… Twitter who?
Not even nine months after Elon Musk’s controversial takeover of Twitter, the once thriving platform was unexpectedly rebranded as X. This sudden move has left marketers scratching their heads, wondering what’s in store for the social media platform’s shaky future.
A typical rebranding process takes at least 12-18 months to orchestrate, with those changes introduced gradually in order to provide both users and marketers with an opportunity to anticipate, adapt to and embrace the new brand by the time it has been launched.
However, Twitter’s seemingly overnight rebrand took marketers completely by surprise. Only a day after Musk had announced that the platform would undergo an official renaming and rebrand to X, Twitter’s iconic blue bird logo was scrapped sitewide for a bold, black X.
Now, this abrupt change is causing a significant headache for marketers who have been relying on Twitter—erm, X—for years as part of their social media strategies. It is particularly challenging for those businesses that have been planning to advertise with the platform.
Over the past several weeks, many company leaders have publicly expressed concerns that Musk will continue to implement haphazard changes to the platform, which could end up alienating certain users within target audiences and altering the effectiveness of its advertising tools.
Why the Need for a Rebrand in the First Place?
In theory, the idea of a rebrand does make sense. Twitter has been in a very public state of flux since Musk took over the platform last October. It appears that the rebrand is an attempt to start over with a clean slate and fresh look. But it seems all it has achieved is muddying the waters.
For months, Musk has certainly been vocal about his desire to transform Twitter into a so-called “everything app” like WeChat, where users can do anything from purchase goods to spark conversation with their friends. His obsession with the letter “X” also spans decades, having used it with his space company, a vehicle model made by Tesla and even one of his children.
The timing of the rebrand, in particular, seems highly questionable. Many feel as though it is simply a knee-jerk reaction to the positive press that has been received by Meta since it launched the explosive new Threads app—touted as a clear rival to Twitter.
Had the rebrand been thoughtfully planned and rolled out, it could have been a success. Instead, it has left marketers and other business leaders feeling largely uncertain and unconvinced.
Twitter Rebrand Erodes Trust with Marketers
It’s not surprising that many marketers are worried about Twitter’s future. After all, this unexpected rebrand to X is only the latest development in the landslide of chaotic changes that have taken place since Musk took the helm of the platform last fall.
Both marketers and users alike are looking for consistency from Twitter—and this is anything but. Some have even commented that Musk has resorted to a “move fast and break things” mode, which has significantly eroded the trust that Twitter had carefully built over nearly two decades.
A key concern among many marketers is how Twitter’s rebrand to X will impact the platform’s functionality and their existing accounts. Brands that have invested significant resources into building their presence on Twitter could see major drops in reach and engagement.
Because Twitter was slow to release guidelines around the rebrand and what it means for usage of the platform moving forward, this has made it difficult to anticipate account performance and create certain marketing assets that include the Twitter logo.
Many marketers have expressed concerns over the long-term implications of this rebrand. For instance, will Twitter eventually revert back to its original brand as a result of the public backlash, or will the platform ultimately cease to exist months from now?
For now, it is still too early to make a prediction. But if the recent 59% drop in U.S. ad spend on Twitter is any indication, the future of the platform appears to be shaky at best—and the text-based app we’ve all come to know over the past two decades is not coming back.
Marketing Guidelines for Twitter’s Rebrand to X
Despite all of the public backlash, Twitter was slow to release guidelines around its rebranding to X—leaving many marketers uncertain how to adapt their social media strategies. That said, Twitter has indicated that the current “X” logo is only temporary, so there will be more changes to come. (UPDATE: X’s brand toolkit and marketing best practices are now available.)
Regardless of how this rebrand plays out over the long run, most marketers have likely already initiated conversations around whether to remain on Twitter—or rather, X—and live with the uncertainty, or ditch it altogether for another platform like Threads.
From what we’ve seen so far, most larger brands are still utilizing the iconic blue bird logo on Twitter (see chart below). This makes sense given that switching too quickly to the new branding could create confusion.
If your business has opted to stay on Twitter at least for the foreseeable future, here are some initial recommendations we’ve developed to help you navigate the murky waters:
- We recommend continuing to pause your Twitter ad campaigns until there is more clarity around platform changes
- For digital platforms such as a website, e-newsletter or landing page, you can continue using the iconic blue bird logo until the new, black “X” becomes available as the default icon (UPDATE: X’s logo assets are now available for download HERE.)
- Keep in mind that the timing of icon availability may differ depending on the content management system (e.g., WordPress) and other digital channels you’re using
- We recommend that you do not update any print materials until the new “X” logo has become more widely recognized
As we all know, the brand recognition for the new X platform is still in its early stages, so some users may still not yet be fully aware of the changes. For the time being, we recommend taking this approach to help bridge the gap between the old and new.