In this week’s Radio News Hub broadcast, ‘Business Matters with Dave Rhodes’, Paul Mackman shares his thoughts on the major rebranding of the social media platform Twitter, which happened on Monday, 24th July. The conversation also delves further into Elon Musk’s motivations behind the change to that iconic Twitter logo, in what some have described as the end of an era. 

Dave: So why X when the little bluebird is so well known? It’s a radical change, isn’t it?

Paul: Whether it’s an effective strategy or not, it’s difficult to comment on having not being party to the greater insight into what Elon Musk’s strategy is or what his goals are; we do know that he’s a man of vision who has a strong track record of being ahead of the curve and being commercially astute. So at the moment, we know that he has changed the name from Twitter to X Corp, and the brand identity has now moved from the blue bird logo to an X.

He’s a disrupter, so we shouldn’t expect him to follow a classic rebrand route. The sort of rebrand we would expect from, say, John Lewis. The sector he operates in evolves at an incredible speed, and he can make unilateral decisions without board or shareholder approval. As a visionary, we know he’s in good company with the likes of Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and even David Bowie; you could say he is a great brand strategist. Companies frequently prosper because they have a clear brand strategy; companies without one frequently fail.

Dave: Twitter has been a part of our lives for something like 17 years now. It’s recognised worldwide and famous for the little blue bird. It’s taking a risk isn’t it, making these sorts of changes? Are people going to be unsettled by it all? 

Paul: Successful brands build engagement with key audiences, and over time, those audiences can become advocates or detractors according to their experience, perceived value exchange, or interactions with the brand. The last number I’m aware of has 450 million monthly active users in 2022, which is incredibly impressive. Of course, there’s a risk that might put some of those consumers off the brand. However, today we’ve only had some relatively cosmetic changes. The bird, known as Larry, has clearly been deemed by Musk as no longer being appropriate, largely due to the name change perhaps.

Dave: Well, Elon Musk also says we’re not going to call them tweets anymore. We’re going to call them ‘X’s. Do you think that turn of phrase is going to catch on?

Paul: Considering his track record, we know he’s an amazing entrepreneur. There is a strategy driven by a vision and he is driving towards it in the way that he wants. He co-founded in 1999, which merged with Infinity, the company behind PayPal, he founded SpaceX in 2002, and he recently launched X Ai, an alternative to ChatGPT. He has even called one of his children X so he clearly has a strong affinity to that letter as a name. If Elon Musk gets the offering right it could help X attract new users or advertisers but we will have to wait and see what is behind the changes that he is making to make any kind of assessment. My guess is that he will continue to innovate and be commercially successful.

Dave: Marketing Guru, Paul Mackman, thank you for joining us on Business Matters.

At Mackman, we encourage growth by creating visually distinctive brands intelligently positioned and strategically designed to strengthen relationships and stand out in a crowded marketplace. 

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