Elon Musk dangers additional injury to Twitter enterprise after title change to X
Elon Musk has long been fascinated by the letter X.
Now he’s killing the Twitter brand and iconic blue bird in favor of
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Musk’s vision for But the rebrand came after months of erratic behavior by the world’s richest person, alienating users and crowding out advertisers, leaving Twitter in dire financial straits and increasingly vulnerable to competition.
Killing an iconic internet brand is “extremely risky” at a time when competing apps like the new Instagram Threads and smaller upstarts like Bluesky are luring in users, said Mike Proulx, an analyst at Forrester.
Musk has “single-handedly obliterated a brand name that has secured its place in our cultural lexicon for over fifteen years,” Proulx said in an email.
A company spokesman did not comment on this story.
It’s not an entirely surprising move. Musk had already changed Twitter’s corporate name to X Corp, which in turn is a subsidiary of X Holding Corp, according to an April court filing. Musk said last October, just before he bought Twitter, that he viewed the $44 billion deal as “an accelerator for the development of X, the everything app.”
The letter X features prominently in the name of Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX. And more than two decades ago, X.com was the name of Musk’s payments company, which eventually became PayPal through a merger with a then-competitor.
Name changes are now widespread among traditional web companies. Facebook became Meta Late 2021 and Google took over alphabet Nickname six years earlier. However, in these cases, the newly named parent companies maintained the branding of their core services, allowing Facebook users and Google searchers to do their jobs without interruption.
Musk appears to be betting that he can ditch Twitter altogether. Unveiling the new X logo over the weekend, he tweeted: “Soon we will say goodbye to the Twitter brand and one by one to all birds.”
Linda Yaccarino, who hired Musk as CEO in May, said in an email to employees Monday that the company “will continue to delight our entire community with new experiences in audio, video, messaging, payments and banking, and create a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services and opportunities.”
The success of this mission is easier said than done.
Musk’s desire to turn X into a super app will require “time, money and people” that Twitter “no longer has,” Proulx said. Earlier this month, Musk said that Twitter has seen its ad revenue fall by 50% and that the company “needs to be cash flow positive before we can afford the luxury of anything else.”
Some advertisers have become increasingly concerned about promoting their products on Twitter amid reports from several civil rights groups and researchers that there has been an increase in hate speech, racist and offensive comments on the platform.
Musk has attempted to offset some advertising decline with a premium subscription service. But at $8 a month, the company would need tens of millions of subscribers to recoup the losses.
The advertisers remaining on the platform must now adopt a new jargon. People and businesses around the world know Twitter messages as “tweets.” Like Kleenex, Twitter managed to develop a recognizable brand that was instantly recognizable to consumers – an achievement any company’s marketing team would celebrate.
Ralph Schackart, an analyst at William Blair, told CNBC last week that his team of analysts “discovered nothing” from the advertisers it surveyed as part of a recent survey of the digital advertising market, which suggests those companies have increased spending on Twitter. Meanwhile, according to the William Blair survey, there are signs that the overall digital advertising market may be improving.
Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Enberg said in an email statement that the name change marks “a somber day for many Twitter users and advertisers” and is a “clear signal that the Twitter of the past 17 years is gone and not coming back.”
“The Twitter rebranding is a reminder that Elon Musk, not Threads or any other app, is and has been the most likely ‘Twitter killer,'” Enberg wrote.
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