It’s on brand for Musk, not Twitter: branding expert on the platform’s leap to X

Twitter users woke to a big change to the platform this morning, as owner Elon Musk follows through with the platform’s surprise rebrand to X – something experts are watching unfold with horror and excitement.

Musk called out to his 160 million followers yesterday to source a logo design for X, and appears to have chosen the one he pinned on top of his Twitter profile on Sunday.

Twitter’s classic blue bird has been replaced by an “X” logo in the top left corner of the website, while also redirects to Twitter’s homepage.

The changes came in fast, but according to Tim Riches, group strategy director at branding agency Principals, they feel more consistent with Musk’s personal brand rather than Twitter’s company brand.

Tim Riches

“It came across as him doing something on an individual level, rather than them doing something at a corporate level, and it sort of shifts the character of the whole situation,” Riches told Mumbrella.

“Twitter is the first generation of big social media brands, and that is obviously woven its way into the cultural fabric over its lifespan.”

As a brand name, Twitter itself had a sense of lightheartedness and innocence, whereas X brought in a lot of semiotics related to the character, Riches added.

“You can say Twitter lost its innocence a long time ago … but X is laden with all sorts of deep meaning, which is generally to do with the boundary between sort of permissible and impermissible – behaviours and things that are risky and extreme.”

However, in terms of how the transition will be accepted by users and advertisers, Riches said the world will have to wait and see.

“Musk has always been great at commanding attention, and this is him doing that again.

“I think the big question is, in 12 months’ time, whether we’ll be looking at the move and saying that was either sort of genius and game-changing move, or it kind of amounted to nothing at all.”

Marketing professor at Melbourne Business School, Mark Ritson, posted a brief verdict on LinkedIn this morning about the rebrand, with one simple statement: “It’s a mistake.”

When contacted by Mumbrella, Ritson did not elaborate further. “There was nothing beyond that,” he said.


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