It's been a fortnight since the iconic Twitter bird was X'ed out of the social media landscape. This week, the rebrand saga continues... Elon Musk's eccentric rebrand now boasts the tagline "Blaze your glory!" An update visible in the App Store continues to perplex the design and tech industry.
Every aspect of this rebranding revolves around Elon and his character. After purchasing an audience of 368 million people for 44 million dollars to champion free speech, he's now utilising it as a personal playground to stroke his ego. This endeavour has set him back over 29 million dollars, with Twitter's current valuation estimated at a mere 15 million dollars. So, is this a case of having nothing to lose or the consequences of making ill-fated choices?
Being part of the Twitter community, you can't help but ride the wave of emotions that come with the launch of a new brand. As we've tracked Elon's journey as Twitter's owner, we've witnessed the rollercoaster of erratic and eyebrow-raising behaviour from the so-called tech genius. Time and again, we've seen him impulsively release updates, verified subscriptions and features, only to backtrack in response to backlash. His amateurish attempts at Twitter polls and decision-making have indelibly marked the platform, with no way of undoing the impact.
From Tweeting to Xing
Just last month, he dared the Twitter design community to craft a logo, not only undercutting the art of branding but also giving his own in-house design team a run for their money. After settling on a logo, it was unceremoniously replaced overnight with a painfully basic brand toolkit, which was promised to be followed a few weeks later. Now, with a well-conceptualised brand thrown by the wayside, we're prohibited from labelling Tweets as "X's."Since Elon ousted the iconic bird, he's been forced to remove his colossal X logo from his San Francisco HQ due to a barrage of complaints. Notably, he even found himself temporarily banned from Indonesia over the URL x.com, which ran afoul of regulations barring gambling and online pornography. Adding to the spectacle, this week saw him auctioning off Twitter memorabilia.
This radical change was executed with such last-minute fervour that the logo was swapped out with little regard for the platform's essence, its bedrock principles, or even untouched features like the beloved "retweet." Decisions of such magnitude typically result from careful deliberation and strategic preparation within a rebranding undertaking.
On the day of the announcement, we witnessed a parade of other brands using the platform to playfully poke at their own iconic flops. A prime example: Supervalu served up a hearty chuckle by invoking the legendary SuperQuinn sausage, spotlighting how brands can transcend mere consumer experiences and become woven into the very fabric of our culture. And let's not forget, Pat Courtney's timeless dad joke about the 3Arena on the radio, now fondly referred to as the "3 Point 2 Arena," an enduring nod to the venue's journey through rebrand after rebrand, from The Point to The O2, and finally landing at the 3Arena.
Rebranding successes & failures
Some companies have the ability to poke fun at themselves and their failed brands. Take brands like Free Now, which has undergone three meticulously planned and marketed rebrands, yet we still fondly refer to it at its core as "Halo." Speaking of less successful rebrands, let's not forget GAP, who swiftly reverted to their old logo just 6 days after the ill-fated launch…
Meanwhile, other brands are currently embroiled in protracted rebranding processes. For instance, tech giant Humm still displays the old FlexiGroup identity across various platforms. In fact, remnants of the old branding persist in the app, a testament to the challenge of transitioning brand awareness.
Examining successful cases such as the Meta rebrand, we see that despite the initial backlash, the carefully orchestrated move allowed Facebook to differentiate itself from its own product portfolio, preventing user confusion during transitions. They have successfully separated Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook, even though they are functionally intertwined.
So, while the internet might voice complaints about the new logo, enthusiasts of Elon Musk are applauding him for his entrepreneurial strategies. In truth, the true impact of this rebrand remains uncertain. Twitter's identity has become deeply woven into our culture and spans across countless platforms and websites.
Read our simple guide before rebranding, the above is everything you shouldn’t do if you want to do a radical rebrand for your product.
Although the Twitter bird has been grounded, its memory will linger on... appearing in countless website footers that won't bother to update the Twitter SVG.