Twitter X factor is working for Musk
My first reaction to Elon Musk’s decision to replace Twitter’s iconic bird logo with an X was that it was a publicity stunt.
Musk may have hoped that by threatening ‘brandicide’, he would trigger an outpouring of love for the departing brand and prevent tweeters from defecting to Threads (Meta’s new clone of Twitter). If that was the plan, it didn’t work. Despite its fame, Twitter does not enjoy much popularity. A heavy tweeter appears to be an attention-seeking middle-aged white man after an hour of doomscrolling on Twitter. Elon Musk’s “free speech absolutist” leadership has made Twitter even less pleasant.
Musk wants to turn his company into an ‘everything app’ akin to WeChat – a place where you can browse, buy, connect with friends, message, and much more. App for living a healthy lifestyle. Twitter’s current meaning of being a public square for news, debate, and argument would be dramatically altered by this change. In other words, Twitter is not a lifestyle app – you would never browse this year’s fashions or purchase jewellery there.
A radical change in a brand’s meaning requires challenging our existing perceptions, to get us to stop and think again about what it stands for. It is extremely difficult to accomplish this with a well-known and well-understood brand. By changing the name, you can make the most drastic change. This is referred to as a “symbol of reevaluation” by brand theorists.
It makes sense that way. Will it work? My money would not be invested there. In order for this to happen, a number of things would have to be in place, most of which are not.
Having sacked a lot of his staff, Musk still has a dissatisfied workforce.
Despite being a great leader of an electric car company, Musk has been a cack-handed leader of a tech brand.
Meta has more than Musk, but he has less than Musk. Twitter is losing money, so Tesla will have to fund it. Tesla investors have always viewed Musk’s investment in Twitter as a distraction from the core business of EVs. There will be a fuss, and they are right.
There is a lot of impatience in Musk, and his competitors play long games.
Mark Zuckerberg might not be your favorite person, but he is always on the lookout for opportunities and steals the innovations of competitors for fun (see Threads).