What does brand deterioration cost? Musk says $44 billion. Musk finished his Twitter redesign this week.
Twitter, Inc. became X Corp. in April. Twitter changed its bird logo with a stylized “X” this week. Nevertheless, rebranding was difficult. Most material mentions Twitter and “tweets”. Musk attempted to remove the Twitter sign from the company’s San Francisco offices, but he neglected to notify the property owners, prompting police intervention.
After that, a new “X” sign was erected atop the structure as a nighttime signal. The problem is multifaceted. Signs on historic buildings, particularly bright ones like the X logo, need permits. As Twitter user Christopher J. Beale remarked, the light also bothers the neighbors across the building. Complaints arose. This sign placement requires planning review and permission. On Friday, Department of Building Inspection spokesman Patrick Hannan told the Associated Press that the city is filing a complaint and investigating. The sign was removed following this post.
The digital rebranding hit after hit. The internet joked that the interim X logo was a sans serif Unicode “X” character. Unicode is free and open-source, but a billionaire should be able to hire a designer to create something new. Meta now owns the “X” logo for “online social networking services” after acquiring Microsoft’s Mixer brand. iOS’s two-character app name limit stops Twitter from becoming “X.”
Musk’s “everything app” is the goal. “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,” Musk remarked on Monday. We’ll integrate complete communications and financial management in the next months. The bird must go since the Twitter name doesn’t make sense.
Other countries have “everything apps” like Tencent’s WeChat. (WhatsApp is attempting similar moves.) Musk’s initiatives face trust issues. In 2022, Business Insider’s Insider Intelligence ranked Twitter as the ninth most trustworthy social media app. Twitter trailed LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Before Musk’s takeover, Twitter’s trust loss was in the middle of the pack.
Many consider Musk unpredictable. Musk’s outspokenness has hurt Tesla’s brand. The New York Times reported widespread concern about Musk’s management over Starlink. Without trust, customers won’t trust your platform with their finances.
“The idea that I would use an app that I find more jarring under Elon Musk’s ownership, that I would trust it enough to put my money into it, is fanciful,” Bruce Daisley, Twitter’s former European operations chief, told The Guardian.
“You can have a really good product and a really good system, but if people don’t trust it, it’s not going to happen,” said FXC Intelligence head of content Lucy Ingham.
Before mentioning that Twitter has a lesser user base than other social media applications. Instagram has two billion monthly active users, whereas TikTok has one billion. Without trust and ubiquity, X cannot expand and become an everything app.
A Failed Launch
Twitter affects society despite its tiny user base. Branding permeates. Twitter’s “tweets” are well-known. Jimmy Kimmel Live has “Mean Tweets,” while Wired and other Conde Nast properties offer “Support” films where subject matter experts address Twitter inquiries. (The current Tech Support video calls Twitter “Twitter” but uses the “X” logo.)
Twitter appears in numerous news reports. Congressional hearings have included tweets. Restaurant signage and food trucks in cities have the bird emblem. Analysts estimate that Musk is wasting away $20 billion in worth by rebranding.
“It took 15-plus years to earn that much equity worldwide, so losing Twitter as a brand name is a significant financial hit,” Siegel & Gale director of brand communication Steve Susi told TIME.
“To me, it’s going to go down in history as one of the fastest unwinding of a business and brand ever,” Metaforce co-founder Allen Adamson said.
Musk’s main issue is that he could’ve launched this service without ruining Twitter. Meta is better at comprehending the diverse goals of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and now Threads, despite its own challenges. Google’s products are under Alphabet, Inc., but they keep their identities because of their branding and heritage. X Corp might have launched X after keeping Twitter stable. Nothing had to perish.
X replaces Twitter. (Better than when Musk attempted to rename PayPal as X.) The X symbol replaces the cheerful blue bird. Musk desperately adds features like voice messaging and ad revenue sharing to make X relevant. See if X becomes Everything App. I’m skeptical. Twitter’s corpse.