the name change comes off as abrupt and unnecessary to many of its users and customers. 

Twitter has established itself as an effective brand and has garnered loyalty from its millions of users and customers worldwide. The company can be recognized immediately from its light blue icon of a bird. Thanks to the app’s brand, the word “tweet” became so iconic that it can be found in the official Merriam-Webster dictionary and is listed as “a post made on the Twitter online message service.” 

When the change was announced, many users reacted with skepticism and confusion. Many did not see the need for such a rebrand when Twitter has already established itself as one of the most successful and iconic brands in the world. The team at X even acknowledged, “We underestimated the emotional connection people had with the Twitter brand. Our intention was to evolve and expand, but we ended up alienating some of our most loyal users.”

Lessons Learned

  1. Respect Brand Heritage: Elon Musk and his team overlooked the established relationship between Twitter’s brand and its users. The brand carries an emotional attachment with its users and that relationship faced resistance after the announcement of the rebrand.
  2. Comprehensive Market Research: Understanding the target audience’s perceptions, needs, and preferences is crucial before rebranding. Market research could have helped identify potential roadblocks and address them beforehand.
  3. Gradual Transition: Abrupt changes can be jarring to users. A phased approach to rebranding, accompanied by clear communication, can ease the transition and maintain user loyalty.
  4. Transparency and Communication: Openly communicating the reasons for rebranding and the vision behind the change can garner support from users. Elon Musk’s and X’s lack of transparent communication added to their struggles.
  5. User Feedback Integration: Involve users in the rebranding process through surveys and focus groups. Their feedback can offer valuable insights and ensure a more user-centric approach.


Written by Emily Atwood